Microsoft is offering Mac OS X users a free test-drive of Office v.X for Mac, its suite of office tools dubbed "the poster child for an OS X application".

Interested Macintosh users can download all the elements of the suite for free, using the solutions for a 30-day trial period at no cost. However, this is a 122MB download. In the US, Apple and Microsoft are offering rebates of up to $150 to those who purchase the suite, though it seems these rebates are limited to the US and Canada alone.

It's the first time Microsoft has offered its office productivity tools on a trial basis. The 30-day trial period begins when potential customers install the software. The suite includes word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, email and personal-information management programs. It has won widespread critical acclaim for its features and implementation of OS X support.

Kevin Browne, general manager of the Mac Business Unit at Microsoft, explained: "We wanted to make it easy for customers to try the combined power of Office v.X and Mac OS X. The Test Drive lets users find out what the buzz is about and try it with no risk. Once they take Office v.X for a spin, we know they'll be thrilled with the experience."

Apple's VP of worldwide developer relations Ron Okamoto stressed the importance of Microsoft's suite for Mac OS X users. He said: "Office v.X is an essential ingredient in transitioning to Mac OS. The addition of this application suite allows all Macintosh users to work comfortably in OS X full time."

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