You are right. You should be able to save files as Word .doc or Excel .xls files. However, I took minutes at a Board of Directors meeting and could not successfully save the document so it could be read in Microsoft. I ended up printing the pages, then retyping them into Word. I'm not savvy with the MacBook Pro yet, but had a girl working for me who knew Apple well and could not convert the file to a readable .doc file.
I think the Mac version of Office is the better way to go. Good luck.
P.S. love your movies!
I just contacted Apple after installing Lion and finding out-to my dismay-that Office 2004 & earlier aren't supported (PowerPC based). The reviews of Office 2011 don't look like that version is stable. So, if I buy 2008, I actually have to uninstall Lion and re-install Snow Leopard? Apple's solution was to buy the upgrade of office or reinstall Snow Leopard-which they said was "very difficult". This is absolutely unacceptable! When I asked whether it was an oversight or intentional that PowerPC wasn't supported by Lion, I got "I don't know, I don't have communication with the developers". Pages won't open office documents either. So...given the choices, I am extraordinarily disappointed with Apple on this one and hope they will come up with a solution, upgrade or patch that works. In the meantime, Try downloading Neo Office for free. It works with Lion even though it is a very basic word processing system. Anybody at Apple listening?
Not exactly sure but Office 2013 is out making this Office 2011 for MAC version an "old version". That being said I take my .doc and .ppt's to church where we use different versions of Office (2003, 2007, 2010) on several different PC's and the Office MAC documents work without issue. I'm very happy with the program.
Microsoft has stated that there is no plan to release MS Office 2013 for Mac, only an update that would enable Microsoft's cloud storage option. Your free upgrade would presumably apply to the next Mac version, when it ultimately is delivered.