Microsoft on Thursday said that starting next year it will include Outlook in its version of the Office for the Mac platform, replacing Entourage, the e-mail and groupware application for Mac users the suite has now.
The move will give business users of the Mac version of the suite more of the same features Microsoft already offers for people using Office on Windows, said Eric Wilfrid, general manager for Microsoft's Mac Business Unit, in a teleconference Thursday.
Microsoft also will reduce the number of editions of Office 2008 for Mac from three to two when it releases a new Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac Business Edition on Sept. 15, he said.
The new edition will replace the current Office 2008 for Mac and Office 2008 for Mac Special Edition that Microsoft sells and will cost US$399.95, the same as the current Office 2008 for Mac. Microsoft will continue to offer Office 2008 for Mac Home and Student Edition for $149.95.
These changes to Office 2008 for Mac lineup will not necessarily remain in effect until Microsoft releases the new Office for Mac around the holidays in November and December of 2010, however. Microsoft will reveal any further changes at a later date, Wilfrid said.
The new business edition of Office for Mac is designed to give business customers using the software better connections to Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft's messaging server for delivering business e-mail, Wilfrid said. Once Outlook becomes part of the suite, this integration will improve, he said.
Microsoft also engineered Outlook for the Mac to be compatible with Outlook on the Windows platform, Wilfrid said. Outlook has been the e-mail and groupware client software for Office for Windows for many years and is widely used with Exchange Server for corporate e-mail.