In a ramp-up for the next month’s arrival of Mac OSX Snow Leopard, Microsoft announced details about their existing and future versions of Microsoft Office for Mac, bringing several surprises along.
First of all, in "Office 2010 for Mac", Outlook for Mac will replace the current e-mail client [Entourage 2008 for Mac]. For the first time in history, Microsoft is bringing Outlook to a non-Windows platform, expecting to capture a significant market share. According to Microsoft, this will not be the case of simple renaming of Entourage 2008 into "Outlook 2010", but rather bringing completely new application to the mix.
Entourage 2008 is now getting Web Services Edition, better explained by a quote from Eric Wilfrid, General Manager for the MacBU [Macintosh Business Unit] at Microsoft: "a first step to bring the Outlook experience on a Mac".
Outlook for Mac is also not the only change that is coming soon – Microsoft simplified its existing Mac line-up. It seems that the company finally "gets it", e.g. understands that Mac buyers want a simple line-up. PC buyers want that too, but to expect Microsoft to simplify the number of Windows or Office versions on a PC? just a dream.
In any case, the new line-up will consist of "Office 2008 for Mac Business Edition" [Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Entourage Web Services Edition] and "Office 2008 for Mac Home and Student Edition". This new "Business Edition" is going on pre-order on next Tuesday [August 18th, 2009], with the release happening on September 15th, 2009. Office 2008 for Mac Business Edition will retail either for $239.95 [Upgrade] or $399.95 [Stand-alone], while Office 2008 for Mac Home and Student edition will continue to be sold for $149.95, as it was on its debut in January 2008.
"Office 2008 for Mac Business Edition" with "Entourage 2008 for Mac, Web Services Edition" should hold water until "Office 2010 for Mac" appears sometimes in 2010, bringing next-gen Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. The only point which we don’t get is why have one press release telling you that you should go out and buy "Office 2008 for Mac Business Edition" and then saying that "Outlook 2010 for Mac" will rock?
In any case, this confusion is in typical Microsoft style.