Microsoft is planning to replace Entourage for Mac with a new version of Outlook for Mac later in 2009. The Outlook for Mac e-mail application will ship with the next version of the Microsoft Office for Mac productivity suite, according to an Aug. 13 statement from Microsoft. A shipping date has not been announced.
Before the release of the new full version of Mac Office, Microsoft will issue Office 2008 for Mac Business Edition to supplement the already-offered Office 2008 for Mac Home and Student Editions. Those currently using Entourage will now have access to Microsoft Entourage 2008 for Mac, Web Services Edition, which incorporates reliability improvements, Exchange Server support, and the ability to sync Tasks, Notes and Categories.
Office 2008 for Mac Business Edition will ship on Sept. 15.
"It is an exciting time for the MacBU [Macintosh Business Unit], with updates to our current products and the first public announcement about the next version of Office for Mac," Eric Wilfrid, general manager for Microsoft's Macintosh Business Unit, said in a statement. "Outlook for Mac will bring features our customers have long requested-such as Information Rights Management."
Outlook for Mac will include features such as a "high-speed file-based database with support for backing up files with Time Machine and Spotlight searching," and Information Rights Management to help "prevent sensitive information from being [distributed] to or read by people who do not have permission."
The introduction of Entourage 2008 for Mac, Web Services Edition, will apparently be the first step in porting Mac users to Outlook.
"Microsoft Outlook and Exchange Server have been a cornerstone of communications and collaboration for our enterprise customers," Takeshi Numoto, corporate vice president of the Office product management group, said in a statement. "Today's release of the Web Services Edition strengthens Exchange connectivity for Entourage customers and sets the stage for the move to a new application-Outlook for Mac."
In the productivity-application department, the upcoming Office 2008 for Mac Business Edition will include new features such as Microsoft Document Connection for Mac, designed to "improve access [to] and browsing [of] documents on SharePoint Products and Technologies and Microsoft Office Live Workspace."
The free version of Entourage 2008 for Mac, Web Services Edition, can be downloaded here.