Next version of Microsoft Office for Mac details

Microsoft has announced details about the next version of Microsoft Office for Mac.

“Outlook for Mac will bring features our customers have long requested – such as Rights Management – that make working across platforms even easier,” said Eric Wilfrid, general manager for the MacBU at Microsoft.

“I think people will see that this move to Outlook for Mac is more than just a name change.”

According to MacBU, Outlook for Mac will be built from the ground up using Cocoa providing users with improved integration with the Mac OS.

“We’re building on the most modern OS X frameworks to make Outlook beautiful, to make it high performance, and to make it well integrated with the OS,” Wilfrid said.

A high-speed file-based database with support for backing up files with Time Machine and Spotlight searching will also be included in Outlook for Mac.

New Information Rights Management will help prevent sensitive information from being distributed to or read by people who do not have permission to access the content said MacBU.

Outlook for Mac will be included in the next version of Office for Mac, which Wilfrid said is “on track” for the holiday season in late 2010.

Microsoft previously announced that Visual Basic will return in that edition, after being removed from Office 2008, which was released in January 2008.

The company also announced that for current Entourage users Microsoft Entourage 2008 for Mac, Web Services Edition, is available now to download, promising performance and reliability improvements and enabling users to sync Tasks, Notes and Categories.

“Today’s release of the Web Services Edition strengthens Exchange connectivity for Entourage customers and sets the stage for the move to the new application – Outlook for Mac,” added Takeshi Numoto, corporate vice president of the Office product management group at Microsoft.

Office 2008 for Mac Business Edition will be available from 16 September, 2009 with a estimated retail price of £439.99 (US$728) and £269.99 for those eligible for an upgrade.

Office 2008 for Mac Home and Student Edition is still available and can be purchased for around £119.99.

The free Entourage 2008 for Mac, Web Services Edition can be downloaded here.

MacBU also announced a simplified SKU line-up to help make product selection more intuitive for customers.

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