Last week was a big one for us here in MacBU. Entourage for Web Services was released, of course, but the bigger news was something that I've been keeping under my hat for ages: we're bringing Outlook back to the Mac.
Of course, we haven't told you everything that is coming in Outlook:Mac, but what we've said so far is quite big.
First of all, and nearest to my heart, Outlook is going to be all Cocoa. If you've been wondering why I've been doing so much research on Entourage lately, now you know. Going all-Cocoa means that my User Experience team has an unparalleled opportunity to touch everything in the interface. I've been compiling my list of things I've wanted to fix in the Entourage UI for some time, and now I get to do just that. For those of you in the San Francisco Bay Area who want to see what Outlook might look like, sign up to participate in my usability studies.
We've also announced two of Outlook:Mac's features that are coming. The database is getting a makeover to make it faster and (oh yes!) work better with Time Machine. For those of you in Exchange environments, Outlook:Mac will support Information Rights Management.
Outlook:Mac is coming in the next version of Office, which we'll release in time for the holiday shopping season of 2010. We'll be sharing more about Outlook:Mac, as well as the rest of Office:Mac, in the upcoming months as we get closer to launch. You can, if you wish, post comments like "will Outlook:Mac support X?" or "how about adding Y to PowerPoint:Mac?", but I can't answer that kind of question yet. I can only say that this is the very tip of the iceberg, and there's a lot of goodness coming.
A lot of what I'm reading on the interwebs is a lot of "too little, too late" or "see? ms has been holding back on offering REAL outlook until now".
My questions for you:
- What are home and student users supposed to use to manage their email and calendar? Will they still have access to the Exchange-less Entourage?
- Will there still be support for IMAP, Hotmail, etc in Outlook?
- Does this mean MacBU is now working on Outlook: Mac?
Any announcement we make generally gets that kind of feedback. Aside from that, I've been seeing a lot of excitement about the announcement, which is quite nice.
Your answers ...
1. SKU differentiation is a marketing question, not a technical one, and I honestly don't know the answer there.
2. Outlook:Mac will support IMAP and POP (which is what Hotmail now uses). We've already got great IMAP and POP support in Entourage 2008 and EWS, and we're building on that.
3. Of course it does. We've been working on Outlook:Mac for ages.
So, are Word, Excel and PowerPoint in Office (maybe 2011) going to be all Cocoa, as well?
I hope so. (Do it, do it!!!!!) :D
Another (less important) question:
Are you going to skip build number 13 and use build 14 as the Office for Windows team did?
Next Office:Mac would be build 13...
I can't answer the first question yet. :)
Entourage for Web Services is version 13.x. To ensure that our version numbers match up again in the next version of Office, Outlook and everything else are version 14.x.
WinOffice skipping lucky #13 is a topic of conversation here in MacBU. Find me at Macworld, buy me a couple of drinks, and I might even tell you our code name for the next version of Office, which is a riff on that.
Excellent news Nadyne! As I'm sure you know, its been quite a frustrating experience trying to share basic email, calendar and contact info between Macs, PCs, Mobile and Web. Having spent many years working with both PC and Mac email clients, I can tell you that Outlook is hands-down the best-of-breed on any platform. I think this move will help you guys finally have a solid story. Of course, it is imperative that Outlook:Mac supports either import of direct reading of .PST files.