If you have met me, heard me speak or read my posts you probably already knew I like Mac’s. I openly admit to owning a MacBook Pro that I use for a lot of my home computing needs. I have also spent many hours on client sites in my past networking Mac’s in a Windows AD domain, connecting them to Exchange, working (or not) with SharePoint, especially with SBS2003 sites.
Today I am very exited as Microsoft announces that the Mac will have a full Outlook client in the coming release of Office for Mac and in the interim released an update to Entourage that incorporates Exchange Web Services.
Outlook for Mac is being built from the ground up as a Mac OS X application using Cocoa. It will have a new database that delivers a reliable, high performance, and integrated experience with Mac OS X. Users will be able to back-up with Time Machine and search email, calendar and contacts with Spotlight. Additionally, Outlook for Mac and the rest of Office will include Information Rights Management, which helps keep sensitive information for only audiences that you intend. IRM compatibility will make it possible for Mac users to share and receive sensitive information using Microsoft Office tools. This will make the Mac Office client a first class citizen in the enterprise and small business world and has a holidays 2010 release timeframe.
As we have seen with Windows 7 (which runs awesome on my MacBook Pro I might add), people want to use these advances now and not wait for months or a year after an announcement. Luckily, we covered that today too. We also announced a new SKU for Mac Office, Office 2008 for Mac Business Edition. It will be available for pre-order on August 18 and on sale beginning September 15. Along with the standard office applications; Word 2008 for Mac, Excel 2008 for Mac, PowerPoint 2008 for Mac and Entourage 2008 for Mac) the new Business Edition includes business focused tools to help manage and grow a business:
Microsoft Entourage 2008 for Mac, Web Services Edition uses Exchange Web Services as the primary protocol to communicate with Exchange Server. In addition to several calendaring improvements, this new version of Entourage synchronizes notes, tasks, and categories with Exchange Server. I have downloaded this already and connected to my home Exchange Server. The requirement is that you are using Exchange Server 2007 SP1 at a minimum.
For many of you, this was a “disregard” that crazy Canadian and his Mac stuff, but Mac’s are growing in their user base and the ability to work with them in an enterprise environment is going to increase. Microsoft has been making Office products for Mac for 25 years, and will continue to for many years to come. While Apple is a competitor in many ways, the Mac user are also a consumer of Microsoft products.