New Mac Office: Outlook replaces Entourage

Microsoft announced today that they'd be releasing an "almost Windows Outlook feature compatible" version of Outlook for Mac ... in December of 2010?!

That is a mere 16 months away. We might be driving flying cars by then.  I'm not even sure they can call it Office 2010 if it is released within a month of 2010 being over.   But it doesn't matter anyway. Microsoft has already missed the boat.

More and more people I work with are forgoing the installation of Microsoft Office on their Macs and working either with Apple's iWork product, StarOffice or web apps like Google Apps/Zoho ... or both.

I recently got a new personal Mac and decided to wait as long as possible without installing Office. That was almost three months ago and I am still without. Ironically, I needed Microsoft's Remote Desktop (standalone installer) once, but other than that, I've been able to keep my personal Mac 100% Microsoft Free.

I expect most people aren't ready to fully leave Microsoft Office yet, however. Word is way too familiar. Numbers and Keynote aren't as common as Excel and Powerpoint. But that also doesn't mean there is reason to upgrade.

The one area people are more willing to leave now is Entourage's email. Entourage has always been purposefully made to work just a little bit worse than Outlook. With Snow Leopard coming out in the next few weeks, Apple is taking aim at Entourage more than any other Microsoft product. Mail, Addressbook and iCal all now have native support for Exchange.

And perhaps that is the reason for the announcement of MS Office for the Mac 16 months before release ... to let Entourage users know that Microsoft will "soon" have and upgrade for them.

I think its too late. Have a look at how well Snow Leopard handles Exchange.

With Microsoft's competing product over a year away, I think a lot of users will move to Apple's Snow Leopard Apps for Exchange integration. And that's just one of the Apps Microsoft is going to have a hard time selling to the Mac community.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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