Over 10 years after its original release on Windows, Microsoft have finally decided that they’re going to release Outlook for Mac in Office 2010 next year.
Entourage will be ditched in favor of Microsoft’s flagship e-mail client which could prove a real headache for current users although the company have promised to maintain all the functionality – including public folders, managed folders and category syncing – of Entourage Web Services Edition.
However, there is some hope that Outlook for Mac might not be just another ugly awkward Windows implementation on OS X. For a start, it’s going to be developed completely in Cocoa says Microsoft Mac Business Unit general manager Eric Wilfrid:
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.
It’s also going to have a much faster database than Entourage that will integrate with Time Machine backups and Spotlight searches. However, typically, Microsoft have said that Outlook for Mac won’t feature exactly the same functionality as Outlook for Windows. I can imagine it could be a similar frustrating experience as using Outlook Webmail in Firefox compared to Microsoft Internet Explorer as I railed against a while back.
Obviously, Microsoft are targeting this at business users and as Mac usage increases and businesses stay put using Outlook, it could be a smart move. It’s certainly well overdue. However, the fact that it won’t be out until late 2010 and that Apple are already going to make Mail, iCal and Address Book compatible with Exchange servers may make it yet another case of too little too late for Microsoft.