Microsoft Buffs Out Outlook For Mac, Office Update For Mac Coming Next Year

Just when Mac users might have thought Microsoft forgot all about them as it relates to productivity software, the Redmond software giant made a couple of big announcements that show otherwise. The first is there's a new and polished version of Outlook for Mac available, and the second is that Mac users can expect the next version of Office for Mac to come out next year.

The latter might come as a surprise if you're familiar with Microsoft's release history. Typically Microsoft launches a new version of Office for Mac around 6-8 months after building a new version for Windows. Mac users have already waited a year and a half, so what gives?


"Following the release of Office 365 we made the conscious decision to prioritize mobile first and cloud first scenarios for an increasing number of people who are getting things done on-the-go more frequently," Microsoft explained in a blog post. "This meant delivering and continuing to improve Office on a variety of phones (iPhone, Windows Phone, and Android) and tablets (iPad and Windows) -- brought together by the cloud (OneDrive) to help people stay better organized and get things done with greater efficiency at work, school, home, and everywhere in between."

Microsoft is planning to release a public beta of its new Office for Mac in the first half of 2015 followed by a final release in the second half of 2015. There will be no additional charge for Office 365 customers, and Microsoft will offer a perpetual license of Office for Mac in the same timeframe.

Outlook for Mac

As for the retooled Outlook for Mac, there are a number of improvements, including better performance and reliability as a result of a new threading model and database tweaks. Microsoft also revamped the UI with a modern user interface boasting improved scrolling and agility when switching between Ribbon tabs.

Other changes include the addition of online archive support for searching Exchange archived email; Master Category List support and enhancements; Office 365 Push email support for real-time email delivery; and faster first-run and email download experience with improved Exchange Web Services syncing.