Next version of Microsoft Office for Mac due by end of 2010

Both Macworld and CNET are reporting that the next version of Microsoft Office for Mac will be due by the end of 2010.

The next version of Office for Mac will include Outlook and will replace Entourage, the current e-mail and calendar program in the Mac Office suite. This new version of Outlook will add support for more Exchange features such as public folders.

"We'll bring forward all the functionality from the Entourage Web Services Edition, including public folders, managed folders, and category syncing, but with Outlook we're going even further and building a whole new application," said Microsoft Mac Business Unit general manager Eric Wilfrid. He also adds that Microsoft will create Outlook for Mac using Apple's modern Cocoa development frameworks. Microsoft will also bring back Visual Basic in the next version of Office for Mac, which was removed in the 2008 version.

When asked about rumors that Office may be coming to the iPhone, Wilfrid said, "No, there is no news today about any iPhone work." We've reported that Microsoft announced a partnership with Nokia, and that the company would be creating mobile versions of the Office applications for Symbian phones.

In a separate announcement Microsoft said it would launch a new Business edition of its Office for Mac software. This will replace the $399 Standard Edition and $499 Special Media Edition and join the existing Home and Student edition. This will reduce the number of Office for Mac product editions from three to two.

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