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Microsoft teases Office for Mac with Outlook-only release

Gregg Keizer | Nov. 3, 2014
Only available to Office 365 subscribers; rest of next Office for OS X won't launch until second half of 2015.

Current prices for a non-subscription license to Office for Mac start at $139.99 for a one-license copy of Home & Student, which omits Outlook. The single-license Office & Business, including Outlook, costs $219.99.

Miller called the new Outlook "sparse," adding that the sudden appearance was "a reflection of the new way of building software" at Microsoft, which has pledged to deliver smaller updates at a faster cadence. That tempo has been particularly true for Office 365, which receives a constant stream of fixes, changes and even new features.

But Miller was also a little leery of the approach, at least from what he saw in today's Outlook 15. "Given the sparse features in OneNote and Outlook on the Mac..., I'm kind of afraid of what the rest of the suite will look like," he tweeted Friday.

In an earlier tweet, Miller said, "The rumor was that Office for Mac would have parity with Windows. What I'm seeing right now is far, far away from that."

Although Microsoft did not say that Outlook 15 remains a work in progress, it's certainly possible, perhaps even likely, that with the time remaining before the appearance of an Office for Mac beta, Microsoft will continue to enhance the application -- updating Office 365 users' copies along the way -- so that it is at feature-parity with the Windows version by the time the final code releases a year from now.

Miller said he expects that's how things would work out. "One of the criticisms has been that Outlook has been stagnant, and that the features that have appeared in OWA [Outlook Web Access] are not getting to Outlook," said Miller. "I see [Outlook for Mac] as the start of a more evolutionary approach where the product evolves over time."


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