In case anybody wondered what Microsoft means by “cloud first, mobile first,” this week’s introduction of Outlook for Mac provides a clear example. You can only get the new Outlook for Mac through Office 365.
That sounded awfully judgmental, didn’t it? To be fair, there are a lot of good reasons to adopt Office 365 beyond upgrading your desktop apps. You get all that cool stuff like soon-to-be-unlimited OneDrive storage and the online apps. But if you were one of those old-fashioned software buyers who expected an upgrade to Office for Mac 2011 around now, you may be disappointed. The next desktop version of Office for Mac will be in general release sometime in the second half of 2015, with a public beta scheduled for next spring.
In a blog post announcing the new Outlook for Mac, Microsoft explained what’s going on. They said, “Historically we have released a new version of Office for Mac approximately six to eight months after Office for Windows. However, 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.” So there you are. If you want new features fast, get into the cloud.
New Outlook for Mac Features
Here are the new Outlook for Mac features mentioned in the blog post:
- Better performance and reliability as a result of a new threading model and database improvements.
- A new modern user interface with improved scrolling and agility when switching between Ribbon tabs.
- Online archive support for searching Exchange (online or on-premises) archived mail.
- Master Category List support and enhancements delivering access to category lists (name and color) and sync between Mac, Windows and OWA clients.
- Office 365 push email support for real-time email delivery.
- Faster first-run and email download experience with improved Exchange Web Services syncing.
Office 365 for business customers can download the new Outlook for Mac from their Office 365 Portal or their Software Page. Office 365 consumer subscriberes can get it by going to their My Account page.