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Revealed: Download new Microsoft Office for Mac in 2015

After a long wait, Microsoft has announced that the next version of Office for Mac will finally see the light of day in 2015. Mac users will be able to get their hands on a public beta in the first half of next year, with the final version to arrive before the end of 2015. The latest official version of Office for Mac, Office for Mac 2011, launched more than four years ago.

Microsoft does not reveal what the upcoming Office for Mac will be called, but, seeing as it launches in 2015, it is possible that the software giant will stick to the current naming scheme and call it Office for Mac 2015. What we do know is that it will include Excel, OneNote, PowerPoint and Word, which will make it less feature-rich than Office 2013, which has been available on Windows for nearly two years.

Microsoft also explained why the next Office for Mac did not arrive shortly after Office 2013, as it had been expected:

"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. This meant delivering and continuing to improve Office on a variety 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 between."

The next Office for Mac will be available for free to Office 365 subscribers, but Microsoft will also make it possible to buy "perpetual" licenses, for those who are not yet ready to shell out for its yearly subscription. That said, I think that it may be better value for money to just opt for Office 365, and enroll your Mac to your subscription as, of late, it also gives you unlimited cloud storage via OneDrive.

The announcement is not just about the next Office for Mac, as Microsoft today launched the new Outlook for Mac. It is designed to deliver a consistent experience that is in line with what you get by using Outlook on Android, iOS, online and Windows. On top of the "fresh look and feel", it also comes with other improvements, as you might expect.

The biggest changes are increased reliability and performance, a revamped user interface with improved switching between Ribbons, online archive support for searching archived Exchange emails (stored on-premise and in the cloud), push email support with Office 365, quicker sync and download with Exchange Web Services, support for Master Category List and improve access delivery for category lists, and, last but not least, syncing between Mac, OWA and Windows clients.

It is a substantial improvement over the last Outlook for Mac, which is part of Office for Mac 2011. The new Outlook for Mac is only available for Office 365 subscribers, and can be downloaded from Office 365 Portal (for business users) or My Account (home users).