We received this post from our good friends over on the MacBU team - enjoy!

It's been an exciting few weeks for us in the Macintosh Business Unit (MacBU) at Microsoft. We released some details about the direction we're taking with Exchange. First, Entourage's Exchange engine got an overhaul.  Entourage 2008, Web Services Edition completes the transition from the legacy WebDav protocol to the current generation of Exchange client development, Web Services. We also pulled back the curtain on our roadmap and announced plans for a Mac version of a product you're all familiar with, Outlook. A Mac version of the best and most full-featured Exchange client going will be a part of the next release of Office for Mac.

The transition to Exchange Web Services (EWS) began during the development of Entourage 2008. Of course, we had been working with the Exchange team since well before Entourage 2008 or Exchange 2007 shipped, but with the move to a new client API in Exchange 2007, we had an opportunity to collaborate at a different level, something we sorely missed when we built on WebDav. We've been working with our friends on the Exchange team, literally on a daily, sometimes hourly basis, to make EWS great. With the Exchange 2007 SP1 release, EWS feature additions like Public Folders, made it possible to build on EWS with all the same features we had on WebDav. Our contributions to the design of API have also opened the door wider for newcomers to the Exchange party.

It has been great seeing the results of building on EWS. With the update to Entourage, Web Services Edition the core experience takes a big step forward. Sync performance is dramatically better and longtime requests like Task, Note, and Category sync have arrived. Also, with changes to Exchange 2007 architecture and the addition of the Exchange Business Logic Layer, reliability and workflow consistency with other clients like ActiveSync, Outlook, and OWA will be even better.

We've come a long way for our enterprise customers since retrofitting Entourage X with IMAP and WebDav to support Exchange. Since then we've dedicated ourselves to truly understand what they need from an Exchange client. With all the Macworld/WWDC discussions, customer onsite meetings, enterprise road show events, and beta feedback under our belt, we've certainly taken some well-deserved lumps, but we've also gained a real insight into what our customers must have in an Exchange client on the Mac. That is Outlook for Mac.

With the foundation we've built on EWS, the burden lifted, with complex business logic overhead and ownership moving to the server, you'll see an accelerated pace of innovation and compatibility with Outlook 2007/2010, better design, experiences, and integration with Mac technologies (hint: time machine). We'll have more to say about Outlook for Mac in the coming months. For now, if you're using Entourage 2008 and Exchange 2007 SP1RU4+ or have an outlook.com account, I encourage you to update right away. If your organization is on Exchange 2003, you'll want to update to the latest version of Entourage 2008. Whatever the version that's right for you, you'll enjoy the most full featured Exchange client on the Mac, with enterprise-ready features like Public Folders, Out of Office, and Outlook-compatible delegation.

-- Richard Kmieciak
   MacBU Program Manager

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Can't wait to see more of Outlook for the Mac.
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Hey! Do you have a wish-list here? =)))
1) When will we see the same for Office for Windows?
2) Will it support client cetificate authentication?
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Alexander - client certificate auth is supported already in Entourage 2008 and Entourage EWS. Will you elaborate on your question about Office for Windows?
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Alexander, Entourage 2008 does support client certificate authentication. Please see http://blogs.technet.com/amir/archive/2008/06/12/client-certificate-based-authentication-in-entourag...
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Hello Jacek,

thanks for answering. Actually I'm interested in both. More in MSO for Windows, but we have some Mac clients so it's a very good news for us. Kinda made may day =)
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I will be happy when I can cut/paste and forward HTML messages.

Nothing like trying to paste a HTML table with out the table :-(

I love my Mac, but Entourage is the worst. I have to paste Apple mail anytime i want to keep my formatting. Even forwarding a rich HTLM message gets destroyed.

I still don't understand why they don't port Office for windows to the mac instead of having an under funded team redoing all of their work.
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... with enterprise-ready features like Public Folders ...

nice to read that public folders getting more imporant again
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What are the main benifits of upgrading to the new version of Entourage now that Apples Mail.app has Exchange support for free?
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I am new to mac and just installed exchange 2007.  We set up a public calendar on Outlook 2007 and I am wondering how/if I can access it on my mac. I use mail program on the mac.  Any help is greatly appreciated.  Thanks
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I just update to Entourarge for EWS, now I can not connect from outside of our network. Do we need open any port for EWS?
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Hey David. You need to take a chill pill. That's the microsoft way. Besides, forwarding email is way over rated. Just take a minute to enjoy the fact that instead of that feature, the macBU put all their efforts into making the best browser for mac. Hey, they can't DO IT ALL!!! It's probably on their radar though. ;)
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I got pretty excited about Ent. WSE but now I'm hugely disappointed because I can't use it. I have a mac on Snow and work from home. My office runs Exchange 2007 and here are the reasons I couldn't work out of Entourage and had to run Outlook through Parallels:

1) No support for public folder category synchronization- these categories are re-stripped every time I open Entourage. Very frustrating when you have hundreds.
2) Cannot attach files to contacts in public folders like in Outlook
3) Shortcuts in favorites bar disappear on startup for both my exchange calendar and public folders
4) No HTML email composition (for cleanly hyperlinking images in emails)
5) No HTML Email viewing for the same reason
6) No Complex HTML Email signatures (for example placing text to the right of an image in your signature