I learned today that Office 2007 Student/Teacher Edition will not include Outlook, the personal information manager that most people use as their desktop email client. This is too bad, because just as of Exchange Server 2003, it became possible to use Outlook from off-campus to connect to an Exchange Server through port 80. Mac Entourage users have had this ability since Server 2000 and Office 2004 SP2 (or was it SP1?). Managing email through a real email client is far more efficient and powerful than using a web interface, even more highly rated ones such as Outlook Web Access and GMail. We were just starting to work on increasing penetration of this critical feature to home users. The Office Student/Teacher edition used to be my standard recommendation for home users. Now, I suspect that they will either purchase a more expensive version or continue to rely on web access.
CGS (my new school) has a student laptop program at the high school level. Since families own the machines, I will need to find out more about Microsoft’s licensing policies for school-owned laptop programs. If Microsoft permits the school to count these computers in its licensing scheme and install Microsoft products, then we will be able to install Office Professional and eliminate that problem for the laptop program students. However, that still doesn’t help parents or middle school students at home. One question: since OneNote is replacing Outlook in Office 2007, what will Microsoft do for the next version of Office for the Mac?
p.s. The article suggests that people may struggle to adapt to the new tabbed toolbars interface. Dreamweaver has had this for ages — it works great there.