Forget the fact that we’re in the second half of 2009 and Microsoft is still releasing new versions of software with “2008” in the name because the day countless Mac users have been waiting for is finally here: say goodbye to Entourage and hello to Outlook. Soon, anyway. That’s right ladies and gents, Outlook for Mac will ship with the next generation of the Office suite, hopefully some time in early 2010. Entourage, you will not be missed. Actually, Entourage isn’t going away completely just yet — a “Web Services Edition” is available immediately, free for current Office 2008 users, and it will continue to be supported indefinitely. The interim version of Entourage will also be included in the newly announced Business Edition of Office 08, which will be available for pre-order starting August 18th and will launch on September 15th. Pricing will run $399.95 for a new copy of Business Edition, $239.95 for a Business Edition upgrade.
As Microsoft gets ready to kick off its Worldwide Partners Conference 2009, the web is buzzing with an onslaught of premature Office 2010 info that came raining down from a variety of places — not the least of which was the accidental early launch of the company’s Office 2010 microsite. Of course details have been surfacing steadily for quite a while now, but there’s no info like official info. The most noteworthy topic of interest surrounding this latest iteration of Office of course, is the introduction of Microsoft’s free web-based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. These cloud-based versions of Microsoft’s popular applications are positioned to be quite disruptive for the likes of Google Docs, Zoho and the rest of the SaaS productivity contenders. While companies like Google have a massive head start in the web-based productivity market, none have come anywhere close to approaching Microsoft’s reach in the space. Its reach, of course, is something Microsoft will certainly use to its advantage. But enough of that — hit the read link for all the Office 2010 video goodness you can handle.
In the current economic crisis it’s pretty easy to turn to the default financial climate, decreasing retailer inventories and “weak consumer demand” when things aren’t going great. Well, it’s certainly easier than talking about your lackluster product line, aging designs and your penchant for rehashing old models in favor of variation and innovation. But we digress. Sony Ericsson revealed today that Q1 will most definitely not be the quarter it turns things around and slows its current sales tumble. In fact, it’s looking at a loss in the neighborhood of €340-€390 million ($459 million-$526 million). Still number four in terms of global market share for the time being, the company expects to sell only 14 million handsets between January and March of this year — down from 24.2 million in Q4 2008. That’s no typo; the company expects to sell 10 million fewer handsets in Q1 2009 than it did in the previous quarter. While that figure is horrifying, it certainly goes a great length in explaining why Ericsson might want out of the JV.
It’s been a while since we gave the world its first look at BlackBerry OS 5.0, and now a list of available enhancements for BES users has surfaced. As long as everything is set up properly on the server-side of things, users will finally be able to have some features that they have long desired. In the past, to add, delete or edit a folder, one would have to do so through a computer. With 5.0 however, it will be possible to do this from the device. Users will also be able to store personal contacts separately from business contacts without having to resort to filters. Calendar options will have the option of being forwarded and sharing documents and media will be able to done through the Files application. On the Visual side of things, RIM is apparently working on a way to make emails sent from devices look as they would if they were sent from Outlook. As for when OS 5.0 will be made available, no one really knows but there is speculation that it will be acknowledged during Wireless Enterprise Symposium (WES) in April. Anyone taking bets?
Saturn’s slogan is now “Rethink”, but it’s beginning to look like the GM-owned automaker is taking that sentiment in a completely different direction. After making an effort to rebrand the Saturn line and produce a variety of attractive vehicles, General Motors might pull the plug on the 23-year-old auto line. With rumors of bankruptcies and dealers going out of business (none of which were true), Saturn’s reputation has been taking some serious hits lately. It’s also no help that the US automotive industry is suffering and relying on the government for a bailout, so GM is going to strongly consider shutting down Saturn while it forms plans this week in terms of an impending reorg. We imagine it’s not going to be a tough decision since Saturn hasn’t been profitable for GM at all. Along with axing the celestial brand, the automotive giant is considering selling off the Saab line and turning Pontiac into a “niche” brand, much like Saturn is now. So, after several years of producing what seems to be like one or two models, Saturn now offers several decent vehicles: Astra, Outlook, Sky, Vue and Aura. Still, it has failed to gain any real popularity and is likely going to disappear forever. Is anyone actually going to miss it?
Thanks, Alex R!