Mac OS X Snow Leopard is bringing integrated Microsoft Exchange support to Mail, iCal and Address Book, which other than the performance improvements, is likely to be the most significant new feature coming in the new OS X release coming any day now.
Office for Mac has had Entourage, a Mac specific, somewhat scaled down version of Outlook, which is included in Office for Mac for sometime now, but given that it’s not a full version of Outlook, it’s a half hearted approach from Microsoft to bring full integration with Exchange to the Mac. But you can appreciate Microsoft’s reasoning – they want you to be accessing Exchange from Windows based PCs not Macs, so why would they provide anything better?
Full Exchange integration across the native Mac OS X apps Mail, iCal and Address Book is somewhat of a game changer though. You no longer need to buy Office for Mac just to get Entourage. With Snow Leopard you will have native support built in to Mac OS X. If lack of interoperability between Macs and Exchange, which in most enterprise environments is the dominant email/calendar system, was previously a reason not to use Macs in the workplace, that argument is soon to disappear.