Microsoft has released Outlook 2001 for Mac, the latest version of the collaboration client that lets Macs communicate with Microsoft Exchange servers.

Outlook is used widely by PC-based corporate workgroups. Microsoft announced its plans to bring Macintosh users into the fold during Macworld Expo, San Francisco. It offers many features in common with Entourage - including meetings scheduling, message sending/receiving, and contact sharing.

Because Microsoft Exchange servers distribute the data, information can now be shared between Mac and Windows users. It's also possible to create public folders on the servers, so Mac and Windows users will be able to access shared contact information and files in public folders.

Outlook 2001 offers a Mac-friendly user interface and drag-&-drop support. The Mac version will also permit users to access information over the Web using the Web-access feature of the newly released application. This offers email, calendaring and contact-data access through a browser. Macintosh users need access to a Microsoft Exchange server in order to use fully the solution.

English, French, German and Japanese language versions are on sale. The application is available for download.