Microsoft's next office productivity suite for the Mac, dubbed Office for Mac 2011, will ship in late October, the software giant announced this week. Prices are being reduced across the board, as well, possibly because the Microsoft-antagonistic Mac users are more likely to abandon the platform for free online alternatives than are Windows users.

"We develop Office for Mac to give you the tools to create great-looking and compatible documents, with options to pick the right edition for your Mac needs," said Microsoft General Manager Eric Wilfrid. "More than ever before, Office 2011 brings the familiar productivity tools and features of Microsoft Office to a suite of applications that work great on the Mac."

When Office 2011 for Mac ships in late October, it will do so in more than 100 countries and in 13 different languages, Microsoft says. Two retail versions of the suite will be made available: Office for Mac Home and Student 2011 and Office for Mac Home and Business 2011.

Home and Student includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Messenger for Mac, and will retail for $119 but will provide only a single install. For $149, consumers can purchase a Home and Student Family Pack that provides three installs.

The Home and Business edition adds the new Outlook for Mac and will retail for $199. A Family Pack version offering three installs will cost $279. Mac users who purchase Home and Student and later wish to upgrade can do so electronically using "online upgrade functionality."

Additionally, Microsoft is offering an Office for Mac Academic 2011 suite that includes all the applications from Home and Business edition but costs $99. This version will be made available to higher-education students, staff, and faculty, and includes one install.

As with Office 2010 for Windows, Microsoft isn't offering upgrade pricing for Office 2011 for Mac. But users who purchase Office for Mac 2008 now qualify for a free upgrade to Office 2011 when the new version ships in late October. You can register for the free upgrade on the Microsoft website.