With October approaching, Apple released to the developers subscribed to the early access program a build that is said to be the first in the Release Candidate cycle, aiming at the Golden Master build by the end of October.

And together with this release, the Microsoft’s Macintosh Business Unit announced the release date and the pricing for the next version of Office for Mac: Office:mac2008.

The standard version, with Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Entourage with support for Exchange will be sold at US$ 400. But if you don't need to connect to an Exchange server you can save more than 50% of the price and get the Home/Student edition, which the same as the Standard without Exchange, for only US$ 150. Finally, the "Media Edition", which includes Microsoft Expression Media, will be available for US$ 500.

Compared to iWork '08, the Home edition costs almost double the price for the same features (word processor, presentation and spreadsheet), but will ease the pain of Windows' users migrating to the Mac, since it will support the same file formats as Office2007.

And is quite amazing to see a product from the Expression suite running on a Mac: I'm wondering when we will see XAML and Silverlight application developed on a Mac with Blend.