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Communications Microsoft OS X Upgrades

A Different Perspective On Snow Leopard's Exchange Support 276

Posted by timothy
from the your-jeans-are-100pct-patches dept.
imamac writes "Apple Insider has an interesting perspective on the MS Exchange support built into Mac OS X 10.6 and how it essentially frees Apple from all things Microsoft: 'Windows Enthusiasts like to spin Apple's support for Exchange on the iPhone and in Snow Leopard as endorsement of Microsoft in the server space. From another angle, Apple is reducing its dependence upon Microsoft's client software, weakening Microsoft's ability to hold back and dumb down its Mac offerings at Apple's expense. More importantly, Apple is providing its users with additional options that benefit both Mac users and the open source community.'"
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A Different Perspective On Snow Leopard's Exchange Support

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  • by 1alpha7 (192745) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @08:14PM (#29327601) Homepage
    "The Linux community, along with Google's new Android mobile platform, offer even less in terms of minimum standards and quality control, resulting in software that is often free but usually unfinished and typically inaccessible to anyone outside of dedicated tinkerers and hobbyists. While examples of fine open source client software exists, there is no available market driving this kind of development financially."

    Lost in space? Does he use the same stuff I do?
  • by quanticle (843097) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @08:16PM (#29327615) Homepage

    I'm not sure I understand the article's contention that Exchange support frees Apple users from Microsoft. After all, the Exchange protocol is still proprietary and under exclusive control of Microsoft. As long as this is the case, Microsoft is free to change the Exchange protocol to freeze out third party clients.

    Yes, Apple's increased support for the Exchange protocol may improve the user experience when dealing with Exchange servers. However, it does nothing to actually free users from Microsoft.

  • by TheSunborn (68004) <(kd.ua.imiad) (ta) (rellit)> on Saturday September 05, 2009 @08:20PM (#29327639)

    It frees apple from needing Microsoft software on the client.

    And they did license the access to exchange from Microsoft, so they can't just lock them out.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 05, 2009 @08:22PM (#29327659)

    why shit like this ends up on /. is beyond me

  • by raddan (519638) * on Saturday September 05, 2009 @08:35PM (#29327741)
    Does anyone here know if Microsoft is being required to license ActiveSync under the terms of their antitrust settlement? I suspect that Microsoft is now prohibited from changing the protocol in any kind of blatantly anticompetitive way, especially given that they've licensed it out to paying customers. Given their past behavior, though, this still might not stop them.

    For IT shops, though, being able to connect to Exchange without Outlook is a huge enabler. Entourage 2008 is much better than the previous Mac OS X offerings, but it still sucks in some big ways (e.g., free/busy in multi-domain ADs). I just got my copy of 10.6 on Friday. If it turns out to work better than Entourage, you can bet your ass we'll buy more Macs the next time around. OpenOffice is already at feature parity with MS Office as far as we're concerned.
  • by quanticle (843097) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @08:36PM (#29327755) Homepage

    Even so, it still doesn't guarantee access to any enhancements that Microsoft may make to Exchange/Outlook. If Microsoft adds a feature that only Outlook can access (e.g. a feature that cannot be accessed via MAPI or Exchange Web Services), then Apple is still frozen out from that feature. So, unless Microsoft commits to completely separating Outlook and Exchange, and making the interface between the two fully documented, now and into the future, there's still the possibility (or, rather, probability) that Apple's mail clients will fall behind Outlook in features.

  • Re:"dumb down?" (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Guy Harris (3803) <guy@alum.mit.edu> on Saturday September 05, 2009 @08:54PM (#29327867)

    I guess if you still have one of the mice that came with Macs years ago you might still have to hold down control and click

    Or one of those Macs that has a trackpad.

  • Re:"dumb down?" (Score:4, Insightful)

    by argent (18001) <<moc.agnorat.6002.todhsals> <ta> <retep>> on Saturday September 05, 2009 @09:16PM (#29328013) Homepage Journal

    I agree, the passive-aggressive trackpad on my Macbook Pro with its two finger tap (which I too often screw up) really ticks me off. It makes me wish I could run OS X on a Thinkpad.

    Apple's hardware style is simply something I have to put up with to get an OS that doesn't suck that has an actual commercial application base.

  • by jellomizer (103300) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @09:18PM (#29328027)

    I don't see it locking out Microsoft. But for the most part Microsoft doesn't really want to make Mac Software, but they do, as it is profitable, and prevents the Full Switch.

    Dropping Office will hurt Microsoft More then it will hurt Apple (and it will hurt both) If you dropped Office then there will be a bunch of people with Macs who will email people back and say I need this in a different format. So people will become more use to converting documents. So when people get into the habit of say saving their Docs as PDF etc... They will find that other tools will work just as well.

    Dropping Remote Desktop will hurt Microsoft Too. RDP keeps the Mac User Pacified while he is working on remote windows systems. So they will keep the windows terminal servers knowing that they won't get to much hassle from the Mac users.

    Dropping Microsoft Messager is kinda a stupid idea. So much competiton if there was to many people say hey I cant do that. They will just switch.

    If you realized Microsoft did Drop IE for Mac. Why well it wasn't updated and second IE is no longer a key to Microsoft Business as Web Developers started to make more browser compatible sites. And relied much less on Microsoft only tools. So when Safari came out there was no point in fighting it. It is just an expense with no gain.

    Exchange is only really useful for corporate use hindering such functionality to the Mac would cause people to switch to such oddities such as Gasp LDAP and other tools.

    Mac is the second largest OS for personal use out there. There is enough vocal to cause change if it spoke loud about it. Linux users you are still around 1% so your cry goes to deaf ears.

  • by weave (48069) * on Saturday September 05, 2009 @09:26PM (#29328057) Journal
    The Mac version of MS terminal server client is horrible -- it lacks ability to connect to a corporate TS gateway. Yet another limited app to make it appear Macs are not pro-business. So can Apple do up one of those as well? Please?
  • by FictionPimp (712802) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @09:30PM (#29328089) Homepage

    I don't think feature parity means you can use MS office documents. Feature parity means you can do anything in open office that you can do in MS office.

    I don't use either, so I can't comment on that.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 05, 2009 @09:41PM (#29328143)

    If you consider IMAP to be a "security nightmare", I'm wondering why you allow anyone to access your exchange server at all.

    If MS can't get IMAP to work securely, what makes you think they can do any better with any other protocol?

  • by BitZtream (692029) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @10:21PM (#29328331)

    Sounds like he hit the nail on the head, sorry if it hurts, but its true.

  • by SaDan (81097) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @10:24PM (#29328339) Homepage

    Considering the Xserve I manage in the office seems to handle all the functionality required to support network logins with roaming profiles for all of the users and workstations, I could care less what HP or Dell have to offer.

    All of our production servers run Linux on the "big" servers from HP. The office machines are more than well supported by the Xserve hardware we have.

    You don't buy an Xserve because it smokes everything else out there in raw hardware performance numbers. You buy one because it is rack mountable and runs OS X without a hitch. Otherwise, get a MacPro/iMac/Mini and load Mac OS X Server.

  • by Dhalka226 (559740) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @10:34PM (#29328395)

    I'm not sure I understand the article's contention that Exchange support frees Apple users from Microsoft.

    It doesn't free Mac users from Microsoft; it frees potential Mac users from Microsoft. Most people don't particularly care about whether something is capital-F Free and so they don't really care if they depend on Microsoft. Hell, by buying a Mac they're largely dependent on Apple. Chances are the average user has a handful of apps that make them dependent on a handful of other companies. And for the most part, most users are okay with that.

    To whatever extent poor Exchange support on Mac would stop somebody from switching from Windows to Mac--say, for a laptop that they use at work and need to have integrated into the system--better exchange support frees them from that burden. It allows them to choose based on merits rather than "I can't switch because..." Maybe they decide to switch, maybe they decide to stay; I'm not trying to get into a Windows-Mac fanboi war at the moment. But it helps to free them to actually make the decision a decision.

    As long as this is the case, Microsoft is free to change the Exchange protocol to freeze out third party clients.

    Technically true. From what others have said, it appears Apple's support is built on an open set of protocols that Microsoft's own client uses, so it's probably safe for now. There's also been a commitment demonstrated from Apple to maintain said support, at least in my mind. They advertised it like a pretty big deal and they no doubt put a lot of time and money into it. I doubt they would do that if they had no intention of keeping it functional.

    That's not to say it's completely or permanently safe, but it is reasonably so at least for now. If nothing else it shifts the reliance from 100% on Microsoft to, say, 75% Apple 25% Microsoft. The merits of that can be debated by others.

  • by VGPowerlord (621254) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @12:50AM (#29329075) Homepage

    If you realized Microsoft did Drop IE for Mac. Why well it wasn't updated and second IE is no longer a key to Microsoft Business as Web Developers started to make more browser compatible sites. And relied much less on Microsoft only tools. So when Safari came out there was no point in fighting it. It is just an expense with no gain.

    Really? I thought Microsoft dropped IE for Mac because Apple was doing to Microsoft what Microsoft had done to Netscape.

    That is to say releasing a better browser and shipping it as part of your OS.

  • by rsborg (111459) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @02:54AM (#29329509) Homepage

    Outlook is not a hard requirement for accessing an Exchange server mailbox. There's plenty of other options such as imap, webmail, pop3/smtp, etc

    Ok, let's look at the options:

    1. POP3 - you better hope that you you never get those "gallstone" emails that clog up your pipes (ie, your boss emails you the 100MB photo gallery from the company party - as a zipfile)
    2. IMAP - I have tried it at my company's system (tried using Thunderbird), and it kept giving me a weird "message not read" error on each sync. Could never get rid of it, even after doing traces and deleting suspect emails on the server
    3. webmail - ok, on a non-IE browser, this is really weak, like worse than hotmail/yahoo kind of weak.

    I've tried all the options, and I keep having to come back to using Outlook... I really look forward to a working Mail.app exchange-compliant connection.

  • Re:"dumb down?" (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BrokenHalo (565198) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @03:25AM (#29329601)
    XP is a good OS, but its time has passed. Time to move on.

    I personally don't care for XP (or Windows in any form), but it is at least mature enough now to make a solid platform. When XP first came out, the consensus was pretty similar to what we saw when Vista came out. Microsoft made some attempt to address (most of) the issues as time went by. So if XP fulfils the user's requirements, then why change? Not everybody needs shiny things on their latest OS.

    One thing I've always taken for granted with Linux is that you *never* see blingy stuff when you upgrade your operating system. Sure, you can upgrade X11/compiz/whatever if you get bored and need some new eye-candy (and lots of this is very good indeed), but you don't have to. (I use Arch Linux, which operates on a rolling-release basis rather than the more usual release/upgrade cycle.)

    Likewise, there are no new shiny bits to be found in Snow Leopard. Apple has concentrated on upgrading an already-good OS to one that is even better, without breaking much.

    The only speed-bumps I ran over when loading SL on to my MacBook were an issue with the Cisco VPN client and a problem with my cheapie Huawei mobile broadband dongle. Both were resolved by using native preference options instead of the 3rd-party client software, though I did have to hunt for updated hardware drivers for the dongle.
  • Re:"dumb down?" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by d3vi1 (710592) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @04:36AM (#29329857)

    And you find that having all your emails go through a 3rd party's servers is a good thing? Otherwise I'm pretty sure that a honest comparison between the iPhone and the Blackberry Exchange integration wouldn't show any differences feature-wise. Regarding the Push-Email thing, it's actually there in the iPhone OS 3.0 and it works.

    On the other hand, trying to remove the blackberry from the hands of blackberry obsessed users is a sacrilege just as big as upgrading their Office 2003 to anything else. And that is regardless of the fact that the blackberry is actually crappy for a very important reason: having a J2ME app that runs on both any J2ME enabled phone as well as on a blackberry is a pain. Just think of the button mappings. Granted that on this one in particular, the iPhone sucks even more because it doesn't even have a J2ME implementation.

  • Re:"dumb down?" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Archibald Buttle (536586) <steve_sims7@@@yahoo...co...uk> on Sunday September 06, 2009 @06:10AM (#29330177)

    So, let me get this straight.

    Blackberry devices do not contain Exchange support themselves. They rely instead on "reflection servers" run by RIM. This therefore adds an additional point of failure - to get email on a Blackberry not only does the Exchange server have to be working, but the reflection server does too. It also exposes your email contents to RIM. There is no option on Blackberry devices to communicate directly with Exchange servers.

    Apple's iPhone instead implements direct connection to Exchange servers, including push email, push contacts, and push calendar support, and have had this in place since iPhone 2.0 over a year ago. Oh, and there's remote wipe capabilities too just in case the phone gets lost. Apple refuses to implement "reflection servers" because, well, there's absolutely no need for them - they would increase the complexity of the system, increase the points of failure, and decrease the reliability. And that refusal is a point of criticism?

    I'm not seeing any way in which the iPhone is weaker than the Blackberry in this specific area.

  • The Mac OS X version was also "crippled" until QuickTime X, which abolished the Player/Pro clusterfuck altogether. Presumably, that will end up being ported to Windows... eventually.

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