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Communications Microsoft OS X Upgrades

A Different Perspective On Snow Leopard's Exchange Support 276

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

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 05, 2009 @08:34PM (#29327733)

    The apps are dumbed down versions. For example, the OS X version of Powerpoint will not let me create animations where objects move along a path (which is really useful to show how data flows through an abstract model or graph). The Windows version does. The OS X version of Outlook, Entourage, won't really talk to Exchange and definitely won't let you schedule meetings with multiple attendees. This is Microsoft's fault.

  • by alen ( 225700 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @08:35PM (#29327745)

    there is an exchange client on over 40 million iphones and ipods. even though people don't use it MS still get paid. Just like the old days when they would get paid from Dell for every PC no matter what the OS. Google is licensing ActiveSync as well for Android and Docs so MS gets paid again. Palm licenses AS as well.

    It's pretty much a given that Apple is not going into the server business so MS is safe on that end.

    The big loser is RIM. I bet MS was scared with the BB's success because it puts the importance of email on the phone, and not the server or client. people didn't care what server software ran the email as long as they could get emails anywhere. and since BES supported almost every email server it made migration a lot easier. Just try to migrate to a Linux mail server when all the users are using Pre's and iPhones to get email on the road

  • Re:"dumb down?" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @08:55PM (#29327873) Homepage

    The "dumbed down" stuff they are talking, at least in my direct experience, is the lack of full functionality. Almost nothing was ever implemented completely or wholly in the Mac version of MS Office. And Entourage's exchange support is abysmal. Once again, not all of Exchange's features and functions are well supported and certain parts are simply omitted from support entirely. And the connection/communication is sometimes mysteriously broken as well.

    Now comparing a Windows Mobile Phone and an iPhone connecting to an Exchange server, which one do you think "wins"? If you guessed "Windows Mobile of course!" you would be horribly mistaken. As far as mobile devices are concerned, iPhone beats the all hands down. And if Apple's native/local support of Exchange server is at least as good as that found on iPhone, then I would say it is probably quite powerful and feature complete.

    (There! Go back and look at all my "Apple Bashing" posts and try to call me a "hater" now! In all cases, I call'm like I see'm and nothing more or less.)

  • by fluffy99 ( 870997 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @09:00PM (#29327905)

    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. If you want the full experience and features you gotta use Outlook though.

    I disagree the OpenOffice is at feature parity with MSOffice. It's still not even terribly compatible as documents don't always flow the same when viewed or printed with either platform. It may be better than anything else on Linux or Apple, and work just fine for a lot of folks, but it still doesn't implement a huge number of the more advanced features. Granted most home users don't know or care about them. For a true corporate environment, MSOffice is king for features and management support for a reason.

  • by chihowa ( 366380 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @09:07PM (#29327955)

    They are implementing this via a custom conduit that uses WEBDAV. It's not clear if this requires anything installed on the server side, if so then its a non-starter for most folks. For Apple PC's you're probably better off simply using the webmail interface anyway. This does provide a means for mobile sysems such as phones or laptops to actually download the messages.

    Snow Leopard's Exchange support works very well for connecting to my department's servers, and they're about as anti-Apple as you can get. They absolutely refuse to even make the smallest config changes to allow non-Outlook clients to connect (ie. Entourage) and I can connect flawlessly (AFAIK...). I have mail support, calendar support (with functioning invited events), tasks/todo support, contacts and access to the global address books, all through Apple's standard applications. They may be implementing this through a WebDAV backed conduit, but as far as functionality goes, this is the real deal.

  • by alen ( 225700 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @09:15PM (#29328005)

    not to mention the apparent lack of 24x7 onsite support. i know someone who works in a Dell server shop and everything they buy comes with 27x7 4 hour response time onsite support. if anything in the server breaks, someone is onsite within 4 hours to replace it

  • Re:Fix SMB first (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mortonda ( 5175 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @09:29PM (#29328077)

    What SMB problems? My MBP connects just fine to all te shared drives around, and when I connect to a new network, it shows all the available shares very quickly.

    Compare that to a XP install that repeatedly tells me that "I don't have the necessary permissions" to view the public, no password share.

  • by Cordath ( 581672 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @09:39PM (#29328123)
    This might initially appear to be an odd move for Apple, because they already operate on the other side of the fence. e.g. iTunes, or Quicktime. The Apple version of quicktime that is released for windows is typically feature deprived (unless you pay for pro), buggy, and horrendously inefficient. (It's always great watching 1080p stutter along on a freakin' quad-core with a $400 video card.) It's reached the point where the deficiencies of Apple quicktime for Windows has spawned "Quicktime Alternative", just like Realvideo spawned "Real Alternative". "Quicktime Alternative", when it's fully caught up in the arms race with Apple, is a entirely superior to Apple Quicktime, offering smooth playback on modest hardware and all the features of pro for free. Naturally, Apple frequently "tweaks" things to break functionality on the open alternatives to their software. (This happened to Palm rather recently, w.r.t. iTunes.)

    Now, I would assume that Apple has some agreement with MS to keep them in the loop on the updates to Exchange. The financial entanglement of Apple and MS and their workplace symbiosis is such that MS probably will not benefit as much as one would think from dicking Apple around the way Apple dicks open sourcers around. Also, MS knows they would have no chance in the court of public opinion if they tried to do so, while Apple can make a somewhat believable case against open sourcers reverse engineering Apple software and providing, for free, some of the pro features that are supposed to be paid for.
  • by moosesocks ( 264553 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @09:44PM (#29328155) Homepage

    It's been mentioned elsewhere (but not here as far as I can tell) that this development is particularly notable, given that Windows doesn't support Exchange out of the box. You need Office for that.

  • by ThrowAwaySociety ( 1351793 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @10:49PM (#29328483)

    The apps are dumbed down versions. For example, the OS X version of Powerpoint will not let me create animations where objects move along a path (which is really useful to show how data flows through an abstract model or graph). The Windows version does.

    Fixed in the latest service pack. (Why was it suddenly fixed in a service pack, after letting several full releases go by without it? Because Apple's Keynote gained the ability.)

    The OS X version of Outlook, Entourage, won't really talk to Exchange and definitely won't let you schedule meetings with multiple attendees. This is Microsoft's fault.

    Not true. (I do it every week. Not even difficult; you just keep adding attendees just like you did the first one. You can even view availability on the little graph like Outlook.) But in any event, Entourage is going to be scrapped in the next version of Office. Why? Because Apple's apps had caught up to Entourage's (weak) level of support.

    Basically, Microsoft has enjoyed the same position with Office on the Mac that it has with Windows, despite not delivering the same level of capability. That's starting to change, because it's pretty easy to beat a product that isn't very good.

  • by adamstew ( 909658 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @11:33PM (#29328707)

    How about not even windows has built-in exchange support. In order to get Exchange support on Microsoft's $300 OS, you need to install a $100 email software, or $250 office suite.

    I got exchange support on my mac for $29.

  • by dontclapthrowmoney ( 1534613 ) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @12:16AM (#29328919)
    Sometimes there are reasons for not supporting any app, not matter how dodgy it might be, or any client OS that someone might want to use - especially in places where HR want to run some dodgy app that they've wasted money on and now want IT to soak up many hours to deploy it and get it working with the rest of their apps, and then not use it or discover it isn't quite what they wanted...

    Where I work is somewhere in between the two scenarios you mentioned - I won't make changes to centralised infrastructure to suit 1 or 2 people who have a preference for a particular app, especially if there is a alternative that can do what they want to achieve (even one that's not quite as good - sorry). Having said that, if people want to go off on a tangent and use an app/client OS/e-mail client that is different from the standard, I don't have any dramas with that so long as

    (1) they aren't introducing any security risks (no, sorry, you can't install "antiviruscleaner2009.exe"), and
    (2) they are happy to fix it themselves - our level of support drops back to "best effort" only

    Generally people who are interested in "outside the square" solutions are either technical enough to deal with any minor issues themselves and aware enough to understand when we say "sorry, not our problem...", or clueless enough so I can talk them out of what they want to do in the first place.

    This might sound a bit harsh - I dunno - people do have the ability to make a case for what they want, we just actually make them do that rather than grabbing our ankles at the slightest whim of others - and if they can justify the business need for what they are after, not a problem and we'll jump in and get it done - and if they can't justify it, sorry, I got bigger stuff to deal with.

The trouble with the rat-race is that even if you win, you're still a rat. -- Lily Tomlin