Article: Is Apple Stupid About Exchange Support?

by on November 3, 2008

As we know, one of the whiz-bang features of Mac OS X 10.6 “Snow Leopard” is that it will include full support for Microsoft Exchange. For those unfamiliar with Exchange, it’s essentially the business-grade email/contacts/calendar system that plays nicely with Outlook, Entourage, and the iPhone/iPod touch. This begs the question — why hasn’t Apple gotten around to making it work with Mail, Address Book, and iCal earlier?

You can hate Microsoft. I understand. However, many businesses rely on Exchange to do group scheduling and create directories of employees. Apple has gotten Exchange email support working in Mail quite well, but for anyone who has a Mac, they’re forced to use Entourage or Outlook (within Windows) to get full support.

The curious part of this is that Apple offered full support for Exchange servers on the iPhone and iPod touch. That’s right, using Apple’s software exclusively, my iPod touch handles my
work email and scheduling duties better than my Mac. What’s up with that?

There are a few third-party solutions and right now the latest version of Entourage will export your calendar over to iCal using Sync Services, but all events appear in one iCal calendar and lose any sort of categorization. As of right now, I manage my calendar solely with Entourage and the iPod touch, and do all my emailing within Mail. I’m hesitant to switch over to Entourage for everything because I like Apple’s software. I have Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, but rarely use them, so integration is not a selling point. For awhile, I tried VirtualBox with Windows Vista and XP, but didn’t want to decide all the space for just accessing Outlook.

If you’re in an Exchange environment, I’m curious what you’re using to manage your calendar and contacts. As email does work in other applications, it’s not the biggest issue, but it’s still puzzling how Apple took its time to get around to working on full Exchange support.

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