The Missing Piece: Microsoft Exchange for OS X

by Hadley Stern Feb 04, 2003

imageWhether we like it or not, at this time, Microsoft products are vital to the long-term viability of Apple in the corporate environment. Many of us need to seamlessly open, work on, and save Microsoft Office documents. Today we can, and all within OS X.

There is, however, one very key product missing from Microsoft—an OS X native client for Outlook Exchange. An email client may seem like a trivial piece of software. There is, after all, a plethora of email clients for OS X. However, Outlook Exchange is a proprietary emessaging platform. And while clients can connect through iMAP to the Outlook Exchange email stream, they cannot use the powerful calendaring and address book features that makes Exchange the darling of corporations.

The current Outlook Exchange client is OS 9 only and it is lacking compared to its Windows counterpart. Want to view HTML emails? Sorry, you need the Windows version. And the integration with the invitation and calendaring functionality of Outlook Exchange is finicky at best.

As for OS X, forget it. You have to use the classic environment. Exchange functions well in this configuration but as corporations decide to move to OS X they want to know they can take everything with them. Internal support departments do not want to have to support two OS’s on a Mac, and the many arguments in favor of OS X are lost when you have to have classic running.

So why the delay? It certainly cannot be ability. Microsoft has moved over the entire office suite, Internet explorer, Windows Media Player and many other applications to OS X. The anti-Microsoft conspiracy theorist would say it is Microsoft’s way of staving off Macintosh adoption within the corporate environment. Who knows? The point is that Microsoft’s intransigence (it hasn’t even made an announcement!) hurts the Mac. There is, by looking at this Microsoft newsgroup, a lot of interest in Exchange X. What do you think? Is your move to OS X being delayed by the lack of a native Exchange client?


  • We are a large Exchange user - 10,000 accounts spread across multiple servers. Although our move from OS 9 to OS X has not been hampered by having a native Exchange client (or Exchange hooks in Entourage) the effect is worse - the Mac is becoming an extinct platform since it cannot achieve true parity with the PC community. Effectively, the lack of an Exchange client for OS X is killing off our Mac population so while some folks may view this as conspiratorial we see it as an unfortunate reality.

    Ed Keegan had this to say on Feb 04, 2003 Posts: 1
  • Hello, I agree…
    here is a mail from the MS Mac BU :
    “...  to you is Outlook 2001 in Classic mode, as I’m sure you already know.  We will have an OS X Exchange client, but do not have any
    timelines or details at this time.

    Microsoft MacBU “

    Stay tuned…. but please MS be fast ! Consumers are expecting ! (I am sure they fear OS X…)

    vverdun had this to say on Feb 04, 2003 Posts: 1
  • I think MS is playing a dangerous game at this point. The corporate managers have all been roped into Enterprise Agreements for 3 years. Sun, Oracle and various open-source projects are beginning to align to exploit the high cost and frustration that these professional decision makers are feeling. When this first round of contracts expire, if there are solid alteratives available, corporate managers will line up to switch.  The lack of detailed announcement on Exchange for X is an ace example of an opportunity for somone over the next two years.

    Leon had this to say on Feb 04, 2003 Posts: 2
  • Since my last post there has been the announcement from M$ of an enhanced version of Entourage which will connect to Exchange servers. Typically, there are no real details that people could use like which Outlook features are going to be implemented and which are not, whether Entourage support for PDA sync-ing will be available on Day 1, etc. Stay tuned!

    Leon had this to say on Feb 14, 2003 Posts: 2
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