Microsoft moves Macs closer to PC parity
Macs to join PCs in the cloud
Macworld Expo Microsoft has announced two products designed to provide users of Office 2008 for Mac with improved access to existing server-based Microsoft services.
The first of the two, Microsoft Entourage for Exchange Web Services, will be a free upgrade to Entourage 2008 for Mac that will enable that email, contacts, and calendaring client to more fully benefit from the Exchange Web Services built into Exchange Server 2007.
The second, Microsoft Document Collaboration Companion for Mac, will be a free Cocoa-based companion app to Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac that's designed to improve document-management control for Mac users of Microsoft's SharePoint Server document-sharing technology. The app will work whether document sharing is provided by enterprise SharePoint Servers, third-party leased or subscription-based SharePoint services, or Microsoft's free (for now, at least) consumer and small-business oriented Office Live Workspace.
Both products were announced at Macworld Expo, but we were given a preview by Amanda Lefebvre, Macintosh Business Unit (MacBU) senior marketing manager, and Mike Tedesco, MacBU senior product manager.
As befits a marketing manager, Lefebvre talked of the the product pair's "mission", which she defined as "connecting Mac users to productivity no matter where it is - whether it's on the desktop or whether it's in the cloud or on the web."
And as befits a product manager, Tedesco spoke more in terms of nuts and bolts. Here are some of the details he provided about the two new Microsoft offerings.
Entourage for Exchange Web Services
Simply put, Entourage for Exchange Web Services - or, as MacBU's general manager, Eric Wilfrid, more succinctly refers to it, Entourage EWS - is an extension of the server-side processing benefits provided by Exchange Server 2007 (SP1 or later) to Entourage 2008 for Mac.
And, to hear Tedesco talk about them, the benefits are extensive.
Currently, the Entourage/Exchange relationship is based on WebDAV, which - according to Tedesco - requires that the majority of the management of the communication between Entourage and Exchange is performed on the client side, which "owns all the logic".
Currently, "anything that happens - whether you're sending an email or accepting a meeting request, whatever the case may be, all that work is happening on the client".
Such client-side processing makes troubleshooting tough, seeing as how admins must face an army of clients deploying an array of different devices from Macs to iPhones - tracking down an offender is no easy feat. With Entourage EWS, says Tedesco, "If there's an issue, I have one place to look for it". That one place being the server, since that's where the bulk of the Exchange processing will take place under Entourage EWS.
Client-side processing wreaks havoc on network traffic, too, according to Tedesco. "With WebDAV, if I accept a meeting request... it's six network calls to the server - with the Exchange Web Services it's one." Because the bulk of the Exchange access and management duties will be switched from the client to the server in Entourage EWS, "we'll have to do very minimal work to get an item on the server, and the server handles the rest".
Easier troubleshooting, less network traffic - all good stuff. If everything works as advertised, Entourage EWS could relieve a few IT headaches when it's released later this year. Currently it's in private beta, being pounded on by "20 enterprise-level customers" from the education, public, and private sectors. A public beta will be released later this month.
Why on earth did they create a separate app? Users want to use their browser, not some crappy app ... everything's going to be done in a browser and all that can be done in a browser.
I guess they found no easy way to make it work in ff on mac and fail with the same browser on other Unices ... or they do not have developers that know web standards .... pathetic!
When are they gonna fix owa so that it does no longer matter if you use ie, ff or safari?
We have a rich web app that works accross all main browsers on all main platforms ... it is not that hard.
How about a plug-in to get the file system to interface directly into the Finder, similar to MacFuse, etc. Then you can add locking and other items using the context sensitive menus with a Finder plug-in.
A separate 3rd party application for access files is dumb. At least replace the file dialogue code in office so that it can access these files using the normal open and save dialogs in the Office suite.
How hard can it be?
Entourage days are numbered once Apple release their new Mail.app with proper Exchange support I hope. Just been quoted over £450 for Office 2008 Standard (for Exchange support). That's a rip-off. Thankfully I can still find it for £280 even that's still daylight robbery.
Notes and Tasks sync ?
If M$ is serious about feature parity they need to drag Entourage into the 1990s and give us frackin' note and task sync.
Palm Pilot's could do this when Steven Jobs was still at Next for crying out loud... its not astrophysics people, get it sorted
MS would stop changing the file format ever so slightly each time they bring a new version out half of this "3rd party" type addon combobulation software thingy wouldn't be needed as it would be native as it would all be built into the software. Oh wait that would mean we'd need to code correctly.
There is a solution Open Office works, okay it doesn't play with exchange but then again it doesn't really come with an e-mail client. Here is the surprise it will open most MS docs and TRY it's best to save them in the right format also if you save it in it's own format, you can then open it in any version of the software, as if the version doesn't understand the formating tag it ignores it.. and tells you it's ignoring it I believe.
Yes lets make like we like "macs" and sell more trash - MS memo...
They are just trying to steal the march on stuff like Google docs which works in the browser.
Yay more infections for mac!
SO instead of 5 threats due to microshaft office for mac.. .we get 10!