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Microsoft Document Collaboration Companion for Mac

Today, Mac users must access a document on Microsoft SharePoint Servers using a browser-based interface. Unfortunately, according to Tedesco, using Safari or Firefox is "pretty limited in what you can do in terms of rich collaboration - not being able to check that document out and know who's working on it, and prevent others from working on it at the same time".

Microsoft is aiming to remove those limitations with Document Collaboration Companion for Mac - which, although Wilfrid doesn't specifically abbreviate it as he does Entourage EWS, we'll shorten to DCC.

DCC is a standalone app with which you can browse a SharePoint server or Office Live Workspace. Once you find the document you're looking for and download it, it will be marked as checked out and listed as such to other users of DCC or its PC equivalent, which Tedesco said has a different implementation "but the user scenario is the same".

The checked-out document will be listed in DCC along with information about who checked it out and when, and what its current status is. If someone else tries to access a checked-out document, DCC will inform that person that the document is being modified by someone else, and offer a read-only copy. It won't, however, provide the option of informing the person who checked it out that someone else wants it. What's a version 2.0 for, anyway?

After you're finished modifying the document, you can go back to DCC, click Check In, and DCC will upload the document to the SharePoint Server or Workspace, and update its listing to show its new status and last-modification date and time. To prevent versioning problems, DCC will also delete the newly uploaded file from your client Mac.

DCC's interface looks - as do so many recent Mac apps - like a descendent of iTunes. It has the same left-hand pane in which you can store your lists of SharePoints and Workspaces, plus documents you're working on and Favorites - documents that you and others requently toss back and forth. The document list is on the right - just as where your iTunes tunes live.

Microsoft Document Collaboration Companion for Mac hasn't yet reached private-beta stage - that's scheduled for later this month. According to Tedesco, the completed app will be released sometime this year, but he was unable to pin down a release date any more closely than "2009".

Both products, taken together, well illustrate Lefebvre's comment that "Aside from what [MacBU does], a lot of people don't think about what other teams at Microsoft are doing for Mac users". True that - the Exchange team and the SharePoint folks may be about to benefit Mac users, whether they're aware of it or not. ®

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