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Inside Mac OS X Snow Leopard: Exchange Support

Exchange APIs

Daniel Eran Dilger

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 dependance upon Microsoft’s client software, weakening Microsoft’s ability to hold back and dumb down its Mac offerings at Apple’s expense.

Inside Mac OS X Snow Leopard: Exchange Support
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More importantly, Apple is providing its users with additional options that benefit both Mac users and the open source community. Here’s how, the fourth in this series looking closer at some of Snow Leopard’s well-known, but often misrepresented or misunderstood features.

(This article was updated to clarify details in how Apple implements support for Microsoft’s changing roadmap of Exchange Server client APIs.)

Introducing Snow Leopard’s Exchange clients

Integrated support for Exchange beginning with last year’s iPhone 2.0 means Apple’s mobile platform simply doesn’t need an Outlook client. Now Snow Leopard can also get by without Entourage/Outlook, thanks to new and improved baked-in support for Exchange in Mail, Address Book and iCal.

Microsoft has responded with the announcement that it will now be delivering a real (but still scaled back) version of Outlook for the Mac again, after a decade of giving enterprise Mac users a third rate alternative in Entourage, but Microsoft’s efforts to win back Mac clients may come too late to prevent the significant erosion of one of the primary reasons companies have to pay for Office on the Mac.

With iWork and the built in Exchange client support in Snow Leopard, many users will have no need to even consider Microsoft’s Mac client offerings. It will be very difficult for Microsoft to convince Mac users that they need Office after those users discover suitable alternatives that cost significantly less.

Why the client is so important

With Snow Leopard and the iPhone each now providing their own client layer for accessing Exchange Server, Apple can now offer its users alternative access to other server products as well, from its own MobileMe and Snow Leopard Server offerings to web services from Google and Yahoo. This effectively turns Microsoft from a direct seller into a wholesaler that has to deal with Apple as a middleman retailer.

Ten years ago, Apple was in that position with its hardware sales. It tried hard to get Sears, CompUSA and other retailers to sell Macs for it, but those retailers also sold generic PCs. Because they made more money selling generic PCs, they had little incentive to aggressively market Macs. Apple’s retail stores eventually solved this issue by allowing the company to reach users directly.

In the software business, Microsoft has long known the importance of owning the client end. It worked hard to displace Netscape’s web browser in the late 90s, not because there was any money to be made in giving away browser clients, but because it knew that whoever controlled the client could set up proprietary demands for a specific web server. That’s what Netscape had worked to do as it gave away its web browser in hopes that it could make money selling Netscape web servers; Microsoft first took control of the client with Internet Explorer and then began tying its IE client to its own IIS on the server side with features that gave companies reasons to buy all of their server software from Microsoft.

As Apple takes over the client end of Exchange, it similarly gains market leverage. First and foremost, the move allows Apple to improve the Exchange experience of Mac users so that business users have no reason not to buy Macs. Secondly, it gives Apple a client audience to market its own server solutions, including MobileMe to individual users and Snow Leopard Server to organizations. In concert with providing Exchange Server support, Apple is also delivering integrated support for its own Exchange alternatives in both MobileMe and with Snow Leopard Server’s improved Dovecot email services, Address Book Server, iCal Server, the new Mobile Access secure gateway, and its included Push Notification Server.

Two Birds, One Stone

Apple’s support for Exchange and its promotion of its own Exchange alternatives are two sides of the same coin, in the sense that they use the same technologies. Apple built its original support for Exchange using WebDAV, the open specification that Microsoft supports on Exchange Server as a way to deliver messages to mobile clients.

However, Microsoft has since moved away from supporting the open WebDAV specification, and now advocates the use of its own proprietary Exchange Web Services protocol using SOAP and XML to accomplish things that aren’t possible using WebDAV alone.

In contrast, Apple’s strategy for providing messaging services in Mac OS X Server has been to work with the open community in extending WebDAV. This began with CalDAV, a calendaring extension to WebDAV implemented in Leopard Server’s iCal Server, and continues with CardDAV, a similarly open contact sharing extension for WebDAV.

In order to keep up with Microsoft’s changing client strategy, Apple has pursued multiple efforts to deliver Exchange support for its clients. For the iPhone, Apple licensed the rights to implement a compatible Exchange Active Sync conduit with Exchange; it did not license any Exchange Active Sync software from Microsoft. Apple owns both the iPhone and Snow Leopard software that talks to Exchange.

The client applications Apple has upgraded in Snow Leopard to connect to Exchange, including Mail, Address Book, and iCal, use WebDAV to talk to Apple’s own Snow Leopard Server applications. Because Microsoft only supports its new Exchange Web Services API under Exchange 2007, Snow Leopard’s new Exchange support requires a modern version of Exchange. The iPhone’s EAS works with older versions, including Exchange 2003.

Because Apple makes its money almost exclusively from selling hardware, it has opened up its own Snow Leopard Server applications, Address Book Server and iCal Server, as open source Darwin servers that can be compiled to run on Linux. That means Apple is essentially giving away both the client (to Mac users) and the servers (to the community) in order to encourage the use of open standards in messaging and collaboration. That giveaway is being done to help Apple sell Macs.

This effort to support everything from integrated client software owned by Apple makes Snow Leopard’s support for Exchange of use to everyone, even if they don’t use Exchange. The client work Apple has invested in making Macs Exchange-friendly also improves the features available via MobileMe, Snow Leopard Server, and even some other third party services such as those from Google and Yahoo.

Apple’s App Store software model

If this seems like a familiar strategy, it’s because Apple is doing something similar on the iPhone: creating a managed market for third party developers, as long as they support Apple’s business as well. Apple’s iPhone App Store goal is to support and assist small developers in producing high quality, good looking apps that are sold at low prices in high volume. This “managed market” strategy has worked much better than the “laissez faire” conventional third party Mac platform that developed on its own starting in the 80s, where developers set prices relatively high, piracy abounded, quality was unchecked, and the only force keeping software consistent and looking good was the taste of Mac software buyers.

Microsoft did a better job of supporting developers on its DOS and Windows platforms, but also required less of its developers, resulting in a mixed bag of third party PC software that is usually expensive, often buggy and hobbled with old legacy issues, and almost always inconsistent and inelegant. The Linux community, along with Google’s new Android mobile platform, offer even less in terms of minimum standards and quality control, resulting in software that is often free but usually unfinished and typically inaccessible to anyone outside of dedicated tinkerers and hobbyists. While examples of fine open source client software exists, there is no available market driving this kind of development financially.

The success of the iPhone App Store has benefited both developers and users by establishing a competitive market based on meritocracy. Snow Leopard’s support for Exchange, because it opens up equal access to alternative competition, similarly creates an iPhone-like market for desktop messaging services ranked by merit, not the vendor’s current market position. This will provide Snow Leopard users with not just the ability to talk to corporate Exchange Servers, but also the ability to access Apple’s own offerings and other third party services.

The next segment in this series looks at fifth feature of Snow Leopard that has often been misrepresented: its new malware protection and related security features.

Inside Mac OS X Snow Leopard: QuickTime X
Inside Mac OS X Snow Leopard: 64-bits
Inside Mac OS X Snow Leopard: GPU Optimization

Snow Leopard Server (Developer Reference)

Daniel Eran Dilger is the author of “Snow Leopard Server (Developer Reference),” a new book from Wiley available now for pre-order at a special price from Amazon.

27 comments

1 qka { 09.05.09 at 2:08 pm }

Apple may have opened their own stores, but they are still partnered with Best Buy to sell Apple products; Best Buy of course also selling Windows computers (as featured in recent MS ads) and being the owner of the justifiably maligned Geek Squad. No conflict of interest there?

Further, in my area (upstate NY), Best Buy only sells Macs at stores in markets also served by Apple stores. In markets not near an Apple store (>1 hr++ away), Best Buy does not sell Macs.

I have to wonder if the intended arrangement is for Best Buy to make the sales for Apple, but Apple intends to have their own service, via the Genius Bar, available in markets where Macs can be bought retail. If no Apple store is convenient, then no one else is allowed to sell Macs in those markets. (Can anyone else living in the hinterlands add the situation in their market?) Apple loses some of the profit but gains exposure and increased sales; after a bad experience at Geek Squad, Apple figures the Mac owners who made their purchase at Best Buy will eventually wander into the real Apple Store for the enlightened experience.

2 hyperpower { 09.05.09 at 2:41 pm }

Unfortunately, qka that is not true. I live in San Angelo, Texas where we have a Best Buy that sell Macs, but the nearest Apple Store is in Austin, Texas which is 300+ miles away. The Best Buy here has horrible customer service and doesn’t try to sell Apple products in their store well. I had a hard drive failure in my iMac and took it their for warranty repair. Unfortunately, they do not service any Macs they do not sell in their stores. A stupid policy that required me to drive all the way to Austin to get a hard drive replaced.

3 cy_starkman { 09.05.09 at 10:47 pm }

-starts a picket line-

we want the 10.6 server run down by Daniel!

4 beanie { 09.05.09 at 11:36 pm }

Daniel wrote:
” after a decade of giving enterprise Mac users a third rate alternative in Entourage, but Microsoft’s efforts to win back Mac clients may come too late to prevent the significant erosion of one of the primary reasons companies have to pay for Office on the Mac.”

You know you are making fun of MacBU (Macintosh Business Unit) of Microsoft which develops Office for Mac software. MacBU is said to be second largest Mac developer outside of Apple. I read it has revenue of around $300 million.

Entourage is Mac exclusive software. There is no Windows equivalent. I hear there is a new version coming out in mid-September with better Exchange support.

5 dssstrkl { 09.06.09 at 1:16 am }
6 Shunnabunich { 09.06.09 at 6:11 am }

@beanie: That’s an interesting way to spin it, heh. Some might argue that the MacBU deserves to be made fun of for Office for Mac, that they only make that much money because many Mac users in organizations are “required” to use Microsoft Office thanks to its position as a de facto standard, and that Windows users who are even aware of the existence of Entourage are thankful that only Mac users have to suffer using it. That new version you heard of is a Mac version of Outlook, and as Dan mentioned, it doesn’t look a whole lot better.

7 luisd { 09.06.09 at 1:06 pm }

What I don’t understand is why would MS would license exchange then. Surely, if this is really so bad for MS business model, why are they licensing it to Apple? Can somebody explain?
Thanks

8 Nate { 09.06.09 at 2:39 pm }

Snow Leopard is not using WebDAV to communicate with Exchange, they are using Exchange Web Services, or EWS—a similar but more complicated, proprietary protocol that does not work with older versions of Exchange. That’s why it only works with Exchange 2007. (See: http://bit.ly/g4Qcy)

WebDAV is used by Entourage to communicate with Exchange Server, although Microsoft has now come out with an optional update for Entourage that zaps WebDAV and only supports EWS and Exchange 2007.

9 Dorotea { 09.06.09 at 8:01 pm }

http://www.bynkii.com -> Pure Vitriol. I feel dirty after reading the site. ……. Off to take a shower.

10 danieleran { 09.06.09 at 10:01 pm }

John C. Welch’s Bynkii.com is a strange place. He fantasizes about raping women he finds “too stupid,” talks about “skull f*cking” people who he feels have made mistakes, and so on. It’s a really weird exposure of his angry and apparently sexually frustrated world.

Of all of the many trolls who have a problem with me, John C. Welch is the one I have the least interest in responding to. He apparently thinks he’s being funny, but in reality he just spends lots of time (it’s a lot of work to write paragraphs of text, check for grammar, etc) trying to run people down rather than correcting anything or actually printing anything of use to others. And he calls me the douche bag? Hilarious.

I hope he never has to go looking for work, because a potential employer who ran across his site would never hire him. Every sentence on his site is dripping with sexualized frustration and rage, written like a child molester psychopath with his balls nailed to the floor.

11 JohnWatkins { 09.06.09 at 11:28 pm }

Luisd,
” . . . if this is really so bad for MS business model, why are they licensing it to Apple?”
I have often wondered similar things about some of Microsoft’s past actions. Perhaps their actions are best summed up as “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush?” Money is money.
Or maybe its simply a matter of not seeing how the dots line up.

12 JohnWatkins { 09.06.09 at 11:33 pm }

dssstrkl,
I hope you don’ think that blog passes as intelligent commentary. I have to agree with Dorotea — rather disturbing.

13 bartfat { 09.06.09 at 11:37 pm }

@luisd

MS licensed the use of Exchange ActiveSync to Apple, thinking it would be used for the iPhone. This would help it better compete with RIM, who effectively cuts MS out of the profits to made from adding mobile sync functionality. So MS decided to take a risk and license ActiveSync for Exchange for the iPhone, and since it was the most desirable phone ever, MS thought that it would be great for their business for the iPhones that businesses are relying on to have ActiveSync. And until iPhone OS 3.0, that was the case, since there wasn’t a competing sync solution available for the iPhone. So businesses would have to buy more Exchange licenses and therefore more profits for MS. [i]However[/i], I doubt that MS saw that Apple would reuse the same technology and put it on Macs a year later, so that Macs became Exchange compatible out of the box. This still doesn’t put a threat to Microsoft yet, since many businesses still rely on Exchange. But now that all Apple products supports both Exchange and other sync technologies (CalDAV, CardDAV, WebDAV, and IMAP), you’ll see that there’s now much less of a reason to buy a pricey MS Exchange license. It’s kind of ironic that MS thought that they could use Apple to get rid of all the competitors to Exchange, but then Apple decided it would pull a fast one and make its Macs compatible as well, and allow other open-source technologies to compete before MS could react. Now MS is trying to cover that loophole of Macs getting Exchange support for free by porting over Outlook… but that train of opportunity may have left the station.

Anyway, great article Daniel.

14 qka { 09.07.09 at 12:28 am }

As for MS selling Apple, I am reminded of the quote: A capitalist will sell you the rope to hang him with., attributed variously to Marx or Lenin. I don’t necessarily agree with the original politics, but it somehow seems to fit this situation.

15 lowededwookie { 09.07.09 at 5:17 am }

I like the fact he thinks no one’s ever heard of Outlook.

Everyone’s heard of Outlook… except this baboon… Scratch that, baboons are infinitely more intelligent… in fact a baboon’s butt is infinitely more intelligent.

16 lowededwookie { 09.07.09 at 5:22 am }

Here’s another reason Mac OS X Server should be looked at for small businesses rather than just the features.

Mac OS X Server retails for $979 NZ for unlimited client connections. I priced up the barest Windows setup that provides much of the functionality of Mac OS X Server. It only costs $18175.56 NZ and that’s only for 25 clients.

Small Business Server is cheaper but it offers no upgradability like Mac OS X Server does so I had to go full blown Windows 2008 Server, Exchange 2007 Server, and SQL Server.

Not looking good for M$ there people.

17 dssstrkl { 09.07.09 at 7:08 am }

There really isn’t any mystery as to why Microsoft licensed EWS to Apple. Its really as simple as the fact that the Exchange division doesn’t give a shit about Windows Mobile or the MacBU. Giving Apple as many licenses as they can is revenue for them, and boosts their numbers. Remember that Microsoft is not some monolithic force led lockstep into battle by Steve Ballmer. Hell, even Google licensed Exchange for its calendar sync.

Also, there’s a reason why companies are willing to pay through the nose for Exchange, and its actually similar to why people spend a premium for Macs. Snow Leopard Server and Google Apps are not even close to being in the same league as Exchange for what big companies need. But the idea that MobileMe is a credible Exchange alternative is a joke. And I say this as a subscriber. The fact is that MobileMe is and always has been a consumer solution, and Apple has always billed it as such (Remember “Exchange for the rest of us”?).

And I can also speak from personal experience that Snow Leopard’s Exchange support is most definitely not a catch-all replacement for Entourage/Outlook 2010. If the Exchange server you’re working against isn’t 2007 or higher, then SL’s support is useless, because Exchange Server didn’t use EWS before then. I can just imagine suggesting to my IT department that they upgrade their Exchange license from 2003 to 2007 or 2010, which would likely also require them to upgrade the client machines (which are standardized on Windows 2000 with Office 2002) all because I want to use Exchange support on my Mac. So if I want the full Exchange experience on my Mac, its still via Entourage.

And no, we can’t move to cloud services because a) they’re unreliable as sin and b) we’re bound by HIPAA, so everything has to stay in-house. Remember, Bush liked to shred the Constitution for fun, but even he didn’t fuck with HIPAA. And to the people who get so disturbed by profanity that they can’t recognize a cogent point, grow up.

18 ChuckO { 09.07.09 at 2:49 pm }

I doubt MS has a choice in who it licenses it’s tech to. If they are selling it they sell it to anyone or no one. It’s similar to Palm and Google and Nokia using WebKit to build a browser Apple made it open source they don’t get to turn down competitors. MS is licensing something they don’t get to say yes to you and not to me.

19 ChuckO { 09.07.09 at 5:12 pm }

MS needs Apple, bad. Without Apple they are an even scarier monopoly and in for a lot more government interference. That’s why they helped prop Apple up back when they announced on going Mac Office support and the investment (along with an agreement for Apple to end legal proceedings over Windows) in Apple. Seems like a whole different world and a million years ago now doesn’t? Amazing how quickly things change. I remember thinking they bought Next just to get Jobs back and that they were crazy not to buy Be OS!

20 danieleran { 09.08.09 at 8:38 pm }

@dssstrkl :

I think your perspective has been contaminated by the vitriolic strawman attacks posted by John C. Welch in his franticly unprofessional frustration outlet known as Bynkii.com.

When you say “the idea that MobileMe is a credible Exchange alternative is a joke,” where did you get the impression that I wrote of MobileMe as a drop in replacement for the majority of Exchange shops?

Your next line, “The fact is that MobileMe is and always has been a consumer solution, and Apple has always billed it as such (Remember “Exchange for the rest of us”?)” is correct, and harmonizes with what I did write, that MobileMe offers an Exchange alternative for “us,” that is users who don’t need or want to spend $25,000 on an entry level Exchange infrastructure.

Next up, you wrote, “Snow Leopard’s Exchange support is most definitely not a catch-all replacement for Entourage/Outlook 2010.” Well, yes.

The problem with reading delusional, fact bending, strawman burning, poop flinging rants like those published by Welch is that you end up repeating talking points that have no connection to the discussion at hand. You might as well sit in front of an AM radio spewing lather about death panels, Kenyan birth certificate forgeries, and how public insurance will turn the USA into Nazi Germany.

Frankly, I don’t even want to address the knuckle dragging, sexualized fantasies Welch manages to inject in every rage tantrum he writes, even if they might include random jabs as me.

His point, that there is only one market on earth, and only one problem solved by one solution, is so simple minded that it doesn’t deserve discussion. Apple is rapidly selling its services to users who don’t need Exchange. Nobody is suggesting that Exchange Server installations are directly competing against MM or SL Server, any more than FileMaker Pro is pitted against Oracle or SQL Server. There’s still a big market for FM Pro.

In the mobile market, MM offers a superior alternative for anyone who wants a personal account that provides desktop/mobile sync and push messaging, and lacks a connection to a huge corporation that has invested millions in building an Exchange infrastructure.

Microsoft has a very strong position in corporate messaging, but it isn’t making much headway in mobile messaging, thanks in part to the failure of Windows Mobile. RIM has eaten up Microsoft’s business prospects in the mobile push messaging arena. That’s why Microsoft is desperate to associate the iPhone with Exchange. It’s also happy to have SL apps working with Exchange.

Will SL apps help Microsoft sell upgrades to the now two year old, current version of Exchange? It doesn’t matter if it does. Mac users who think Apple should have made SL apps support old versions of Exchange dating back to 2003 or 2000 are simply pinning the problem on the wrong vendor. It’s Microsoft that has changed its strategy and API enough to leave Apple with less than ideal options.

The new Outlook for Mac will likely also use EWS, as even Microsoft sees MAPI as a pile of old spaghetti code.

Apple is adding Exchange support to SL to increase the visibility of Macs and bypass the third rate clients Microsoft has provided Mac users. The fact that Microsoft keeps moving its own goalposts in terms of the latest Exchange features is no surprise. It’s not Apple’s goal to beat Microsoft at its own game. Look at how unwinnable that has been for WINE, OpenOffice, or any other attempt to clone Microsoft’s proprietary protocols.

As I pointed out, Apple’s goal is to offer workable Exchange support while focusing on delivering products targeted to its own customer base, sharing much of the investments made. Apple isn’t trying to make SL apps on par with Outlook, it’s making its own MobileMe and SL Server on par with its own support for Exchange, enabling and encouraging Mac users to switch to Apple’s own offerings wherever possible.

If you doubt that, come back in 5 years and tell me how MobileMe compares to MyPhone or whatever Microsoft is offering for its dwindling Windows Mobile platform. Then tell me how much progress Exchange has made in expanding its market share compared to SL Server. Exchange will certainly still be making Microsoft money, and more money that Apple makes in the enterprise by some factor of ten, but Apple isn’t about winning dominance, it’s about making a better product. And for many Mac users, MM is a superior alternative to running their own Exchange Server.

21 jdb { 09.08.09 at 8:40 pm }

I have to admit that I find bynkii.com amusing. Don’t go there if you find bad language offensive.

Daniel, I think you are wrong about your assessment of him as a woman hater. He just uses language that most people find offensive.

Read this for his thoughts on strong woman. It is inspired actually:
http://www.bynkii.com/archives/2003/12/on_women.html

Not sure why he has decided to take such a tack for what he considers a technical flaw in your writing. I’m not sure making a technical mistake deserves such vitriol but I wouldn’t take too much offense, he writes like that about everything.

I am curious as to what you think about his critique absent the contrived rage.

22 jdb { 09.08.09 at 8:44 pm }

And oddly, your response to my query was already being posted in response to someone else while I was writing the comment.

23 qka { 09.08.09 at 9:36 pm }

@hyperpower
Thanks for the feedback on your corner of the world; I could only report on mine.

24 dssstrkl { 09.09.09 at 12:49 am }

I think your perspective has been contaminated by the vitriolic strawman attacks posted by John C. Welch in his franticly unprofessional frustration outlet known as Bynkii.com.

Just because you think it doesn’t make it so.

When you say “the idea that MobileMe is a credible Exchange alternative is a joke,” where did you get the impression that I wrote of MobileMe as a drop in replacement for the majority of Exchange shops?

When you wrote this: “With Snow Leopard and the iPhone each now providing their own client layer for accessing Exchange Server, Apple can now offer its users alternative access to other server products as well, from its own MobileMe and Snow Leopard Server offerings to web services from Google and Yahoo. This effectively turns Microsoft from a direct seller into a wholesaler that has to deal with Apple as a middleman retailer.”

That very strongly implies that Exchange and MM are in direct competition. While SL Server is a more credible drop-in replacement/alternative to Exchange, MM is most certainly not. MM is just that: all about me. It has no groupware functionality at all, even between members of a family plan. In order to share calendars, I had to build a hack that goes through Google calendar and BusyCal, which requires at least one of our Macs to be on to sync everything. Its an ugly solution for something that should be built-in, especially considering how easy it is to share calendars using Google. If it wasn’t for the fact that Google tends to mangle my contacts, I would seriously be considering dropping my MM.

Your next line… Exchange infrastructure.

Then why compare them? As if a $25k solution is in the same ballpark as a $100 one. An apples to apples comparison should be Exchange vs SL Server and/or MM vs Live/MyPhone vs Google. Exchange is not a consumer product and MM isn’t for business (or even for groups). They’re totally different markets with different needs. If there’s any confusion on my part, its the fact that you weren’t clear about the distinction between them.

The problem with reading delusional, fact bending, strawman burning, poop flinging rants like those published by Welch is that you end up repeating talking points that have no connection to the discussion at hand. You might as well sit in front of an AM radio spewing lather about death panels, Kenyan birth certificate forgeries, and how public insurance will turn the USA into Nazi Germany.

Frankly, I don’t even want to address the knuckle dragging, sexualized fantasies Welch manages to inject in every rage tantrum he writes, even if they might include random jabs as me.

His point, that there is only one market on earth, and only one problem solved by one solution, is so simple minded that it doesn’t deserve discussion. Apple is rapidly selling its services to users who don’t need Exchange. Nobody is suggesting that Exchange Server installations are directly competing against MM or SL Server, any more than FileMaker Pro is pitted against Oracle or SQL Server. There’s still a big market for FM Pro.

OK, exactly which of his “talking points” did I mindlessly repeat. He brought up some very specific technical inaccuracies which you failed to address. I pointed out the obvious (and non-conspiracy theory) reason why MS would license Exchange to Apple (and Google) and mentioned my personal experience with MM and connecting a SL Mac to an old Exchange account. Neither Welch nor I insinuated that there’s only one email market, but there two markets that use Exchange: Big organizations and SMB. MM is a poor solution for either one. Its that market that uses Exchange, and since you were comparing it to MM, the logical conclusion is that you were mentioning those markets.

Also, for the AM-radio crack: fuck you. Using flowery language to hurl your shit doesn’t make it smell any better.

In the mobile market, MM offers a superior alternative for anyone who wants a personal account that provides desktop/mobile sync and push messaging, and lacks a connection to a huge corporation that has invested millions in building an Exchange infrastructure.

Clearly, but that’s like being surprised that the sky is blue. (Although, I’ve lived in SF long enough to know that it is a pleasant surprise when there’s a blue sky, but you get the point.) Again, no one uses Exchange who isn’t using it for business, so why bring it up? Consumers use Yahoo, Hotmail/Live and Gmail or their ISP for email. So yeah, if you want the features that MM offers, its a good value, but that’s hardly worthy of analysis.

Microsoft has a very strong position in corporate messaging, but it isn’t making much headway in mobile messaging, thanks in part to the failure of Windows Mobile. RIM has eaten up Microsoft’s business prospects in the mobile push messaging arena. That’s why Microsoft is desperate to associate the iPhone with Exchange. It’s also happy to have SL apps working with Exchange.

I don’t know what you mean here. If you’re talking about BES, then we’re still on Exchange. If you’re talking about EWS, then we’re STILL on Exchange, but including WinMo, iPhone, Pre, Symbian and HTC Android builds. Basically every non-BB smartphone and a bunch of dumbphones. MS isn’t doing nearly as much work to integrate the iPhone and OS X with Exchange as Apple is. Apple has far more to gain from the proposition than MS does. Again, we’re dealing with entirely different divisions of MS here. Exchange cares about Exchange, not WinMo.

Will SL apps help Microsoft sell upgrades to the now two year old, current version of Exchange? It doesn’t matter if it does. Mac users who think Apple should have made SL apps support old versions of Exchange dating back to 2003 or 2000 are simply pinning the problem on the wrong vendor. It’s Microsoft that has changed its strategy and API enough to leave Apple with less than ideal options.

The new Outlook for Mac will likely also use EWS, as even Microsoft sees MAPI as a pile of old spaghetti code.

SL is not at all likely to get companies to upgrade their Exchange servers, which as you like to point out, is a very expensive undertaking. I also don’t think that either Apple or MS is to “blame” for anything. Clearly, MS is going to be using its own new standard for upcoming products. Whether or not Outlook 2010 will be backwards-compatible remains to be seen. Also, MS now isn’t allowed to break from the past or update their API’s? I thought we all wanted MS to embrace the future (or at least the recent past). That’s why people are still bitching about Win7 still having the registry, etc. Apple building its own apps to connect to other people’s services is nothing new. Office for the Mac has been shitty for years, but MS screwed Apple over by switching to something new? Something Apple likes to do itself quite a bit, BTW. Color me unconvinced.

Apple is adding Exchange support to SL to increase the visibility of Macs and bypass the third rate clients Microsoft has provided Mac users. The fact that Microsoft keeps moving its own goalposts in terms of the latest Exchange features is no surprise. It’s not Apple’s goal to beat Microsoft at its own game. Look at how unwinnable that has been for WINE, OpenOffice, or any other attempt to clone Microsoft’s proprietary protocols.

Which is why Apple licensed it. The reason why all of those projects suffer from such high levels of suck is because they have a religious devotion to the GPL that Apple doesn’t share. Updating their software with new features is hardly “moving the goalposts,” especially since this is the first time that Apple has offered this level of integration.

As I pointed out, Apple’s goal is to offer workable Exchange support while focusing on delivering products targeted to its own customer base, sharing much of the investments made. Apple isn’t trying to make SL apps on par with Outlook, it’s making its own MobileMe and SL Server on par with its own support for Exchange, enabling and encouraging Mac users to switch to Apple’s own offerings wherever possible.

But you were talking about MM in comparison to Exchange. Users don’t use Exchange or SL Server, they use Outlook, Entourage or Mail.app. Mac users aren’t going to switch from Exchange to SL Server; that’s generally not a decision they get to make. MM exists in parallel to Exchange. It offers value for an individual similar to what one gets from Exchange, but since one generally uses Exchange for work and MM for personal stuff, there is little room for overlap or “switching.”

If you doubt that, come back in 5 years and tell me how MobileMe compares to MyPhone or whatever Microsoft is offering for its dwindling Windows Mobile platform. Then tell me how much progress Exchange has made in expanding its market share compared to SL Server. Exchange will certainly still be making Microsoft money, and more money that Apple makes in the enterprise by some factor of ten, but Apple isn’t about winning dominance, it’s about making a better product. And for many Mac users, MM is a superior alternative to running their own Exchange Server.

You’re asking me to predict what an Apple service will look like in 5 years? I can say pretty confidently that MM will still be a consumer product and will not be a viable replacement for Exchange. And since MM is already superior to MyPhone/Live (even though both have features that the other lacks), I don’t know what point you’re trying to make here. As for the progress part, I think you got turned around. Its Apple that needs to catch up to MS. Apple is adding features to OS X server that make it more enterprise friendly, but here Apple’s solutions are immature. I have no doubt that Apple will continue to improve OS X server, but MS’s services are robust and mature already. Hell, Apple HAD to use EWS for the iPhone, since OS X server only gained the ability to remotely manage iPhones with SL. Its nice that Apple finally supports its own product that’s been on the market for more than two years, isn’t it?

25 ShabbaRanks { 09.09.09 at 3:46 pm }

Wow. Worst comments section ever!

26 ShabbaRanks { 09.09.09 at 3:57 pm }

This is why sites like bynkii.com are so diseased. It’s not the swearing which makes it reprehensible. It’s the evil vitriol implied by that particular article’s use of expletives.
That site is frequented by the kind of people who think it’s ridiculous to actually correct your mistakes and should just leave things out there as a source of misinformation (yes, that’s actually in the comments section).
As an adult swearing doesn’t offend me. It’s the apparent inappropriate intention to degrade behind it and I sense nothing good coming from anyone willing to publicly write like Mr Welch does.

Worst post ever?

27 mr_kitty { 09.12.09 at 8:27 pm }

“That new version you heard of is a Mac version of Outlook, and as Dan mentioned, it doesn’t look a whole lot better.”

Actually, no. The mid-September version of Entourage is slated to be Exchange Web Services enabled, so it will add benefits only to those folks attached to Exchange 2007 servers, and it will NOT address the biggest problem with Entourage — that it corrupts its own monolithic database file.

THAT problem won’t be addressed until Outlook for Mac, which is not slated to debut until Office 2010, which is currently expected in Q4 2010. Outlook for Mac will do away with the monolithic database file and instead institute an individual msg file/folder structure similar to the one that Mail.app implemented in OS 10.4 (10.3.x Mail.app faced corruption problems when its own mbox files got too big).

It’s unknown whether Outlook for Mac will be Exchange Web Services only (thus requiring Exchange 2007+), but it’s highly likely.

As far as why M$ would license Exchange or ActiveSync to Apple… money of course! Apple pays for those licenses. Besides — much like when Microsoft proudly announced that RealNetworks had licensed the rights to broadcast Windows Media for it’s RealServer software as an endorsement of M$’s “superior format” — in M$’s world, this is equivalent to Apple endorsing Exchange. It’s a typical “emperor wears no clothes” viewpoint for M$.

In the end tho, it’s not Snow Leopard Server that servers to threaten exchange. It’s Google Apps. GA is a much easier to deploy and maintain solution than either Exchange or Snow Leopard, and so much much much cheaper….

With Apple supporting both the EWS standards AND the open standards that it and Google are developing/deploying, Apple is hedged for both outcomes.

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