Fresh on the heels of yesterday’s keynote at the Worldwide Developer Conference Apple showcased their new support of Microsoft Exchange 2007 in the productivity apps (Mail, iCal, Address Book) for their forthcoming OS release Snow Leopard. Apple, not Microsoft, is the only operating system to offer free Exchange support (in Windows you have to buy Outlook). They also didn’t slouch on the features available.
- Syncing Notes, Tasks, and mail.
- Folders included in Mail interface.
- Free/busy support in iCal.
- Room booking support in iCal.
- Searching the GAL from Address Book.
- Includes contact groups.
There has always been Microsoft Entourage, but only this year did they beta Entourage connecting with Exchange 2007 web services which is the recommended method over MAPI. Most likely Apple will beat Microsoft in building the first client that connects solely through Exchange web services (which is why 2003 won’t be supported in Snow Leopard). On top of that the new iPhone 3GS will also support data encryption which is apparently an enterprise request.
When you add on the fact that both Outlook Live (the successor to Outlook Web Access) and SharePoint 2010 will support browsers other than Internet Explorer you now have (almost) complete platform independence with your line of business applications. For everything else you can use Boot Camp free in the Mac OS or use VMWare Fusion or Parallels. It is exciting to see great technologies such as Exchange, SharePoint, and Apple OS work seamlessly together.