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The MacBU beta trifecta: Entourage Exchange Web Services, Messenger, and Document Collaboration Companion

The MacBU beta trifecta: Entourage Exchange Web Services, Messenger, and Document Collaboration Companion

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Just before the holidays, we announced that we're releasing a public beta of Messenger:Mac that includes AV support on the personal side. Yesterday, we completed our trifecta of MacBU betas: Entourage Exchange Web Services (EWS) and Document Collaboration Companion.

Last week, I mentioned that I've been dogfooding [redacted] for months. [redacted] referred to Entourage EWS. I've been living in it the second that our daily builds began to work against my Exchange server. The reason that I was chomping at the bit to switch to it is performance. For Entourage 2008 to connect to an Exchange server, it uses WebDAV for most things. (There's some things that use EWS, such as OOF.) When communicating via WebDAV, Entourage needs to send out up to six instructions. When communicating the same thing via EWS, it's one. Working with my Exchange 2007 server is faster. It also gives us access to more Exchange features than we could get via WebDAV, so Entourage now syncs better. It's faster, it's more reliable, and (oh yes!) my tasks, notes, and categories sync to Exchange. It's just fantastic. I've been using it for months, watching more and more Exchange features take shape. We're putting the finishing touches on the beta right now.

The final third of our beta trifecta will come in the form of the Document Collaboration Companion (DCC). DCC is a standalone app that better enables Mac users to work with documents stored in SharePoint and Office Live Workspaces. This app has been one of my main focus points lately, so I'm looking forward to it getting out into our users' hands. Oh, and DCC is totally Cocoa, which my inner (or maybe not-so-inner) Mac geek adores.

Those of you who attended my collaboration talk on Monday at our Power Tools session know that collaboration is near and dear to my heart. From my perspective, that's what all three of these betas are about, so I'm quite happy to see them getting close to being in your hands. Entourage EWS will be the first one to make it into your hands. If you're on an Exchange 2007 server, you should switch over to it as soon as humanly possible. (If you're on Exchange 2003 or earlier, you cannot use Entourage EWS. If you're using Entourage only with POP or IMAP, there's no reason for you to use the beta. We've only made changes to our back-end Exchange code.)

There's more talk about our announcements out there. Here's Macworld's article (including some quotes from our fearless leader), and here's the official press release.

Edit, 20 January 2008, 11:57am: The public beta for Entourage EWS is live now.

Edited on 17 August 2009: The final version of Entourage for Web Services is now available, so you should update!

  • Screen the beta of messenger? and when are avaible?

  • Marck - We're not making major UI changes to the next version of Messenger.  We don't have a date to share about when the beta will be available.  As I said in my previous post, we'll post more information about that beta when we can.

  • Ah ok thanks!! hope coming soon!! thanks anyway

  • No improvements with 2003?  Upgrading my two servers to 2007 will cost and that's a four letter word right now.

  • toonnyc - Exchange Web Services was added to Exchange in 2007.  You should continue to use Entourage 2008, since the upcoming Entourage EWS release will only have Exchange support for Ex2007 (unless you're connecting to your Exchange server via IMAP; our support for POP/IMAP is still unchanged).  For more details about our Exchange support roadmap, you should talk to your Microsoft account rep.

  • will the EWS be in Entourage 2010 (or whenever the new Office is released) or in an '08 ServicePack?

  • mat - We're not planning to add EWS to Entourage 2008.  Exchange users who are on Exchange 2003 should stay with Entourage 2008 (since Exchange Web Services was introduced in Ex2007) and should not update to Entourage EWS -- Entourage EWS only uses EWS to talk to Exchange, so it won't work at all with Ex2003.  We will continue to use EWS in future releases of Entourage.  

  • How different was working in the booth this year?

  • This is definitely good news. Looking forward to testing the beta - we have many users waiting for this upgrade as they have been struggling with the problems created by WebDAV.  No mention was made about the impact on the connection problems with public folders. Accessing public folder is painfully slow and when moving e-mails from your inbox to a public folder the date is changed. Will these 2 problems be fixed when moving to EWS?


  • Mac users on Exchange servers, rejoice! Entourage EWS is available today!

  • When will Entourage have the option to work in online only mode like Outlook, where all data is kept on the server, instead of having to cache everything to the user's hard drive?  I find it ridiculous that when accessing other people's shared calendars and contacts using Entourage, those people's data is also cached to my hard drive.

    Will Entourage users be able to access and edit server-based rules?

  • Scotty - Server-based rules aren't a part of the EWS beta that we released today, nor is an online-only mode.  

  • Will server-based rules and online only mode ever be implemented in Entourage?

  • Scotty - I can't comment on features that aren't a part of the beta.  You should ensure that your Microsoft account rep is aware of your company's needs for these features in Entourage.

  • I refuse to believe that I am the only person who is tired of all the endless caching done by Entourage when connecting to an Exchange server.  In January 2008, Australian Personal Computer Magazine published an article "Office 2008 for Mac fails to deliver full Exchange support" in which they interviewed the MacBU at Macworld:


    It was both funny and disturbing to read the interviewer ask about specific features, only to have the MacBU repeatedly answer "No" to each question.

    In order to provide a better understanding of the MacBU's role at Microsoft, perhaps you could answer the following questions openly and honestly:

    In his October 2008 interview with PC Magazine, what did Steve Balmer mean when he said that Macs "don’t really get full Microsoft Office"?

    Has the MacBU been given a directive, either express or implied, that Mac versions of Microsoft Office or Exchange email clients should have less than full functionality compared to the Windows versions?  Or that the Mac versions should lack certain functionality that users expect to see in the Windows versions?

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