Outlook 2011 for Mac: Not Ready

As an avid Mac user for nearly twenty years, I’ve learned to play second fiddle to Microsoft products.  I started out using Eudora Light for my mail client in the 90’s.  Eventually Microsoft released Entourage.  Second-rate.  Finally with the release of OSX, we got Mail.app, iCal, and Address Book.  Solid 1.0 releases.  However, still behind where our Windows counterparts had been living for years already.  When Apple updated the apps in 10.6 to provide native Exchange support, I was in seventh heaven.  Finally I had what I needed.  My personal calendar and work calendars converged.  One live in Google.  One in Exchange.  Both appearing and managed on multiple Macs and my iPhone.  A nearly 15-year journey had come to an end.

Then Microsoft updated MS Office

I’m not going to comment on Word, Excel, and Powerpoint (Messenger doesn’t even deserve comments) for this post.  I’m focusing in Outlook.  The pre-buzz with Outlook was very positive.  A native mail client with virtually all of the features in the Windows version.  Entourage was dead.  Outlook would be the answer.  However, after using Outlook for two days, I’m already switching back.

Adventures in Missing the Point

I don’t understand how Microsoft still seems isolated from the real world.  We are busy people.  We live pretty complex lives.  We need help to keep them organized.  Many of us use Google services to organize our personal life.  And Google services are trending up for the business world as well.  This could not and should not have been ignored.  According to Microsoft, they are working on CalDAV integration, but didn’t have it ready for the first release.  For most Mac users, this was a huge mistake.  Specifically for Google Apps organizations.

Outlook 2011 has no CalDAV support. There are reasons for leaving it out of the first release (this version was heavily focused on Exchange), I hope future updates add CalDAV support—Outlook 2011 is entirely too useful to be solely bound to Exchange calendaring. You can use .ics files, but it’s not the same.  John Welsh, Macworld | Read Article

Our organization decided to use Microsoft BPOS and have been generally pleased with the transition.  Our Windows users have not experienced any ill effects.  The Mac experience has been adequate.  Mail.app still chokes sometimes and disconnects from the service with a password prompt.  This bug still needs to be addressed.  However, I use one mail app to integrate Gmail and Exchange.   One calendar app.  One contacts app.  Mail.app, iCal, and Address Book.  For me, I’d rather have three apps which pull all of my information rather than separating my work life and personal life.


Setting up Outlook was drop-dead easy.  Accounts were migrated over simply and quickly.  Outlook is beautiful.  Alert sounds are pleasant.  It interacts flawlessly with MSBPOS.  I was hopeful.  Anticipating that maybe after 20 years, I may have made the jump to Outlook and integrate.  I’m afraid at this point in the game, I’ve already taken it out of my dock.  Until Outlook can reliably handle CalDAV, it will have to sit on the back shelf and wait until it’s matured.

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