MacBook Air–Not all Outlooks are created equal

imageAfter my initial setup of my wife’s MacBook Air, I installed Office for Mac 2011, which included Outlook. Installation was uneventful. However, in Outlook, I still cannot access her college email.

For Outlook for Mac 2011 to access an Exchange Server, the prerequisites for that server are Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Service Pack 1 with Update Rollup 4 (KB952580) or later. However, the college’s Exchange Server version is still at 2003, and (probably for security reasons) doesn’t support IMAP. So it’s a no go.

There are possible alternatives. Entourage 2004 (and probably 2008) may work. But who wants to use multiple email clients? So Web mail (Outlook Web Access) is the alternative.

My point is not to criticize the college. Lots of Exchange Server installations still are at 2003, for many reasons. The college has its reasons, including compatibility with elsewhere in the District, budget issues, etc.

Instead, my point is that my Outlook 2010 for Windows has no problem accessing the college’s Exchange Server notwithstanding its 2003 version. So not all Outlooks are created equal.

I understand the technical reasons for the difference. OS X does not include backward compatibility for the API’s used in Exchange Server 2003, whereas Windows does. Still, I find Outlook for Mac 2011’s lack of support for Exchange Server 2003 puzzling. After all, my iPad has no problem accessing the college’s Exchange Server. Why can iOS do this, but OS X can’t (or won’t)?

Next is virtualization, so my wife can run Visual Studio 2010. VS 2010 is the software used in all of the classes she teaches. However, VS 2010 runs only under Windows; there’s no OS X version. She could use other OS X compatible software for her C++ classes. However, for her C# class, she needs to be running under Windows because C# (unlike unmanaged C++) requires the .NET Framework. Anyway, virtualization likely will be the next post in this series.

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