Newsletter #507 Preview: Microsoft Continues to
Believe Changing Names Means Something

August 16th, 2009

Now consider that the email component of Office for the Mac, Entourage, is a direct descendant of the free version, Outlook Express. Without considering the source code itself, I expect that the changes were evolutionary until Microsoft changed their app to Universal to run naive on Intel-based Macs.

Now on the surface, Entourage seemed largely meant to serve as the Mac equivalent of Outlook, the email component of Office for Windows that’s also used as a contact manager, and communicates with Microsoft’s Exchange Server.

Alas, Microsoft gets the well-deserved rap of crippling its Mac products, at least when it doesn’t discontinue them. So there were always features in Outlook for Exchange that never seemed to become available on Entourage, though it got better over the years.

Now you’d think that the world’s largest software company, with thousands and thousands of skilled programmers, would figure how to make a Mac version of every nook and cranny of its Windows email software. In fact, I’m willing to suggest that any excuse they offer for not doing so is a load of nonsense. And, my friends, I find it difficult to believe that they couldn’t graft Visual Basic for Applications onto Office 2008.

Story continued in this week’s Tech Night Owl Newsletter.

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3 Responses to “Newsletter #507 Preview: Microsoft Continues to
Believe Changing Names Means Something”

  1. Andrew says:

    I remember Outlook Express for Mac, it was very different than the program by the same name for Windows, and was actually based on Claris Emailer, a great Mac application of the late 90s.

    There also was, for a time, Outlook for Mac, which was essentially the Windows version of the time, version 97 or 2000 I believe, ported to the Mac. It was a fully featured Exchange client because it was the same fully featured Exchange client that Windows users got.

    Entourage is actually a pretty great program and is my email and PIM application of choice. I use both Mac and Windows daily and spend a great deal of time working in both Entourage and Outlook, using the same Exchange server and Exchange account. Since I am on Exchange 2003 and not 2008 I don’t have to-dos on Entourage and won’t be able to try Apple’s native and for Exchange.

    I hope that the new Outlook Mac retains the look and feel of Entourage, because it is the look and feel that make it a Mac instead of a Windows program. The only real shortcoming today is my own fault for sticking with a 6-year-old version of Exchange, which I’ll likely upgrade next year.

    • Point of order: Yes, many of the original Claris Emailer developers went on to Microsoft to work on Outlook Express and then Entourage. But I do not recall Microsoft acquiring actual source code from Claris Emailer.

      As to Entourage: I actually like some of the things it does. But then it goes ahead and misbehaves in some obscure fashion and infuriates me yet again.


  2. Andrew says:

    Are you referring to IMAP? Entourage is a rather lousy IMAP client.

    I use Exchange for my work email and have 4 personal POP3 accounts, and Entourage handles them all quickly and efficiently, as does Outlook 2007 for Windows.

    Where I like Entourage better is in the look and feel, specifically I can open multiple Entourage windows displaying whatever I want, even two of the same. This is great in multiple monitor setups like I use, with one Entourage window showing email open on one monitor and another set to month view on another. When I’m juggling my calendar I can have one month view and another on day or week view, which makes it very easy to find and work with multiple items.

    Just as important is the ability to view more than one calendar in a full Window. Outlook for Windows allows multiple calendars to be displayed in a single window, which is nice on a laptop or other single monitor system, but wastes all of the benefits of multiple monitors and makes calendars very difficult to read in month view on multiple calendars.

    I find both to be excellent programs and for my calendar-dependant law office I can get all of my work done quickly with either one.

    I’m looking forward to Outlook for Mac and hope it to be much like Office 98 was, a near feature-port of the Windows version (Office 97, which was excellent on the Windows platform) while also like Office 98, retaining a very Mac-like look and feel. Time will tell

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