Inside Mac OS X Snow Leopard: Exchange Support

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
Windows Enthusiasts like to spin Apple's support for Exchange on the iPhone and in Snow Leopard as endorsement of Microsoft in the server space. From another angle, Apple is reducing its dependance upon Microsoft's client software, weakening Microsoft's ability to hold back and dumb down its Mac offerings at Apple's expense.



More importantly, Apple is providing its users with additional options that benefit both Mac users and the open source community. Here's how, the fourth in this series looking closer at some of Snow Leopard's well-known, but often misrepresented or misunderstood features.



Introducing Snow Leopard's Exchange clients



Integrated support for Exchange beginning with last year's iPhone 2.0 means Apple's mobile platform simply doesn't need an Outlook client. Now Snow Leopard can also get by without Entourage/Outlook, thanks to new and improved baked-in support for Exchange in Mail, Address Book and iCal.



Microsoft has responded with the announcement that it will now be delivering a real (but still scaled back) version of Outlook for the Mac again, after a decade of giving enterprise Mac users a third rate alternative in Entourage, but Microsoft's efforts to win back Mac clients may come too late to prevent the significant erosion of one of the primary reasons companies have to pay for Office on the Mac.



With iWork and the built in Exchange client support in Snow Leopard, many users will have no need to even consider Microsoft's Mac client offerings. It will be very difficult for Microsoft to convince Mac users that they need Office after those users discover suitable alternatives that cost significantly less.



Why the client is so important



With Snow Leopard and the iPhone each now providing their own client layer for accessing Exchange Server, Apple can now offer its users alternative access to other server products as well, from its own MobileMe and Snow Leopard Server offerings to web services from Google and Yahoo. This effectively turns Microsoft from a direct seller into a wholesaler that has to deal with Apple as a middleman retailer.



Ten years ago, Apple was in that position with its hardware sales. It tried hard to get Sears, CompUSA and other retailers to sell Macs for it, but those retailers also sold generic PCs. Because they made more money selling generic PCs, they had little incentive to aggressively market Macs. Apple's retail stores eventually solved this issue by allowing the company to reach users directly.



In the software business, Microsoft has long known the importance of owning the client end. It worked hard to displace Netscape's web browser in the late 90s, not because there was any money to be made in giving away browser clients, but because it knew that whoever controlled the client could set up proprietary demands for a specific web server. That's what Netscape had worked to do as it gave away its web browser in hopes that it could make money selling Netscape web servers; Microsoft first took control of the client with Internet Explorer and then began tying its IE client to its own IIS on the server side with features that gave companies reasons to buy all of their server software from Microsoft.



As Apple takes over the client end of Exchange, it similarly gains market leverage. First and foremost, the move allows Apple to improve the Exchange experience of Mac users so that business users have no reason not to buy Macs. Secondly, it gives Apple a client audience to market its own server solutions, including MobileMe to individual users and Snow Leopard Server to organizations. In concert with providing Exchange Server support, Apple is also delivering integrated support for its own Exchange alternatives in both MobileMe and with Snow Leopard Server's improved Dovecot email services, Address Book Server, iCal Server, the new Mobile Access secure gateway, and its included Push Notification Server.



Two Birds, One Stone



Apple's support for Exchange and its promotion of its own Exchange alternatives are two sides of the same coin, in the sense that they use the same technologies. Apple built its original support for Exchange using WebDAV, the open specification that Microsoft supports on Exchange Server as a way to deliver messages to mobile clients.



However, Microsoft has since moved away from supporting the open WebDAV specification, and now advocates the use of its own proprietary Exchange Web Services protocol using SOAP and XML to accomplish things that aren't possible using WebDAV alone.



In contrast, Apple's strategy for providing messaging services in Mac OS X Server has been to work with the open community in extending WebDAV. This began with CalDAV, a calendaring extension to WebDAV implemented in Leopard Server's iCal Server, and continues with CardDAV, a similarly open contact sharing extension for WebDAV.



In order to keep up with Microsoft's changing client strategy, Apple has pursued multiple efforts to deliver Exchange support for its clients. For the iPhone, Apple licensed the rights to implement a compatible Exchange Active Sync conduit with Exchange; it did not license any Exchange Active Sync software from Microsoft. Apple owns both the iPhone and Snow Leopard software that talks to Exchange.



The client applications Apple has upgraded in Snow Leopard to connect to Exchange, including Mail, Address Book, and iCal, use Exchange Web Services to talk to Apple's own Snow Leopard Server applications. Because Microsoft only supports its new EWS API under Exchange 2007, Snow Leopard requires a modern version of Exchange. The iPhone's EAS works with older versions, including Exchange 2003.



Because Apple makes its money almost exclusively from selling hardware, it has opened up its own Snow Leopard Server applications, Address Book Server and iCal Server, as open source Darwin servers that can be compiled to run on Linux. That means Apple is essentially giving away both the client (to Mac users) and the servers (to the community) in order to encourage the use of open standards in messaging and collaboration. That giveaway is being done to help Apple sell Macs.



This effort to support everything from integrated client software owned by Apple makes Snow Leopard's support for Exchange of use to everyone, even if they don't use Exchange. The client work Apple has invested in making Macs Exchange-friendly also improves the features available via MobileMe, Snow Leopard Server, and even some other third party services such as those from Google and Yahoo.



Apple's App Store software model



If this seems like a familiar strategy, it's because Apple is doing something similar on the iPhone: creating a managed market for third party developers, as long as they support Apple's business as well. Apple's iPhone App Store goal is to support and assist small developers in producing high quality, good looking apps that are sold at low prices in high volume. This "managed market" strategy has worked much better than the "laissez faire" conventional third party Mac platform that developed on its own starting in the 80s, where developers set prices relatively high, piracy abounded, quality was unchecked, and the only force keeping software consistent and looking good was the taste of Mac software buyers.



Microsoft did a better job of supporting developers on its DOS and Windows platforms, but also required less of its developers, resulting in a mixed bag of third party PC software that is usually expensive, often buggy and hobbled with old legacy issues, and almost always inconsistent and inelegant. The Linux community, along with Google's new Android mobile platform, offer even less in terms of minimum standards and quality control, resulting in software that is often free but usually unfinished and typically inaccessible to anyone outside of dedicated tinkerers and hobbyists. While examples of fine open source client software exists, there is no available market driving this kind of development financially.



The success of the iPhone App Store has benefited both developers and users by establishing a competitive market based on meritocracy. Snow Leopard's support for Exchange, because it opens up equal access to alternative competition, similarly creates an iPhone-like market for desktop messaging services ranked by merit, not the vendor's current market position. This will provide Snow Leopard users with not just the ability to talk to corporate Exchange Servers, but also the ability to access Apple's own offerings and other third party services.



The next segment in this series looks at fifth feature of Snow Leopard that has often been misrepresented: its new malware protection and related security features.



Inside Mac OS X Snow Leopard: QuickTime X

Inside Mac OS X Snow Leopard: 64-bits

Inside Mac OS X Snow Leopard: GPU Optimization







Daniel Eran Dilger is the author of "Snow Leopard Server (Developer Reference)," a new book from Wiley available now for pre-order at a special price from Amazon.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 39
    Let's not forget the big one: Leaves PowerPC users out in the cold.
  • Reply 2 of 39
    Maybe it's just me, but I'm having a hard time understanding the connection between adding Exchange support to Snow Leopard and the iPhone Apps Store.



    And in terms of feature support in Apple's Exchange implementation is it actually equal to or exceeds that of Entourage, Entourage Web Services Edition or the upcoming Outlook for Mac? Apple's implementation probably includes the most commonly used features, but I'd expect there would still be room for Microsoft to sell a more comprehensive Mac client even if it is still not as feature complete as Outlook for Windows.



    Admittedly, WebDAV being open is good on it's own merits, but doesn't the WebDAV platform limit what Exchange features you are able to provide? Entourage has been using WebDAV and WebDAV has been pointed out as a limiting factor in providing Exchange parity. This is why Entourage is abandoning WebDAV for Exchange Web Services and the new Entourage client is already more robust with additional features being added for the next Outlook for Mac.
  • Reply 3 of 39
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Apple's support for Exchange and its promotion of its own Exchange alternatives are two sides of the same coin, in the sense that they use the same technologies. Apple built its support for Exchange using WebDAV, the open specification that Microsoft supports on Exchange Server as a way to deliver messages to mobile clients. Apple did not license Microsoft's Windows-only "Exchange Active Sync" software; it merely licensed the rights to implement a compatible EAS conduit with Exchange. Apple owns the Snow Leopard software that talks to Exchange.



    The client applications Apple has upgraded in Snow Leopard to connect to Exchange, including Mail, Address Book, and iCal, also use WebDAV to talk to Apple's own Snow Leopard Server applications.



    This is misleading and incorrect. Apple licensed ActiveSync (aka. ActiveStink @philschiller) to support Exchange on the iPhone. ActiveSync runs over HTTP and is the only protocol from Microsoft to support push.



    On Snow Leopard, Apple use the publicly-available Exchange Web Services. WebDAV was the protocol used with Exchange 2003/2007 by Exchange prior to the new Exchange Web Services client coming.



    So: Apple is NOT using WebDAV to talk to Exchange 2007/2010 but only to the older Exchange 2003.
  • Reply 4 of 39
    The write up is interesting, but disappointing, besides lacking accuracy. It would be more interesting to see a slightly (not heavily) technical discussion.

    I was very much looking forward to the Exchange support, only to be disappointed to learn that it does not work with my companies Exchange 2003 server. Obviously not Apple's fault that my company is slow to upgrade, but then many companies upgrade on a need base (which is why so many companies still have primarily XP...). So it would have been considerate towards many Apple users to support at least one additional version back, i.e. Exchange 2003. The way it is, Apple is actually helping MS to sell Exchange 2007 to companies that don't really need whatever additional features there are, only to get the Apple users to stop complaining...

    All in all, I am very disappointed with this aspect of Snow Leopard, which again, was the main reason I wanted to upgrade....
  • Reply 5 of 39
    olaola Posts: 1member
    So, if Apple really would like to help the odd supporter in MS dominant environments, they should add support for Exchange 2003. I did not do my homework, so it seems like I will still need to use bootcamp.



    Iphone works perfectly with Exchange 2003, which makes it really confusing.







    Quote:
    Originally Posted by applestockholder View Post


    The write up is interesting, but disappointing, besides lacking accuracy. It would be more interesting to see a slightly (not heavily) technical discussion.

    I was very much looking forward to the Exchange support, only to be disappointed to learn that it does not work with my companies Exchange 2003 server. Obviously not Apple's fault that my company is slow to upgrade, but then many companies upgrade on a need base (which is why so many companies still have primarily XP...). So it would have been considerate towards many Apple users to support at least one additional version back, i.e. Exchange 2003. The way it is, Apple is actually helping MS to sell Exchange 2007 to companies that don't really need whatever additional features there are, only to get the Apple users to stop complaining...

    All in all, I am very disappointed with this aspect of Snow Leopard, which again, was the main reason I wanted to upgrade....



  • Reply 6 of 39
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by karlg View Post


    This is misleading and incorrect. Apple licensed ActiveSync (aka. ActiveStink @philschiller) to support Exchange on the iPhone. ActiveSync runs over HTTP and is the only protocol from Microsoft to support push.



    On Snow Leopard, Apple use the publicly-available Exchange Web Services. WebDAV was the protocol used with Exchange 2003/2007 by Exchange prior to the new Exchange Web Services client coming.



    So: Apple is NOT using WebDAV to talk to Exchange 2007/2010 but only to the older Exchange 2003.



    I was about to post about that as well. Whoever wrote this article has now idea what he/she is talking about !!!



    WOW gg AppleInsider, another "technical" article that's mostly BS.



    Adi
  • Reply 7 of 39
    djsherlydjsherly Posts: 1,020member
    Where did the jingle pundits go?



    Quote:

    Apple did not license Microsoft's Windows-only "Exchange Active Sync" software; it merely licensed the rights to implement a compatible EAS conduit with Exchange. Apple owns the Snow Leopard software that talks to Exchange.



    under what terms was the license made? No point owning anything if you can't use it. The article claims a lot but delivers little.
  • Reply 8 of 39
    "Apple built its support for Exchange using WebDAV" - Exchange Web Services actually.

    "it merely licensed the rights to implement a compatible EAS conduit with Exchange" - Uhm, no.



    Wait wait wait... Daniel Eran Dilger wrote a book on Snow Leopard Server, but he thinks that Apple is using WebDAV to connect to Exchange?



    I wouldn't recommend purchasing anything he writes.
  • Reply 9 of 39
    Thanks AI for clearing this up for me, I had recently believed the misrepresented or misunderstood reviews and thought what Apple had done was built in support for a popular email server. When what they really did was licensed the use of Exchange to help promote other services from Yahoo, Google and Apple own Mobile Me. It's just obvious now you say it.



    And this obviously has something to do with the closed business model of the iPhone. Which of course is perfect and just what everyone wants. Why would anyone want the MS model where developers are free to develop in whatever language they want to use and design their programs as they see fit. It's obviously better for developers to be told how their apps should look, how they should be programmed and what their allowed to do. I mean we wouldn't want to give small developers to much freedom would we, otherwise they might think of something good that gets popular before Apple release the idea as there own, like every single thing they've added into OS X in the past few releases.
  • Reply 10 of 39
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Matthew Yohe View Post


    "Apple built its support for Exchange using WebDAV" - Exchange Web Services actually.

    "it merely licensed the rights to implement a compatible EAS conduit with Exchange" - Uhm, no.



    Wait wait wait... Daniel Eran Dilger wrote a book on Snow Leopard Server, but he thinks that Apple is using WebDAV to connect to Exchange?



    I wouldn't recommend purchasing anything he writes.



    Unless, of course, you are looking for a well-researched, factual, totally unbiased, analysis of the current political environment... Oh, wait...
  • Reply 11 of 39
    brucepbrucep Posts: 2,823member
    trolls abound tonight



    this dude wrote a book about all this

    i would guess he is correct in what he writes .

    apple is writing software which eases the use of our macs .

    go apple
  • Reply 12 of 39
    djsherlydjsherly Posts: 1,020member
    Dude you don't need to guess anything. Open your eyes and have a look for yourself.
  • Reply 13 of 39
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by brucep View Post


    trolls abound tonight



    this dude wrote a book about all this

    i would guess he is correct in what he writes .

    apple is writing software which eases the use of our macs .

    go apple



    Your guess is incorrect. A SOAP protocol called Exchange Web Services is what is being used.
  • Reply 14 of 39
    akacakac Posts: 511member
    His terminology *is* wrong. Exchange ActiveSync, WebDAV and EWS are very different technologies.



    Exchange ActiveSync is a push-capable sync protocol for Exchange using a very convoluted, high cost technology.

    WebDAV uses free protocols (i.e. no licensing) but has many limitations.

    EWS is the new Exchange 2007 Rollup 2 technology that replaces everything before it (minus EAS for push) that provides much better integration than WebDAV, but not as good as EAS.



    One major limitation of EAS is it was designed with Exchange functionality from 2003. EWS is designed with Exchange 2007/2010 tech, but it also eschews older tech and deprecated functionality like Public Folders.



    Entourage uses WebDAV today.

    Entourage EWS Edition uses EWS.

    Snow Leopard uses EWS.

    iPhone uses Exchange ActiveSync.
  • Reply 15 of 39
    al_bundyal_bundy Posts: 1,525member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by applestockholder View Post


    The write up is interesting, but disappointing, besides lacking accuracy. It would be more interesting to see a slightly (not heavily) technical discussion.

    I was very much looking forward to the Exchange support, only to be disappointed to learn that it does not work with my companies Exchange 2003 server. Obviously not Apple's fault that my company is slow to upgrade, but then many companies upgrade on a need base (which is why so many companies still have primarily XP...). So it would have been considerate towards many Apple users to support at least one additional version back, i.e. Exchange 2003. The way it is, Apple is actually helping MS to sell Exchange 2007 to companies that don't really need whatever additional features there are, only to get the Apple users to stop complaining...

    All in all, I am very disappointed with this aspect of Snow Leopard, which again, was the main reason I wanted to upgrade....





    it's not apple's fault. Exchange 2003 is 7 years old and about to enter extended support which means almost no new patches except emergency hotfixes. Exchange 2010 is coming out next year. and i bet MS had something to do with it to get people to upgrade
  • Reply 16 of 39
    al_bundyal_bundy Posts: 1,525member
    MS is the big winner. Apple's server offering is crap compared to HP and Dell. when everyone is using iphones for business email it is almost a guarantee they will use MS Exchange for the mail server. RIM is the big loser, not MS.
  • Reply 17 of 39
    Apple's support for Exchange in Snow Leopard is a joke. It completely lacks the ability to view shared calendars with other users on the server, which is one of the most fundamental functions of Exchange. Snow Leopard is really useless for the Exchange environment and I'm disappointed to be stuck continuing to use Entourage.
  • Reply 18 of 39
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by brucep View Post


    trolls abound tonight



    this dude wrote a book about all this

    i would guess he is correct in what he writes .

    apple is writing software which eases the use of our macs .

    go apple



    Do you believe every thing you read in a newspaper? A magazine? A blog? A book?



    Is it correct just because it is printed on paper?





    Here is another source of Snow Leopard information. Parts of it are more technical than this article. And, there are some inaccuracies (some things did not make it into the first release).



    http://arstechnica.com/apple/reviews...-os-x-10-6.ars



    Jump ahead to page 19 for a discussion of exchange.



    HTH
  • Reply 19 of 39
    The article doesn't mention that "Public Folders" are not supported as part of the Exchange support in SL. Public Folders are a widely used feature of Exchange for sharing calendars and contacts... many SL users who are excited about Exchange support are going to be quite disappointed to find out Public Folders aren't supported. To write an article on this topic and not mention it is also disappointing.
  • Reply 20 of 39
    It's so full of holes it couldn?t hold Steve's blood at this point.



    Do a little more research before making a statement as Bold as this.



    Pathetic Blog Posting at Best... Might make it on 9to5Mac.com. But Apple Insider Shouldn't degrade themselves to this type of information that can't be backed up by anyone but Microsoft that holds the license.



    Very Disappointing is the only thing I can say.
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