Microsoft recently shipped Office 2009 Business Edition (US $400 or $240 upgrade) to replace the previous standard edition and Special Media Edition. The new bundle includes both the standard Entourage 2008 and Entourage 2008 Web Services Edition (WSE), which Microsoft released last month by itself. Entourage WSE offer greater compatibility with Exchange Server as well as faster communications, but requires Exchange Server 2007 Service Pack 1 Rollup 4 or later--it won't work with earlier versions of Exchange. Exchange WSE is also available separately as a a free upgrade to Entourage 12.1.1.
Entourage 2008 WSE has more of the functionality of Outlook for Windows than previous Entourage versions, and has more advanced Exchange functionality than Snow Leopard's built-in Exchange support. Entourage 2008 WSE can now sync Tasks, Notes and Categories with Exchange Server, as Outlook users can. Another Outlook feature in Entourage WSE is the ability to use attachments in Entourage for Exchange-based calendar events.
Microsoft said that the Beta also provides faster email and calendaring, and in accepting meeting requests. Microsoft has previously told us that use of Exchange Web Services makes fewer transactions over the network. Remote users also don't need to be connected to a virtual private network to resolve names when addressing email or a meeting invitation; Resolving against the Global Address List now uses HTTP and Entourage Web Services.
With Entourage WSE, Microsoft dropped the use of used WebDAV to communicate with Exchange Server, replacing it with Exchange Web Services, which is only available in Exchange Server 2007.
Entourage WSE's beefier Exchange features than Snow Leopard
Apple also added Exchange Web Services to Mac OS X 10.6 to enable Address book, iCal, and Mail to act as an Exchange 2007 client. Address Book displays a list of Exchange users and groups from the global address lists (GALs) next to personal contacts. Another way to schedule a meeting is to drag an Exchange contact folder from Address Book to iCal.
You can schedule and accept meetings in iCal as well as check the availability of people and rooms. In a new iCal event, users can go to the Location field and search the GAL for a meeting room. If the time slot is taken, iCal will search Exchange for the next available time and propose it. iCal users can also send and receive invitations via email as .ics attachments.
In Mail, users can do a Spotlight search on Exchange data, and accept or decline meeting invitation. Mail also lets users use Mac OS X QuickLook to preview Office documents that are attachments to email messages -- even if the user doesn't have Office installed on the Mac.
However, there are some more advanced features that Entourage 2008 WSE provides that Snow Leopard doesn't, which makes Entourage 2008 WSE more on parity with Outlook than is Snow Leopard. For instance, Snow Leopard's Address Book cannot create public folders and shared contacts; it can only use them. While iCal can search GALs, Entourage WSE can browser them. And, Snow Leopard does not support category syncing.
In Active Directory environments, Entourage 2008 WSE uses kerberos authentication to support single sign-on, so that a separate login to Exchange isn't necessary. Snow Leopard doesn't support kerberos/single sign-on for Exchange.
More Business Edition bits
In addition to Entourage 2008 WSE, Office 2008 Business Edition includes a few other features that are not included in the Home & Student edition. Business Edition includes Document Connection for Mac for browsing documents on SharePoint Products and Technologies and Microsoft Office Live Workspace. It also includes over 200 business-related templates and clip art, and some free training from lynda.com.
If you've tried Entourage 2008 WSE
what you think of it.