Friday, December 24, 2010

Outlook 2011 Another dead end for workforce productivity.

For anyone hoping to use use Outlook on Mac, be warned. Sync does not exist unless you have an account on an Exchange server. Furthermore, they actually went so far as to remove sync functions for calendars that previously worked on mobile devices. 

As of the date of this article,  Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 for all intents and purposes does not sync to anything but Exchange accounts.

According to one thread, It appears that Microsoft’s own licensing constraints have barred developers from writing apps to connect to Outlook2011 for Mac, we have to wonder what fool is driving the bus over at Microsoft’s Mac Business Unit?

If you would like to read their excuses, Microsoft does provide a verbose and lengthy page full of excuses why they hyped a product, but left out a core functional component that very many users find critical to productivity. At least this time around, Microsoft tried to offer an explanation for their inept and mysterious ways. 

Why in the world, when releasing a new Outlook would anybody every want to sync to a mobile device from Outlook without using Exchange? *Sarcasm* 

Symbian, IPhone, Android, Windows Mobile (wow? really?), and Blackberry will not sync except in some cases to the contacts database. Tasks, Calendars, and Notes do not sync to any device or SaaS/Cloud Service like Gmail. 

iPhone users appear to be out of luck.  Michael Cook in Austraila commented, "I would have preferred that Microsoft had placed a large ORANGE sticker on the rather empty box say "Warning: This product will cripple your calendar synchronisation process with your iPhone."

Symbian and even Windows Mobile will not sync to Outlook 2011. 

Specifically, according to Microsoft,  Calendars, Notes, and Tasks are not synced. No word on whether Categories are synced, but given the other lacking functionality, it is safe to assume they skipped the sync of categories as well.

If you wish to sync a Blackberry, it only allows sync between Contacts and you have to PURCHASE 3rd party software from PocketMac.  “It’s here – BlackBerry owners can now synchronize data from Outlook 2011 to almost any model of BlackBerry,” Tim Goggin, VP of Sales & Marketing said. 

Don't believe the hype. A related article states, "Be advised that synching capabilities are limited to only contacts because Microsoft has restricted which items software developers can access. Additional syncing capabilities such as calendars, tasks and notes have been promised to arrive soon. How soon? We do not know. Hopefully these details will be disclosed soon."

At least this time, we had the foresight to not install the software before doing a lot of research. 
Who in their right mind perpetrates this on the users? Yet, Microsoft has never been known to deliver robust products with streamlined code base that will not bloat your system with each new update, updates which are required practically every other week to ward off bugs that Microsoft shipped as Gold release software.
The sad truth is that most users never know the difference since they do not usually have the savvy to try new and alternative software. And why should they be expected to have this savvy as users? Their job is not being an IT guru. They have other work they were hired to perform, and are usually stuck drumming their fingers on their desk while the Blue Wheel of Death spins around and around just perform basic tasks such as looking up a file on the hard drive. Typical users just accept a sluggish and insecure user environment as the norm and wonder why they can't get more done in a work day.
So as long as Microsoft is able to woo the CIO's of the world, we are all stuck in the mud with slick looking software that simply does not perform very well and costs a bundle to license and manage all those licenses.
Since the US Corporate workplace still turns on Microsoft's substandard productivity software and self-employed people must use mobile devices with sync capabilities to remain productive and responsive to their clients, no wonder we are in a recession.