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Steve's Scribbles...

Outlook for the MacOS?

..and oh yes, when's Office 97 coming out, anyway?

Monday, June 30, 1997

Today, Computer Reseller News has a marginally-informative update on the state of Microsoft Office 97 for Mac; see their article Where's Mac Office?. They note the continuing delays despite the promises by Microsoft officials that "the Macintosh version would ship within months of the Windows 95 offering."

The article mentions that Outlook Express will be included; the question is, how much of Outlook 97's functionality does Outlook Express contain? The article says that Outlook Express is the "mail-client option that will be bundled with IE 4.0"... does that mean the calendar, contact & task-list functions of Outlook 97 won't be included? And if so, what good is Outlook Express? We have plenty of MacOS mail clients already.

Here in the Olin School of Business we're standardizing on Outlook for calendar, task & contact management, and since the Macs don't have a bloody Outlook client, we're having to (get this) buy VirtualPC to run Windows 95 on the Macs so they can run Outlook 97 inside VirtualPC just to get access to the calendars & task lists of their fellow's a bit of a Rube Goldberg construction that would be unnecessary if Microsoft would just get it together and write a full-featured Outlook client for the Mac.

(Note: by "full-featured", what I mean is "can read, edit, add and delete items in Outlook-based calendars, task lists, contact-management lists and e-mail boxes residing on an NT server." I do not mean "has an intrusive cutesy animated helper, animated menus, tearable/movable toolbars and a file-system viewer like Outlook 97 for Windows does").

The absence of Outlook 97 for the MacOS has endangered the use of Macs in our environment. It's bound to further endanger the presence of Macs in other business/corporate environments where Outlook is becoming a standard.

Does Microsoft's failure to write such a client (combined with the too-long delay in producing the rest of Office 97 for the Mac) constitute anti-competitive behavior? I can only speak from my experience, but in our school it took the promised imminent arrival of Connectix's VirtualPC to keep Macs on several of our staff's desks...

Does anybody out there know which Microsoft entity one can lobby for a full-featured MacOS Outlook client? I've looked around on Microsoft's web site, filled out a feedback form here and there, and received no response. Ideas?

As always, for more news, pointers & commentary, see Steve Bogart's home page.

Handy Official Disclaimer: Steve's Scribbles are my own personal work and not meant to be taken as official Olin School of Business pronouncements. They are, however, © Steve Bogart (original publication date is at the top of each Scribble).
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