MobileMe – ‘Exchange for the rest of us’ (except Entourage users?)


Apple’s WWDC has been getting a huge amount of coverage today with journalists falling over themselves tosteve-jobs be the first to break the news of Apple’s latest endeavours. I’ve started thinking that if I didn’t shave for a few days and went outside wearing jeans, a turtle-neck sweater and round spectacles that I’d have a pack of hungry Mac newshounds in tow!

Still, I’ll admit that as someone who has been experimenting with the different ways of keeping multiple calendars in sync, the MobileMe announcement tweaked my interest just a little. You see, courtesy of Calgoo Connect to sync my iCal (and thus Entourage) with Google calendar, I have just managed to put the final link in place to keep my calendars in Lotus Notes, Outlook 2007, my Windows Mobile Smartphone and Entourage 2008 in step. It’s not an elegant solution, requiring as it does – three separate pieces of software (CompanionLink, Google Calendar Sync and Calgoo Connect) to join the various calendars together. It’s also fair to say that there’s a knack to getting it all working which involves various false starts and a little tolerance when it comes to getting duplicate entries popping up. This is where MobileMe sounded promising in that you only have to deal with connecting software from one company – Apple, rather than three separate connectors from three different suppliers.

no-entourageSo does MobileMe promise to sweep away my collection of assorted calendar sync’ing software? Sadly no. The first exception seems to be Lotus Notes as there’s no sign of a connector to allow it to sync with what Apple now refers to as ‘The Cloud’ (that’ll be Apple’s equivalent to the Exchange server I guess). So what else is missing? Yes you guessed it, it’s Microsoft’s unloved child… Entourage! I watched the MobileMe guided tour and there was no mention of Entourage being supported in all this new found calendar love, just the standard Mac applications (Mail.app, iCal and Contacts) as well as Outlook 2003 and 2007 on the PC.

Of course there’s always the automated sync feature that you can set up between Entourage 2008 and iCal, but it’s prone to errors when you start to extend the synchronization beyond your Mac, say to Google calendar as I’ve found out. Alas with two of my four calendars out in the cold I’ll have to stick with my current arrangements for now, although I’ll no doubt give MobileMe a go when it comes online, if only to look at this so called ‘beautiful’ interface. In the meantime I’ll be hoping that maybe the guys at CompanionLink and at Calgoo are eyeing up MobileMe as a new opportunity that might one day save me a headache or two. Then again I could buy myself an iPhone and ditch Lotus Notes in favour of using Outlook to access my Notes mail via POP3, although my company say they’ll disown me if I do!

Hmmm, maybe paying the mortgage is more important than havig a sexy new phone and a unified calendar?

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9 Responses

  1. If it works in Outlook 2003 and 2007, then surely the same set-up is available in Entourage…

  2. You’d like to think so but because Apple doesn’t have it’s own offering on the Windows platform it’s explicitly offering support for Outlook 2003/2007. On the Mac they’ve got Mail.app, iCal etc., and they specifically don’t mention Entourage at all in the Guided Tour. That leads me to believe that any support for Entourage will only be via iCal etc., using Entourage’s auto-sync feature, and that MobileMe won’t talk directly with Entourage itself.

    That solution might work or it might not which is why I plan to try it out when MobileMe comes on line. Of course it still doesn’t address the problem that Lotus Notes isn’t supported either đŸ˜¦

  3. Hi Robin,

    Thanks for being a CompanionLink user!

    An update: CompanionLink will introduce an iPhone connector for Lotus Notes. This will allow you to keep your LN data and the iPhone in sync, over-the-air.

    Cheers!

    -CLINK

  4. On the mobileme website, they give instructions for setting up mobileme in Entourage, so I think it’s safe to assume that it does support it.

    They probably fail to mention it because Mail, Address Book and iCal are far more popular amongst MacHeads and Entourage is largely considered a program one has to have if the work email is on Exchange.

  5. Can’t get itunes or mobileme (which should be called mobile-noone) to correctly color mulitiple calendars on ipod touch (and, yes, have tried both the incredibly absurd work-throughs from apple and those on the web, to include attempting to sync a single calendar at a time).

    Can’t get mobile-noone to sync back to Exchange server.

    Can’t get mobile-noone chat support (no one ever actually responds there, despite 25+ minute plus waits).

    Can’t see any logical reason to continue using mac.com — oh, oops, mobileme = mobile-noone.

    So, what former Microcrap vaporware programming team did Apple hire in order to screw up a fairly limited but at least functional online service that actually had syncing that worked?

  6. Help! No one will give me an answer! Does mobile me work with entourage or not? If so – where do I go to get information on how to set it up? I have an iphone and a new imac and no one at Apple will give me a straight answer. SO frustrating. I don’t want to pay for MM if it doesn’t work! UGH

  7. @Kristin – The short answer is ‘YES’ you can sync Entourage with your iPhone using MobileMe. There are one or two minor things, like Categories in Entourage don’t appear on the iPhone, but it’s a workable solution.

    I wrote a blog entry about my initial experiences with Entourage, MobileMe and the iPhone on September 4th, here – https://macbitz.wordpress.com/2008/09/04/syncing-entourage-2008-with-my-iphone-via-mobileme/

    Hope this helps.

  8. Hi there guys – I’ve synched with Entourage and the only problem that I find is that the iCal doesn’t sync. Mail and Address book does – but when I try and add in calendar items this doesn’t work. I have turned on the sync between iCal and the Entourage and it does create a category in iCal called Entourage but this still doesnt sync – I have to exit out of Entourage and iCal and go back in them before it will sync
    Maybe I have the sync set up wrong? anyone help?

  9. That is very important section. You are possibly that a good broker. Thanks.

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