What appears to be a conscious and planned effort by Apple to go after the key advantages of Microsoftis Exchange Server with its own Calendar Server in Leopard was outlined in a well-researched article by Daniel Dilger at Roughly Drafted on Wednesday.
For a long time, a barrier to Appleis entry in the enterprise has been Microsoftis all encompassing Exchange Server that is the heart of major businesses who have embraced Microsoft. It handles e-mail*, calendaring, and task management. It can even integrate with a PBX and manage voice-mails. It checks so many corporate requirements boxes that the allure is almost irrestible for IT managers.
Mr. Dilgeris introductory article explained what Apple has done in the past, the current strategy for attacking a Microsoft system with its cryptic and ever-changing MAPI protocol, and how Apple plans to do an end run by putting various software pieces in place that, as a whole, can begin to compete with the Exchange Server.
Apple is well-known for this approach. Architecture is put into place that supports the corporate strategy. Then, components are test marketed and refined. As each component is added, no one seems to notice until Apple has quietly developed a very robust and powerful system. This is what appears to be happening with Appleis Calendar Server.
* Exchange supports the IMAP e-mail protocol but, in this reporteris experience, IT Managers are manipulated into turning that feature off, thereby excluding their local Macintosh (if any) clients.