Mac Outlook 2011 & Exchange 2003

There are still a lot of questions and tweets on Mac’s Outlook 2011, Exchange 2003 and why that combination doesn’t work. I can only assume people overlooked the system requirement in the Apple store, which clearly states “Exchange support in Outlook 2011 requires connectivity to Microsoft Exchange 2007 SP1 RU4 or later”.

The reason for lack of support lies in the fact that Outlook 2011 connects to Exchange Server using what is called Exchange Web Services. These services were introduced with Exchange 2007 (and thus are also available in Exchange 2010). The result is that Office 2011 can’t synchronize information, like e-mail, contacts and calendar, with Exchange 2003.

On a side note, you could use Entourage 2008 which utilizes the WebDAV protocol. This is supported by Exchange 2003 as well as 2007, but was discontinued in Exchange 2010.

Is this bad? I think not. Apart from the requirement, which is clearly mentioned, Exchange 2003 is almost 8 years old now. Products evolve and mainstream support has already ended for Exchange 2003. Even if Exchange 2003 is running rock solid, organizations should be considering on what to do with their Exchange 2003 environments as part of the IT life cycle management process.

11 thoughts on “Mac Outlook 2011 & Exchange 2003

    • what a lame justification … who cares about upgrades .. we need a solution .. Outlook Should Support Existing Infrastructure. Why Outlook 2007 supports Exchange 2003?


      • Should? Technology evolves and products adapt new technologies and standards. Why did you start using Outlook 2011 in the first place? You could also have used the N-1 version.


        • Outlook 2010 PC version also supports Exchange 2003. I suspect people move immediately to Outlook 2011 because they HATE Entourage! The if the fricking Droid AND the iPhone/Pad can, have, and DO support Exchange 2003,7, and 10… you think that maybe… just MAYBE, M$ could manage to do it, too? Is that really so much to ask?

          Exchange 2003 is rock solid and does 90% of what people want from an e-mail system… M$ is just trying to manufacture a “business need” by failing to continue to support it. This is not a tech issue, it’s a profit issue – one that is designed to force upgrades for questionable “improvements” in functionality where one isn’t needed or (more likely) drive companies into the arms of the “cloud” based offerings which will produce a steady, recurring revenue stream.

          Screw that.

          A copy of parallels, a copy of Windows 7, and a copy of Outlook 2010 is much, MUCH cheaper way to get full blown Outlook on a Mac than upgrading the Exchange infrastructure just to support a few people who like all-aluminium hardware.


          • I don’t feel like having to defend product teams, but here goes:
            Though I agree that there seems to be a misalignment between the PC and the Mac client products, don’t underestimate the costs involved in keeping backwards-compatibility and supporting it in a product while the rest of the world moves on. Also, nobody forces you to upgrade and nobody forces you to move towards the cloud. It’s a matter of benefits/requirements/costs thing, which shouldn’t be something new. Then again, you seem to neglect the cost impact of adding virtualization software and W7 and OL2010 software/licenses for a VM running on a MacOS. You’re 1 person; what does it cost for 10? 100? 1000?
            PS: You can still use IMAP.


  1. As a non-tech person that is trying to migrate from pc to mac, I got caught on this. I really don’t care about the hows and whys of it not working but need a solution. Upgrading the exchange software isn’t an option, as my company isn’t too sympathetic. But I’m thinking about using an outside mail service, like godaddy, as they use exchange 2010. Redirect my existing email address to the new godaddy one.

    Think this would work?


  2. Using a Exchange 2007SP1RU4/2010 hoster will work, if they publish exchange properly. Looking at the GoDaddy Hosted Exchange offering I think they do, but better ask than be sorry. Also keep in mind that some companies don’t allow (automatic) forwarding of internal e-mail to an internet (e.g. godaddy) target address.


  3. The thing I want to know is how can outlook 2010 work but not outlook 2011 (mac) work? I am sure both need the Exchange Web Services….


    • The reason for that is Outlook 2010 supports Exchange Web Services as well as Public Folders, where Public Folder support was dropped for Outlook 2011/Mac. Note that Outlook 2010 (PC) is a completely different product than Outlook 2011/Mac.


  4. Pingback: 2011, a short Retrospective « EighTwOne (821)

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