If you don’t have an Exchange account, you’ll find there is no calendar sync available for syncing your calendar events to iCal or iPhone. This feature is coming in an update. Before you ask, no date has been announced. Your choices are to 1) wait before upgrading, 2) upgrade and use Entourage for email, 3) use iCal for your default calendar until the update or 4) move to Apple Mail.
Andy Ruff, Lead Program Manager for Outlook explained why calendar sync was delayed on the Outlook forum.
—— Forwarded Message
From: Andy Ruff <EMAIL>
Date: Thu, 4 Nov 2010 09:17:13 -0700
Subject: Re: Outlook sync with iPhone?
I’m the Lead Program Manager for Outlook and the decision to delay calendar sync falls directly under me. I believe it was the right call and I’ll explain why. It wasn’t a decision made lightly. Hopefully the post below gives you some insight into how these kinds of decisions are made.
A bit of history–Entourage’s support for Sync Services was very unreliable. You can look on the forums here and see a long history of calendars gone empty, meetings moved around, and reminders firing sporadically. Some of this is due the fact that Entourage was the first real adopter of Sync Services and it was a technology, at that time (Tiger), that really wasn’t quite as capable as sold. In Leopard, it was significantly revised but Entourage could not take advantage of the change since it’s base OS was Tiger.
When the Entourage Sync Services feature was built, we did all items at one time. No one had done a sync services client like us before and this seemed to make sense, only after several months working on the feature, the team realized it was far more complicated than expected. We plowed through still and shipped it with decent results (Office 2004 11.2). Then came OS changes, new account types in iCal/Address Book, and a slew of other regular issues that we could only react to–each one of these making Sync Services less reliable for you to use. It simply wasn’t a good trajectory for a feature to be on.
As we built this feature in Outlook, we faced some issues. One, Outlook is a v1 product which, for the scale of the product, is a massive undertaking. To help ease parts of this, we did pull in components from Entourage that made sense but in many cases we didn’t think that made sense–the quality wasn’t there and it wasn’t code that would work well with Cocoa. There were a lot of smart people working very hard on Outlook–simply, it’s not easy to build a major new v1 product.
For Sync Services, we were absolutely driven by one rule: Outlook must be extremely high quality. No data loss, no empty folders, no performance lags. We were determined that we will not recreate the headaches in the Entourage Sync Services solution.
We looked back at the Entourage experience and determined things could be done much better if 1) we used our deeper understanding of the Sync Services system to make a better design and 2) we took a phased approach, fully finishing out the sync of one item type before moving onto another. #2 is important for accomplishing #1. By phasing with items, we could flesh through the sync architecture and make sure that our design was really solid before moving onto the next item type.
Knowing that this is the approach we were going to take, we then tried to figure out which item type should come first. From the engineering side, calendar is more complex than contacts and notes is by far the easiest. However, we surveyed a random set of several thousand Entourage users to understand what customers use. The data showed that a large number had tried Sync Services and been burned by it. Of those that had used the feature, a majority synced contacts (the rank was: contacts, calendar, tasks, notes–with very few people using notes).
With those two things in mind, we decided to start with contacts (highest customer win and moderate engineering win). I believe we delivered well on that promise, you’ll see a much more robust, speedy, and reliable sync than Entourage. It also has nicer functionality such as contact image sync, mapping of categories to groups, and no longer this confusion over merge vs. replace during sync.
However, this wasn’t a small task and it was determined that delivering calendar support just wasn’t going to make the project deadline. Our options at that point are:
1) delay all of Office (doesn’t work… the % of overall Office users who use calendar sync is really tiny, while some of you are unhappy, delaying all of Office makes a whole lot more people unhappy),
2) move a bunch of engineers over to the Sync Services project. This doesn’t work because you hit a point when developing software where adding more developers doesn’t make things go faster, it actually goes slower (the Mythical Man Month is what it’s typically called, diminishing returns if you studied economics.
3) ship contacts and continue work on the rest until we are ready to ship them in free updates. This means you have the best engineering focus on the work and you can get things done at a high level of quality.
We went with #3. We’ve tried to be upfront about this with posts on the blogs, sharing openly with all product reviewers, and in our sales training. On launch day, I spent the day training Apple store folks about Outlook and my top concern for Entourage users was those who use calendar sync may want to wait to upgrade until we ship the update.
So it’s your choice–if calendar sync is really important to you, you have the following options:
1) Use another product – up to you, but I’m convinced that Outlook provides the best integrated solution on the Mac
2) Wait for the update to upgrade – don’t buy the product until we upgrade.
3) Go ahead and upgrade and wait on Outlook — you can use Entourage 2008 but Word, PowerPoint, and Excel 2011. It’s a fine combo and I believe the benefits of those products alone is a good upgrade. If you have Outlook there, when the update comes, you’ll get it for free and can switch over.
Your choice. Hopefully you can understand this decision better now.
—— End of Forwarded Message