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Exchange logoExchange is the brand name of Microsoft’s enterprise E-mail messaging server product. It supports standard POP and IMAP accounts as well as Exchange accounts.

Exchange accounts differ in that they synchronize mail, calendars and contacts via one protocol. Other mail systems may support these different services but usually they do so via a collection of protocols such as IMAP, CalDAV and LDAP.

Versions and support

Common versions of Exchange Server in use today are Exchange Server 2003, 2007 and 2010. Each version supports slightly different protocols and Mac Exchange clients.

Version and Support information
Exchange Server 2003 Exchange Server 2007 Exchange Server 2010
WebDAV De-emphasized
Exchange Web Services
Entourage 2004
Entourage 2008
Entourage, Web Services Edition
Outlook 2011
Public folders De-emphasized Optional
Offline Address Book (OAB) Outlook 2011 only Outlook 2011 only

WebDAV and Exchange Web Services

Both Entourage and Outlook for Mac connect to Exchange Server via HTTP protocols. Neither uses the MAPI protocol as does Outlook for Windows. Exchange Server 2003 and 2007 both support the WebDAV protocol. Exchange Server 2007 and 2010 both support the Exchange Web Services (EWS) protocol.

Exchange Server 2007 is a transitional version of Exchange for Mac Exchange clients. It supports both WebDAV and EWS. Organizations that can transition from Exchange 2003 to 2007 to 2010 will minimize the upgrade impact to their Mac clients. It also de-emphasized several features, which means development has ceased although support has not. De-emphasized features are usually incorporated into newer protocols or systems.

De-empahasized items in Exchange Server 2007 include MAPI for Outlook for Windows, WebDAV and public folders. MAPI and WebDAV are replaced by EWS and public folders is replaced by SharePoint Server.

EWS makes possible new features such as AutoDiscover and the Offline Address Book (OAB).


AutoDiscover plays two  major roles. It enables a Mac Exchange client to use an E-mail address to auto-configure itself with the user and server information needed for connecting to Exchange. It also keeps a Mac Exchange client connected to its Exchange accounts should the mailbox of the user move between servers or the computer move between locations, such as a company network and home network.

Additionally, the AutoDiscover services provides access to the OAB support , Out-of-Office information and Free/Busy information.

A properly configured DNS infrastructure is crucial to the AutoDiscover service. Microsoft provides the Remote Connectivity Analyzer, which allows an Exchange administrator to test external EWS connectivity to his servers.

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