In fact, even Microsoft has finally admitted that Entourage is junk, saying it will dump the program in favor of a Mac version of Outlook when Office 2010 ships. In the meantime, Microsoft's reworked version of Entourage, called the Web Services Edition, has an embarrassing bug list -- since removed from Microsoft's site -- that doesn't bode well for the future Mac Outlook.
So Snow Leopard's native Exchange 2007 support promises to allow both IT and users to get rid of the balky, buggy, not-quite-compatible Entourage in favor of Apple's snappy, better-designed collaboration apps. Except that Apple stopped short of implementing two capabilities in the now-Exchange-savvy Mail that will cause many organizations to stick with Entourage -- thus making the native Exchange support irrelevant.
One miss is that Mail has no ability to set up an away message in Exchange, as Entourage 2008 can. So Mac users must use Webmail to set up away notices -- a silly inconvenience.
[ Get all the details on the new Mac OS X in the "Mac OS X Snow Leopard Bible," by InfoWorld's Galen Gruman and Macworld U.K.'s Mark Hattersley. ]
The other miss is that Mail doesn't support Exchange's delegation feature, so users can't access others' mailboxes. That feature is commonly used by admin and support staff, for example, to monitor their boss's e-mail or a general help mailbox. There's no work-around to this issue. What's particularly galling is that iCal does have delegation capability -- so admins can manage their boss's calendar, for example. Why Apple didn't implement delegation in Mail as well is a mystery.
Cisco VPN feature not suited for enterprisewide management
There's a similar "stopped too short" issue with Snow Leopard's support for Cisco VPNs: You can't import PCF files, so IT must manually enter the shared credentials on each Mac -- and manually update each Mac when those change. You can't send employees an e-mail with the revised PCF file and let users import it, as you can with the Cisco VPN client software. So most businesses will end up sticking with the separate Cisco VPN client instead of taking advantage of the one built into Snow Leopard. (Those that do are advised to use the most current version of the Cisco VPN client; in my testing, the 4.9.01.0180 version worked, but some earlier 4.9 versions did not.)
For a company that practically invented seamless user experience and plug-and-play, these "stopped too short" issues are unfathomable and unnecessary. Here's hoping for a quick OS update. My fear, though, is that Apple will ignore the issue; after all, the iPhone OS still can't support .ics calendar invitation files or Cisco VPN PCF files a year after the iPhone OS adopted the same business technologies now part of Snow Leopard.
Flight detection not so savvy
Fortunately, there are not a lot of other flaws in Snow Leopard's capabilities.
One fix I hope Apple makes is to its new Data Detector for airline flights. Data Detectors are agents that scan text in Mail, TextEdit, and other (usually Apple) applications for certain kinds of content, such as dates or phone numbers, and offer pop-up menus for that data to let you work with it. For example, if you hover your mouse over a date in Mail, the pop-up menu that appears lets you create a calendar appointment.