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Microsoft adds POP e-mail, better Mac support to its hosted business applications

Microsoft is rolling out a number of new feature additions to its Microsoft-hosted family of "Online" services, including POP e-mail compatibility and better support for Mac clients.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor on

Microsoft is rolling out a number of new feature additions to its Microsoft-hosted family of "Online" services, including POP e-mail compatibility and better support for Mac clients.

Microsoft's Online family currently includes Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Communications Online, Live Meeting and the Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS). All of these services are hosted by Microsoft (but not currently running on its Azure cloud operating system).

Microsoft is in the midst of rolling out the October update of Microsoft Online Services. The rollout should be complete and available to all Microsoft Online customers by the end of October, according to an October 14 blog post on the Microsoft Online Services Team Blog.

With the October Service Update, Exchange Online users get support for POP-based clients. Previously, Exchange Online supported only Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 and 2007, the Online Services blog post acknowledged.

This month's update also includes "several enhancements that will provide a more efficient communication and collaboration experience for organizations with Mac users," according to the post. These include a new single sign-in client for Mac OS users running Safari and the auto-configuration of Office for Mac applications. The update also adds support for Entourage 2008 Exchange Web Services (Microsoft's stop-gap solution until it replaces Entourage with Outlook in next year's Office for Mac release); Global Address List support for Entourage 2004 and 2008; SharePoint Online support for Document Connection for Mac; and improved Firefox and Safari support for "My Company Portal."

Microsoft is making the sign-in client for Mac available for download from the Microsoft Download Center in early November, officials said.

Other new features in the October Online Services rollup:

  • The addition of PowerShell commandlets to enable bulk activation of users
  • A new version of the Microsoft Online Services Transporter Tool supporting these commandlets
  • Online Services Administration Center adds support for up to 30,000 users (up from the previous 10,000 limit)

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