Lync for Mac Update Addresses Office 365 Glitch
Microsoft issued an update today that enables Lync for Mac 2011 to connect to Office 365.
Office 365 is Microsoft's application suite delivered over the Internet as a service via Microsoft's server farms. It supports connections with Lync 2011 for Mac, which is Microsoft's integrated client combining instant messaging, voice, conferencing and presence, which Microsoft released last month. However, users running Lync for Mac 2011 on the latest Mac OS X 10.7.2 "Lion" operating system had been experiencing problems in which the application would inexplicably shut down. On Friday, Microsoft released an update to fix that problem, and included a fix for an Office 365 log-in problem.
The update is also available via the Microsoft AutoUpdate for Mac feature in the client application. It's accessed via the "check for updates" option under the Help menu in Lync for Mac 2011.
The problem with Lync for Mac 2011 got a little extra attention after Neil Johnson, a senior consultant with Microsoft Services, published Microsoft's documentation on connecting Lync for Mac 2011 with Office 365 in a September blog post. Readers of that post indicated that the setup steps did not work. Johnson later acknowledged in an October blog post that "pretty much everyone that tried this was unable to connect Lync 2011 on Mac to Office 365."
Fortunately, the blunder got filtered through Johnson on the Microsoft Services team, perhaps inadvertently helping to deliver a fix. Johnson had also discussed in his September post how to connect the Outlook Web App and Outlook 2011 for Mac clients to Office 365. He contends that Mac users connecting to Office 365 get the same benefits as Windows 7 OS users.
Microsoft has a laundry list of requirements to fulfill in order to connect a Mac OS X-based machine to Office 365, as described in Johnson's September post or at this Microsoft help page. Those wanting to connect using Outlook on the Mac need to deploy Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 Service Pack 1 or greater. The reason why the latest version is required has to do with the use of WebDAV in older Outlook for Mac versions. WebDAV is not supported in Exchange Server 2010 nor in Office 365.
Lync for Mac 2011, which typically might be used by enterprise customers, is available from Microsoft via its Office for Mac 2011 volume licensing. However, it can also be purchased as a separate product, also via Microsoft's volume licensing.
Subscribers to Microsoft's Office 365 service can opt to get access to Office Professional Plus for Windows, which is a premises-installed productivity suite. Contrary to common assumptions, Office Professional Plus is not hosted by Microsoft and delivered as a service. Microsoft doesn't offer Office for Mac 2011 as part of Office 365 subscriptions. It has to be purchased separately.
Kurt Mackie is online news editor for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.