Well, the summary of the first half of my experiment it is that Mac OS is simply not ready to be integrated into a predominantly Microsoft Exchange led office environment, and frankly, it isn't Apple's fault, it is Microsoft's and no, I don't mean this as a fan boy.
The reason it is not ready is one and only - Microsoft Outlook, an application that is quite frankly the cornerstone of all things office as it seamlessly integrates email, calendar and live meetings (conf calls) which are basically 3 of the MOST used functions inside a business environment.
Having found Apple's Mail and calendar apps to be woefully inadequate, I was quite excited to see that Microsoft was releasing office 2011 with the first ever Mac version for Outlook. But unfortunately, the outlook version is largely unusable. Let me illustrate a few 'issues'
1. Just general email download is EXCRUCIATINGLY slow. It can take upto 15 minutes to download 1MB attachments. Downloading them via webmail takes about 4 seconds.
2. Calendaring: Inability to see multiple calendars at once is a pain. We have a ton of shared calendars for travel, holidays, company events etc and not being able to see them separately and/or individually is a real pain.
3. Live Meeting: There is NO live meeting plug-in for Outlook 2011 which basically means that I cannot setup conference calls with people - a more than regular feature when synching across global teams. Ughh.
4. Sent items: This is the MOST stupid implementation of sent items ever. When sending an email from inside outlook 2011, the email does not automatically move to the sent items, but it is RE-DOWNLOADED from the sent items on the server! This means that if u are on a slow connection, you have to first bear the pain of uploading a large prezo and then wait for it to painfully download on the sent items folder.
These are just some of the MANY MANY issues but while others i can live with, these are just deal breakers for me and even though I paid a stupendously reduced $9 for office, I am feeling it is not even worth THAT.
And here is the worst part - if this was Apple's fault, Microsoft could wash its hands and walk away, but it is not. It is entirely Microsoft's problem because Outlook is made by microsoft as is the Exchange server 2010 so the integration between the 2 should be flawless.
With that said, I have to sadly conclude that integrating the Mac into a predominantly exchange centric environment is largely a failure and until Outlook gets fixed, or Apple upgrades the Mail app to compete, I cannot shutdown my Win 7 notebook for good.
Stay tuned for an update on moving from my blackberry to the iPhone 4.