Open-Xchange Talks with Apple Mac, iPhone About E-Mail, Calendar Data
Open-Xchange, an open-source messaging and collaboration
software provider whose claim of 8.4 million paid users pales compared with
Microsoft Exchange's hundreds of millions of users, is now talking to Apple's
Mac computers and iPhone.
The software maker Dec. 2 will release a free beta of OXtender for Mac OS X. OXtender is an iSync connector that makes Open-Xchange e-mail, appointments, contacts, tasks and documents available to users through their Mac Mail, iCal and Address Book applications.
Specifically, OXtender for Mac OS X will synchronize contacts between Open-Xchange and the Apple Address Book and appointments and tasks between Open-Xchange and iCal. Moreover, Open-Xchange's InfoStore document manager can now be linked via WebDAV (Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning) to Apple's Finder file manager.
OXtender for Mac OS X also enables mobile devices connected to the Mac, including iPhones, iPods and cell phones from other manufacturers, to access Open-Xchange data. In addition, Apple's MobileMe service users can access new e-mail, calendar and contact entries via the iPhone's push service.
This mobile device synchronization means users can work without interruption even without an Internet connection. When the Web connection is restored, the OXtender pulls the data from the Open-Xchange server to let users access it from their mobile devices.
Open-Xchange said it created the synchronization tool because Mac is gaining in popularity in businesses and for mobile consumer and enterprise users as an alternative to PCs.
This seems to be the case, as many of the vendor representatives eWEEK meets with, including power computer users from Google, IBM and other smaller vendors, seem to be using MacBooks with some virtualization software from Parallels or VMware that lets them pull data from PCs through their Macs.
Moreover, Apple is soaking up more Internet share, according to Net Applications. The Mac's share of Web hits grew 8.04 percent in November to 8.87 percent, while the iPhone's were up 12.12 percent to 0.37 percent.
Beginning Dec. 2, the OXtender for Mac OS X software will be available here to any customer of the Open-Xchange Server Edition, Open-Xchange Appliance Edition or the SAAS (software as a service) Open-Xchange Hosting Edition.
Open-Xchange isn't the first open-source messaging and collaboration software maker to work with the Mac. Yahoo's Zimbra Collaboration Suite already supports Macs and began enabling mobile access to Zimbra e-mail and calendar data via the iPhone Oct. 28.