Snow Leopard is significant in many ways. From OpenCL, which allows graphics cards to essentially serve as additional processors, to the significant reduction in footprint, it’s a huge step forward in terms of efficiency and performance. An oft-forgotten feature is support for Microsoft Exchange, the undisputed leader in corporate email, calendar, and collaboration software.

Exchange runs on Microsoft server software and, until now, required the use of Microsoft Outlook (on the PC) or Microsoft Entourage (on the Mac). While Exchange support on the Mac via Entourage is appreciated, it’s hardly elegant or truly stable. We’ve been waiting for years for true, Mac-like support for Exchange in Apple’s existing applications like iCal, Mail, and Address Book. It’s finally here, and it works very well.

Exchange support on the Mac combined with the same support on the iPhone positions Apple for explosive growth. We should see this feature drive sales of the Mac and iPhone for years to come, and the refinements in Snow Leopard position Mac OS X for sustainable growth for the operating system’s next ten years. Further, Snow Leopard is the only operating system that comes with full Exchange support out of the box—to get equal function from Windows 7 you’d need to also buy Microsoft Office!

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