Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Finally...Microsoft embraces iCal. Oh wait, there's a catch

After months of harping on this whole Microsoft/iCal thing...after watching my daily Google search on "iCal" for months...after trolling around at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference last September, vainly seeking enlightenment from Outlook product managers and others...after enduring Microsoft lip service in December audio from When 2.0...they're finally getting it, and better yet, I've managed to attract Redmond's attention.

Steve Makofsky, a software design engineer at Microsoft, sent me a comment: "Windows Calendar, which is in Vista, natively runs iCalendar format."

So there's your answer. It's in Windows Vista. So why am I not jumping for joy?

1. Considering all the other hype around Vista, the iCal support in Vista's Windows Calendar has been very poorly publicized or recognized. It wasn't mentioned during any of the PDC keynotes. Windows Calendar appeared in October in Build 5231 of Vista, and didn't cause any ripples outside the Vista beta testing world.

2. Right now, the final version of Vista has an installed base of zero. It's in beta testing and will be for months to come. A Vista solution offers nothing to the existing installed base of Windows users. Sure, lots of folks will just get Vista when they buy new PCs. That's nice, but we want widespread calendar interoperability now, not whenever.

3. How the heck does Outlook work together with Windows Calendar in Vista? Having two Microsoft calendars in Windows sounds like a recipe for confusion to me. They better be totally interoperable from day one, or what's the point?

When I have the answers to these questions, maybe then Vista will be worth a SwampDrain rating.


Anonymous said...

So I take that to mean you have to upgrade for this to work. Will the "old" calendar be pulled into the new one?

Scott Mace said...

Yes it's an upgrade.

I can't imagine it not synchronizing fully with Outlook. I've posed this question over on Steve Makofsky's blog at

Anonymous said...

I've put together some answers here: