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What's the deal with Entourage 2008 and Blackberry sync?

If you've got a Blackberry that you plan to sync with Entourage 2008 (other than via Exchange and a Blackberry Enterprise Server, which could give two figs for your client application -- although as a commenter points out, BES still doesn't fully support sent mail or read/unread sync from Entourage), you might run into some difficulty. No, you'll be fine. Well, now we're not sure. What's all this fuss about?

Let's start with this post from MacWindows, which raises the alarm: Microsoft dropped direct BlackBerry syncing in Entourage 2008, the headline reads. Uh-oh, whatever shall we do? The article reports that the plug-in that enabled direct synchronization of Entourage to Blackberries will not be supported in 2008 by Microsoft or Missing Sync, and all synchronization must take place via Apple's Sync Services framework.

Gosh, that's scary news, except that it's complete hogwash, says Mac pundit/gadfly John Welch. While Entourage 2004 did support Palm synchronization via a HotSync plugin that's now absent in 2008, the Blackberry sync process was always handled by Entourage's interface to Sync Services, the same underlying technology that connected Entourage to Address Book and iCal. Did MacWindows talk to someone at Mark/Space who mixed up the two sync technologies, or was the confusion on the reporting end? Welch is pretty sure where the problem lies.

All that said, it should be safe to sync Entourage with your Sync Services clients, right? Not so fast, say the mavens at the Entourage Help Blog. Since Entourage 2008 shipped, there have been plenty of reports of issues with Sync Services, including some catastrophic cases of data loss. The recommendation of the experts is to leave Sync Services off for now until Microsoft can address some of these problems. Once that's taken care of, both Mark/Space and PocketMac say that Entourage 2008 should be supportable for calendar and contact sync. What a relief.

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