How To: Use the Microsoft BPOS Single Sign In on a Mac (with a HUGE Gotcha for Outlook 2011 and Mail users)

Microsoft BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite) is the 2007-based iteration (Exchange 2007, Office Live Communicator, etc.) of Microsoft’s Online Services offering.  Microsoft Office 365 is the 2010-based iteration (Exchange 2010, Lync 2010, etc.).  At present, BPOS is live, and Office 365 has a “target release date” of mid-summer this year (2011).  A future article will cover the migration path from BPOS to Office 365, once said migration path is released to the beta users.

For details on the differences between Microsoft BPOS and Office 365, please see the links below:

BPOS: http://www.microsoft.com/online/business-productivity.aspx

Office 365: http://office365.microsoft.com/en-US/online-services.aspx#slide-1

At present, the BPOS edition requires the use of a Single Sign In application (Office 365 will not require this and will be more tightly-integrated with the Microsoft LiveID system).

One question we get asked rather frequently is, “Does BPOS work on a Mac?”

Yes, yes it does.

Caveat: Outlook 2011 and Mail users should read the “HUGE Gotcha” in step 7.

1) On your Mac, go to http://home.microsoftonline.com

2) Once you log in, you’ll see a link to “Download Sign In”… go ahead and click the link:

   

     …which in turn takes you to the Microsoft Download Center, where you must click another download button:

    

     …and save the DMG file somewhere you can find and mount it.

3) Once you’ve mounted (opened) the DMG file you just downloaded, go ahead and drag-and-drop it into your Applications folder:

    

4) Navigate to your Applications folder and double-click on the “Microsoft Online Services Sign In” application:

    

     …and click Open if you get this security warning:

    

5) Run through the setup, accepting the default options (Next > Accept > Next > Finish)

6) Put in your username and password, check both the boxes for “Remember my user name” and “Remember my password,” and click the “Sign in” button:

    

7) Once logged in, the sign in application will search your Mac for supported applications and will configure them automatically for you… but with a HUGE Gotcha.  Unless you’re an Entourage 2008 user, the Microsoft Single Sign In application will not automatically configure your e-mail client for you.  Sorry Mail and Outlook 2011 users… as of the time of this writing, your e-mail application is not supported by the Single Sign In application.

For Entourage 2008 users, you’re done.  Enjoy BPOS!

For Outlook 2011 and Mail users, please read on.

Outlook 2011 BPOS Configuration for Mac

1) Quit out of Outlook completely, including the “Office Reminders” helper application:

   

2) Hold down the “Option” key on your Mac’s keyboard, and then click on the Outlook icon… keep holding down the “Option” key until the Microsoft Database Utility appears, at which point you’ll want to click the “+” button to add a new identity:

    

3) Name the identity something useful, and then right-click (control-left-click) the identity and choose “Set Default,” at which point you’ll notice that the identity you just created is in bold:

    

4) Close the Microsoft Database Utility, and then re-open Outlook 2011… then go to Tools > Accounts:

   

5) On the Accounts screen, choose “Exchange Account”:

   

6) Put in your e-mail address twice, your password once, make sure that “Configure automatically” is checked, and click the “Add Account” button:

   

7) Check the “Always use my response for this server” checkbox and click the Allow button:

   

     …and remember… patience, grasshopper.  This takes a minute or two to auto-configure.

8) Change the “Account description” to something helpful, then close out of the Accounts screen.

   

    You’re all set!  You should now see your mail, contacts & calendar in Outlook.

Mail BPOS Configuration for Mac

Note: This assumes a first-time configuration, as I have not had reason to set up Mail prior to writing this How To article.  If you already have Mail configured and want to add BPOS Exchange as an additional account, I’d recommend watching the following video:

(Thanks to Virorum Ltd for taking the time to make this video!)

1) Start up Mail

2) Put in your name, e-mail address and password, and click Continue:

   

     …and remember… patience, grasshopper.  This too takes a minute or two to auto-configure.

3) Once your settings are auto-configured, ensure that “Address Book contacts” and “iCal calendars” are both checked and click the Create button:

   

Thankfully, Microsoft has correctly configured the Autodiscover service correctly such that many different e-mail clients (Outlook 2007, 2010, 2011, Mail) can connect.  You’ll also notice a similarly simple procedure when connecting your iPod, iPad, iPhone, Android, Palm or Windows Mobile device.

HUGE Gotcha for iOS users (iPhone, iPod, iPad): You must be running iOS 4.2 or above for the Autodiscover service on Microsoft BPOS to work correctly.  This is straight from Microsoft and has been verified by testing with an iOS 4.1 and an iOS 4.2 device—the iOS 4.1 device will not automatically discover the e-mail server settings correctly.  You must upgrade to iOS 4.2 or later (which simply amounts to plugging the iOS device into your computer, firing up iTunes, and clicking the “Yes” button when prompted to back up and upgrade your device).

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