I recently switched to Mac from Windows and Linux. Overall, I really like Mac OS X, but I need to solve the iCal / Outlook compatibility issue. There are two pieces to this problem. 1) Outlook does not understand iCal meeting invitiations and 2) iCal puts Outlook's meeting invitations in the wrong time slot if the Outlook user is in a different time zone than me. There are numerous other issues, like Mail not even realizing that the Outlook sent an invite, but I've found manual workarounds so they're not critical.

So, for #1, I know that Outlooks requires a couple of non-required fields, according to the ics spec. But Apple shipped iCal knowing that it was incompatible with Outlook, which boggles my mind. Why didn't they just add the fields outlook wants? Or make it an option?

I've seen supposed solutions for #2, but the ones I tried just didn't work. The worse part is when an Outlook user invites me to a meeting, I can't move the meeting to the correct time after it's in iCal because I'm not the meeting organizer. My only solution is to cut and paste the meeting.

Does anyone know of a solution to these issues? The only option I know of at this point is to not use Mail and iCal. I've seen people using Google apps with some kind of sync thing. It's too bad Google doesn't have these apps offline-enabled yet.