The integration of Apple products into a Windows-dominant office culture continues to present a challenge for the information technology and services fields.
For Apple-users seeking closer integration with their office environments, the current MacBook generation’s transition from Intel processors to the M1 family has caused a number of issues. This in-house development was poised to give the new generation of Macs and iPad Pro a powerful processing unit. Their new system on a chip (SoC) architecture promised, among other things, an increase in CPU performance and drastically increased power efficiency. And for many users, the M1 has delivered.
For other users, however, these promised benefits came at a cost. Many Microsoft applications, including the Office365 suite and Microsoft Teams, had been written for the previous CPU architecture and initially proved incompatible with the new design. Due to this, many Office365 programs and related products saw drastically worsened performance.
Both named companies have aimed at rectifying the incompatibilities created by their new hardware. At the close of 2020, Apple announced their anticipated fix – the so-called Rosetta 2 translation layer, which aimed to provide backwards compatibility for software designed for use by Intel-powered Macs. Rosetta 2 built in concept on the existing Rosetta, which had been developed in 2006 during the transition from PowerPC to Intel processors, providing a bridging period for applications.
Soon after, Microsoft released an M1-compatible version of the Office365 suite of apps which has eliminated the need for running via Rosetta emulation mode for the majority of Microsoft’s common workplace programs.
In the case of Teams specifically, the Rosetta emulator process failed to deliver the expected improvements in performance. Microsoft Teams continues to cause major issues, with sluggish behavior and users reporting a variety of problems ranging from overheating to massive CPU drain.
This is a major issue; both the MacBook and Microsoft Teams are common enough to be practically ubiquitous in the professional world. Their continued mutual incompatibility has led to users struggling to find temporary workarounds, ranging from simply using the Teams web client instead of the app, to deleting Teams, purging the system cache and clean installing the app again in hopes of improved performance or removed issues. Microsoft has stated that they are working on universal app support for the M1, but as it stands the official options remain running Teams via the emulator or as a progressive web app (PWA) through a browser.
Among other floated solutions, there is potential to solve some of these impending issues via Microsoft’s continued support of the Office365 suite on Mac M1, as discussed at some length on their blog.
While the Microsoft Teams app is still waiting for a compatibility update to fully resolve their issues beyond the mentioned Rosetta-emulator version, the Office 365 bundle of programs is fully functional. In conjunction with teamsTALK by Tech-Arrow, a plug-in that integrates key features of MS Teams directly into Outlook, the Office365 suite of programs appears to potentially provide a productivity boost by sidestepping questions of compatibility, allowing users to access MS Teams functions through their M1-supported Outlook app.
In addition to native Teams functions, the teamsTALK app offers a number of supplemental possibilities thanks to its integration into the Outlook app. These include, among other things, an integrated user directory, the ability to start individual chats or group chats by pulling addressees from an email, direct reply via Quick-Chat and more. All of this with full functionality and support on the Mac M1 chip architecture.
Further integration can be achieved via other third-party plug-ins such as WinShortcutter, which allows for use of Windows-standard LNK files on MacOS and further reduces prevalence of software incompatibilities. With the use of this plugin, MacOS users are able to open links from their browser or use existing Windows-generated links, further reducing tension between mutually incompatible systems in the office environment and smoothing the way for increased cooperation. And with an upcoming update, WinShortcutter users can also expect native support on the M1 as well, smoothing away any last potential barriers.
Secure archive and backup for Microsoft Teams and Office 365 Data