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October 10, 2006

More Windows Mobile Crossbow sightings

Posted by David Hunter at 12:59 PM ET.

Back in September, Microsoft released Windows CE 6.0 to manufacturing and shortly thereafter there was a teaser sighting of the next version of Windows Mobile codenamed “Crossbow” which is based on it and is supposed to RTM in 4Q2006. Now there’s another sighting as MS Mobile News provides some Crossbow screenshots in New Windows Mobile OS “Crossbow” shows its face. If you are confused about the distinction between Windows CE and Windows Mobile, Microsoft’s Mike Hall explains it here.

In more Windows Mobile news:

As reported on the official Microsoft blog, version 1.0 of Slam, a social networking application for Windows Mobile devices, has been released. Slam allows users to send text and picture messages in bulk to an entire group of pre-defined mobile numbers.

The Slam client, which is currently only available for Windows smartphones, gives users the ability to set custom groups of people, such as “friends”, “coworkers”, or “Tuesday night poker group”. They can then write out an SMS and send it to everyone in a certain group with the touch of one button. This can be done not only for text messaging, but also for sending images.

Rave Wireless is teaming with Microsoft to make wireless more accessible on college campuses. The companies announced a partnership that will focus on the delivery of campus-specific information over Windows Mobile devices.

Specifically, the companies will outfit colleges and universities with Windows Mobile smartphones and Pocket PCs loaded with campus-specific communication, community and academic tools. Rave Wireless applications are designed to put an entire campus on the mobile phone, according to the company. Rave provides emergency broadcast alerts, course announcements and group text messaging and polling for use by student clubs, classes and groups of friends. Other Rave tools include campus directory, event calendars and real-time shuttle bus tracking.

Filed under Coopetition, Embedded, Microsoft, Palm, Rave Wireless, Windows CE, Windows Mobile, Windows Mobile 6

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July 14, 2006

Microsoft weekly miscellany round-up

Posted by David Hunter at 11:50 AM ET.

Some of the smaller stories that didn’t get a post of their own:

Vista application developers are complaining about the sidebar gadgets.

Microsoft Research has a new project which tracks down spam websites that pollute search engine results.

Microsoft COO Kevin Johnson doesn’t get out much, but he showed up at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference to talk a little trash about competitors, most particularly Google.

Microsoft’s Digital Home Efforts Fall Short according to resellers at Digital Convergence Expo (via Neowin).

Microsoft Business Solutions is to foot the bill for recruiting 400 new consultants for its UK partners, to combat a severe skills shortage in the channel.”

Microsoft does Semicon (via

One of the most frequent questions Microsoft is getting this week at Semicon West is: “What are you doing here?”

Former Philips executive Drew Gude, now high tech industry technology strategist at Microsoft, is leading Microsoft’s foray into the electronics market.

For example, Gude said that much of the equipment on manufacturing floors today – 80 percent – already runs the Windows operating system.

Microsoft, Vodafone, and Palm to create new Treo.

Filed under Coopetition, Executives, General Business, Google, Kevin Johnson, MBS, Marketing, Microsoft, Microsoft Research, OS - Client, Palm, Partner Program, Vodafone, Windows Mobile, Windows Vista, XP Media Center

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February 6, 2006

Microsoft Exchange email pushes to cellphones

Posted by David Hunter at 11:01 AM ET.

Press release:

Microsoft Corp. today announced that Sony Ericsson has licensed the Exchange ActiveSync® protocol to enable more secure, wireless direct synchronization between Microsoft® Exchange Server 2003 and Sony Ericsson’s P990 and M600 phones. This solution will help provide mobile workers with anywhere access to their complete Exchange Server 2003 information, including e-mail, calendar and contacts. For organizations that have deployed Exchange Server 2003 Service Pack 2, additional mobile enhancements such as Direct Push are also supported, providing instant access to newly received e-mail messages. Both of the new phones will be available in the second quarter of 2006.

Microsoft is experiencing significant momentum with Exchange Server with a five-year compound annual growth rate of more than 20 percent. According to analyst firm Gartner Dataquest, Microsoft Exchange is the 2004 market share leader in enterprise e-mail and calendaring software, based on new license revenue, with a share of 48 percent (“Market Share: Enterprise E-Mail and Calendaring, Worldwide, 2002–2004,” Gartner Dataquest, June 2005). By licensing Exchange ActiveSync, Sony Ericsson is now able to deliver a comprehensive mobile messaging solution to these customers.

Exchange Server 2003 provides broad mobile device support on Microsoft Windows Mobile®-based and other Exchange ActiveSync-enabled devices. The licensing agreement with Sony Ericsson continues Microsoft’s ongoing commitment to expand its IP licensing efforts, making it easier for others to license the company’s growing IP portfolio based on its significant R&D efforts. Today’s announcement builds on the growing industry adoption of Exchange ActiveSync by licensees such as DataViz Inc., Motorola Inc., Nokia, Palm Inc. and Symbian Ltd.

The feature of most interest is Direct Push which comes with the Messaging and Security Feature Pack for Windows Mobile 5 which was enabled by Exchange Server Service Pack 2 released last October.

And it’s not just for Windows Mobile devices, as Daniel Robinson reports in Computing:

DataViz will today make available its RoadSync software so Symbian phones can exploit the push email capabilities in Exchange 2003 Service Pack 2.

The move is designed to offer companies running Exchange a wider choice of devices, beyond Windows Mobile handsets.

RoadSync, available as a preview version since autumn 2005, supports the push email delivery that Microsoft added with Exchange 2003 SP2 last year. The shipping version of RoadSync also provides access to company global address lists and supports the Remote Wipe security features that allow an administrator to blank the data in any lost or stolen handset.

Now that RoadSync is shipping, Symbian phones could have push capability before Windows Mobile 5.0 handsets, which will require a forthcoming firmware update from Microsoft, according to RoadSync product manager Ilya Eliashevsky.

The full DataViz press release is here.

Finally, Nancy Gohring at Techworld explains all the buzz about Direct Push:

Enterprises already running Microsoft Exchange 2003 with Service Pack 2 won’t have to install any additional back-end software to provide the push-email service, but end users will need to download software to their phones.

“The benefit for enterprises is there’s no extra middleware to set up and no extra fees around the middleware or a [network operations center],” said Rob Hoxie, director of business development for DataViz. With RoadSync, an enterprise must license software for the user device but if the company is already using Exchange 2003, the enterprise doesn’t have to buy and manage an additional server or pay for the use of a hosted push e-mail service.

Many push e-mail offerings, such as those from RIM, Good Technology and Nokia require a back-end server and sometimes incur additional fees associated with a remote network operations center.

It works the same way for Windows Mobile 5 phones too and the net is to eliminate a whole layer in the service providers’ infrastructure.

Filed under Coopetition, Exchange, Palm, RIM, Servers, Symbian, Windows Mobile

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January 15, 2006

Softvault sues Microsoft and customers over DRM patents

Posted by David Hunter at 8:48 AM ET.

The Inquirer:

Separate cases were filed against Microsoft, Yahoo and a spate of other tech firms in the US last week, alleging patents covering digital rights management (DRM) were breached by the firms.

The main action is against Microsoft, filed in the Eastern District Court of Texas …

for breaching two DRM patents. The other action against “Yahoo, Microsoft, Napster, Creative Labs, Dell, Gateway, Iriver, Samsung, Toshiba, Digital Networks, Palm, Audiovox, Sandisk and Thomson” is because they are using Windows Media DRM.

There are more details on the two patents involved by following the link, but the Softvault web site has the following description (excerpted):

SoftVault Systems, Inc. (“SVS”), a Washington-based intellectual property company, has developed patented technology in the fields of digital rights management (“DRM”) and device access control. The company’s patents, U.S. Patent Nos. 6,249,868 and 6,594,765 (“the Patents”), are directed, in general, to the remote disablement of hardware and digital content.

In the case of a device, the disabling logic would essentially turn the device into a “brick” that is unusable and therefore has no practical resale value. By conspicuously branding devices as having this self-destruct capability, device manufacturers can differentiate products based upon this new theft deterrent capability.

For digital content, presumably only the specific files are disabled. The “bricking” occurs if periodic heartbeat messages between a client and server are terminated for whatever reason.

Filed under Coopetition, Creative, DRM, Dell, Digital Media, Legal, Palm, Patents, Samsung, Technologies, Toshiba, Yahoo, iriver

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