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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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