iPhone with Exchange ActiveSync: Sounds interesting

I heard this from CNN news just now – “more than 500, 000 iPhones have been sold since the launch on last Friday, June 29, 2007”. However, Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync support in iPhone is not yet confirmed, though it’s likely going to happen anytime now. In the mean time, many hosting providers are jumping in to these rumors and started making “iPhone Plans” and ready to provide the wireless email service whenever Microsoft extends license through ActiveSync or IMAP in iPhone. Hosting Providers are likely to set the following pricing model – One Mailbox + ActiveSync/IMAP access with a one time setup fee.

According to Mossberg from Wall Street Journal “It can also handle corporate email using Microsoft’s Exchange system, if your IT department cooperates by enabling a setting on the server.”

Is this setting ActiveSync or IMAP? If its going to be IMAP, not much excitement, because you will loose the core wireless email functionalities such as “push mail”, calendar, contacts etc. Like any other email services, Microsoft Wireless Email will be just “pull email” with IMAP. As you see the picture below, iPhone can connect with popular email services such as Gmail, AOL, Yahoo, EarthLink etc. along with Microsoft Exchange except the fact that Yahoo provides the “push email” services to iPhone users.

Watch Mossberg’s iPhone demo in Youtube as he has done nice review & testing on his iPhone.

If the customers are using MS Exchange, hosters will have hard time selling Wireless Email to iPhone customers with IMAP. Rumors stay there for a while – I guess there is no big deal for Apple to license ActiveSync when Microsoft makes this protocol available to those who are interested. See the below quote from Microsoft site about ActiveSync licensing:

“Microsoft offers a commercially reasonable, nonexclusive license so that other companies can use the Exchange ActiveSync Protocol in their own products. Microsoft will license its trade secrets and necessary patent claims for implementation of the protocol specification.

Microsoft offers a license for this mobile device synchronization protocol for Exchange Server 2003 and 2007 with documentation. The Exchange ActiveSync Protocol license is for a five-year term and based on annual projected sales volumes. Standard pricing is $100K or first-year’s royalties, whichever is higher, with a per unit royalty thereafter. Other pricing options are negotiable when appropriate.”

I also do not have much information for iPhone readiness with Blackberry & Motorola’s Good Technology. As of now, the iPhone is less use for enterprises due to the lack of push mail support. But hopefully there will be more support for business on the upcoming model or the next software update.

In the mean time, lets wait for little more while to get the true information from the legitimate source.

-Shaji Firoz

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