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Today, Apple announced they have licensed the Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) protocol and are building support into the iPhone. We are happy to have them join the list of mobile device manufacturers supporting EAS. Here is the Apple press release. Our official press piece is here. By the way, our own Terry Myerson was in Cupertino for the announcement this morning. :) Apple Senior VP of WW Product Marketing Phil Schiller and Exchange Corporate VP Terry Myerson chat at the iPhone press conference. Obviously, we have been working together for a while on their implementation. What can we say today? They are doing Direct Push and most of the Exchange 2003 SP2 policies (including remote wipe). They are doing email, calendar and contacts sync, and global address lists. While previously you could get you Exchange mail on an iPhone via IMAP, getting contacts and calendar required a tethered sync through iTunes. Doing it wirelessly will be much better (IMHO). Particularly noteworthy, Apple will implement a couple key Exchange 2007 EAS features.

  1. Autodiscover - This means those of you running Exchange 2007 can now make it super easy for your users to configure their iPhones to sync with Exchange. Here's what you do as an admin. All the iPhone user does is enter his/her email address and password. Pretty cool.
  2. HTML Mail - See your mail in its full HTML glory. Obviously the iPhone shows mail in HTML format today, so it's safe to assume your Exchange mail will retain its HTML formatting on the iPhone as well.
I don't have a lot more to say about the iPhone. Perhaps after I'm worked with it a bit I'll share some more thoughts. While we're here, let's note a couple updates from some other EAS licensees since our last post.
  • Nokia has revved their Mail for Exchange application and now supports it on most of the N and E Series smartphones. (I personally prefer the Nokie E61i as a workday phone, and the Nokia E90 when I travel for business.) Mail for Exchange can be downloaded here.
  • Sony Ericsson is shipping some cool phones with EAS support. Check out the W960i Walkman. And two that often get grabbed out of my hands are the Z750i featuring a "hidden" external display (mine is "Mysterious Purple") and the sleek K630 (mine is in "Chocolate").
  • Palm is shipping the Palm Centro with EAS support.
  • Remoba announced its EAS implementation, RemoSync, and expects to make it available soon.
Here's a list of publicly announced Exchange ActiveSync protocol licensees. - Ed Hott

17 Comments
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This is great. I have had many users make very sad faces when I told them that their iPhone was not going to work with Exchange. Now I am going to go tell them I can do it for $50 and see if they pay up. ;)

Great work.
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Hi, any idea if the iPhone will support the certificate based authentication with EAS?
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Fantastic news guys!  My users will be very happy campers.
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Great news. But Exchange support should also be improved for Apple Mail and Microsoft Office 2008 Entourage.
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This is amazing. All apple lovers will be able to use their Exchange mails with out carrying additional cell phone.

Good collaboration....
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This is amazing. All apple lovers will be able to use their Exchange mails with out carrying additional cell phone.

Good collaboration....
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We hear you on improving Exchange support for Apple Mail and Entourage. That's on our radar as well.

re: certificate based authentication with EAS, I think that's in their plans but Apple will have to say for sure.
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We have been waiting for this news.

We use a Juniper SSL box which supports: WSAM,JSAM and
Network Connect using Wmobile 5.0 and Wmobile 6.0

What software would the iphones be running for EAS and push?
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I'm waiting for the iPhone to sync with Outlook
on two computers.  I won't buy one until I can sync
between my home and work computers.  Otherwise I'm
stuck still using my old Palm.

If the issue is iTunes syncing and music copyright
protection, couldn't you restrict music to one computer
but allow syncing of my contacts, calendar, notes, and
my own documents on 2 or more computers?  Please...?!
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Would would be great is if you guys could make Active Sync on the iPhone and all WM devices sync up with 2 Exchange servers!  Some of us hard core users have 1 for business and another for personal mail!
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Now that Apple paid for Active Sync, could'nt you offer the MacBU a free licence to improve Entourage. Entourage 2008 does not sync tasks and the iPhone will! A funny...
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Will the iPhone EAS support Exchange public folder contacts?
RIM killer if it does.
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Ed Hott Says "We hear you on improving Exchange support for Apple Mail and Entourage. That's on our radar as well."

On your radar my foot. It's been on your radar for the last 5 years. You guys had it on your radar when you were spending thousands of dollars making IE the best browser on the mac. How many REAL customers were screaming for IE for the mac updates? I know it's not your fault. You can't make something that's going to compete with Windows. Unless it's in some sort of beta testing, market research format. Don't even get me started on EVERY stinking update Entourage comes out with breaking people's email. Sure, you and your friend can sit around looking at that radar. Yup. Blip...........blip..........blip......... Ed says "Hey Pratik, you see that blip. Pratik nods. Ed says "That's the mac on our radar. Right now, it's a thousand miles away. But, when it gets a little closer.... we'll pounce." Pratik nods in agreement. Grins. Keeps nodding. "Those mac folk are cute when they get upset...."
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Will the iPhone support Autodicover as Outllok 2007 RTM, or Outlook 2007 post KB940881 ?
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I'll stick to my Sprint Mogul and other Windows Mobile phones like the AT&T Tilt. I'm sorry, but even though the iPhone is "pretty" it just isn't as flexible as the Windows platform. That said, this announcement does make my job supporting mobile users a whole lot easier! :)
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I am irritated to find that my colleagues iPhone connects via ActiveSync over the air and gets full HTML email.  My WM6.1 device doesn't and can only if we upgrade to Exchange 2007 (I am sure my company won't do this just for me being predominantely Blackberrys).  Why oh why is this :(
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Does the Iphone 2 support the autodiscovery SRV record lookup?