On Exchange ActiveSync and our partners

Published Oct 25 2005 12:06 PM 6,270 Views

I am Ed Hott, the Director of Business Development for Microsoft Exchange with primary responsibility for the Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) protocol licensing. There have been a few questions recently around our work with partners in licensing the ActiveSync protocol so I want to provide some information that I hope will clear things up.

We license the ActiveSync protocol so that other mobile devices can interact with Exchange in the same rich and efficient way that Windows Mobile does. Our goal is to enable customers to use their favorite mobile device(s) with Exchange - even if that device isn't a Windows Mobile device. With that in mind, ActiveSync licensees have access to the exact same functionality through the protocol that we provide to Windows Mobile. Nothing in the protocol is reserved for Microsoft-only use.

The Exchange team is investing heavily in enabling mobile scenarios for our customers, and our licensees are an important part of that. We feel both excited and fortunate to have a great set of licensees already working to implement the ActiveSync protocol in their products. As part of our program, we provide early access to builds and review product plans with each licensee regularly. Because of the nature of our business (i.e. we, Microsoft, are also a competitor) there are limits to how much our licensees want to share with us, but it is fair to say that interaction between our companies is substantial and supportive.

My comments are in no way intended to imply that we aren't 100% behind Windows Mobile nor believe that Windows Mobile doesn't have a bright future. We are and it does. But we also recognize that customer preferences vary widely when it comes to mobile devices, and having lots of choices is a good thing for Exchange customers.

You can find a list of publicly announced Exchange ActiveSync protocol licensees in Exchange ActiveSync Protocol.

And I believe DataViz RoadSync Technology Preview for Exchange Service Pack 2 is the first publicly announced offering from an ActiveSync licensee with support for SP2.

As always, we welcome your feedback and look forward to a continued dialogue.

Ed Hott

Update 5/4/2012: Last year we introduced the Exchange ActiveSync Logo Program to establish baseline for EAS functionality in mobile email devices. More details in Announcing the Exchange ActiveSync Logo Program.

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You know, I personally think I have asked a number of pretty simple, straightforward questions on this topic. But I have not seen the first real answer yet.

This blog post is the capper: "we welcome your feedback and look forward to a continued dialogue."

Indeed, you appear to mean as long as we don't expect a direct answer to any question...

And the questions are incredibly simple--not to mention the fact that everyone involved has had 5 MONTHS to make up their answers and get their stories straight.

Palm either CAN or CANNOT update their existing EAS-enabled devices to add the "Direct Push" functionality: Can they? (Please answer "yes" or "no")

Within the parameters of the answer to the last question, Palm either WILL or WILL NOT update their existing EAS-enabled devices to add the "Direct Push" functionality: Will they?
(Please answer "yes" or "no")

I mean, really, don't even offer any explanation that might give away a trade secret or anything...I am totally fine with "yes" or "no".

But, of course, if I could get an answer to those questions, then we might have something to actually "dialogue" about, if you wish.

And if you personally don't know or are "not allowed" to answer those questions, I am pretty sure you could at least help get them to the proper place, where they could get an official answer (or an official refusal to answer).

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Ok, in response to the direct questions asked:

All ActiveSync licensees have the ability to update their existing ActiveSync-enabled devices/applications to add Direct Push functionality. Palm is an ActiveSync licensee and can do this at their discretion.

I wouldn’t want to speak for another company any more than I would want them to speak for us. So unfortunately I cannot really comment on what Palm may do in the future.

Hope this helps.

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Your response is helpful, and I appreciate it.

However, if you would like to experience a little "twilight zone" of your own (and perhaps find out why the 700w will almost undoubtedly fail), you should try calling Palm's corporate offices, and start asking the following very simple and direct question:

"My company is considering purchasing a number of Treo 650 devices, but the determining factor is whether or not Palm will be updating the device to take advantage of the new Direct Push functionality Microsoft has introduced with the release of Exchange 2003 Service Pack 2. Who can I speak with about that question?"

I was transferred 5 times, 3 times by people who lied about whom I would next be speaking with. At one point, I was REQUIRED to actually hang up and dial a new number myself because the rep informed me that I could not be transferred to the department "that can answer that question."

And, in the end, a tech support rep put me on hold so that they could confer with a "Tier 2" consultant, ultimately returning to assure me that the Treo 650 ALREADY FULLY SUPPORTS Exchange 2003 and no update or upgrade was necessary. Unfortunately, my request that the representative document that claim with a followup email was met with the explanation that they were not allowed to send email out. Nor, I might add, would they transfer me to the mystical "Tier 2" so that I might more directly pursue the matter myself.

So, hey, good luck with the 700w.

In the meantime, if anyone out there supporting Treo 650s has already installed Ex2003 SP2 and unexpectedly discovered that Direct Push already works would simply post their results here--or anywhere, really--it would be great.

To anyone else at all interested in this issue: I encourage you to place the same call to Palm and then come back here and report on your experience.

(Actually, Ed, you might want to try that experiment youself.)

Thanks for putting up with me, by the way. Now I need to change my focus to identifying an appropriate alternative device (we need a dozen), ideally by the end of the year. All I've learned so far is they won't be Treos sporting any number.
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Wow! I can't articulate my frustrations as clearly as eufreka but I can sure echo the difficulty in dealing with Palm and Microsoft on this topic. The Treo 650 is a superb device but the licensing of Exchange ActiveSync has resulted in a massive case of "pointing fingers" in regards to responsibility of proper functioning. When you add the actual service provider to the mix it becomes even more challenging to get "straight answers" on Exchange ActiveSync. It shouldn't be so hard...and I believe Microsoft could help by releasing much more comprehensive documentation on the product- and by pressing its partners to be more forthright in communication.
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I don't think its very fair for you to take your frustration from dealing with Palm out on MS. There are doubtless many forums that you can ask about Palm/Treo specific questions.

Try that next time instead of asking some marketing/receptionist/janitor at Palm corporate, and you will probably get better results, and might even get as close to an official answer as you can.

Both of your questions are questions that only Palm can answer definitively.

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Hi There,
Does MS have any plans to release a push client for WM2003? As you're aware most cellular users are stuck with a device for a contract period with their carrier. So woing out and purchasing a new device is not an options and in the enterprise you do not want to force your customers to buy new hardware just to support a new feature.

In my case I have heard that Audiovox (and others) will not offer WM 5 upgrades for their current devices. Do know if MS will offer an add-on for existing users of WM2003 devices that cannot/will not upgrade to WM 5?

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