Feeds

Kill the Crackberry!

MS licenses sync to former arch-rival Symbian

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Boost IT visibility and business value

Symbian has licensed Microsoft's Exchange Server 2003 ActiveSync protocol and will in turn develop a plug-in for its phone manufacturers who license its operating system. The plug-in will be optional, but it will allow the manufacturers to build phones that support remote synchronization with Exchange with no extra license fees to Symbian. Of course, the manufacturers still need a development agreement with Microsoft, and IT shops who buy the phones still need a client access license or CAL for each unit they buy.

It's foolish to say that Microsoft has made peace with Symbian, but the name that Redmond once dare not utter is no longer Enemy No.1. That dubious privilege, it seems, goes to our friends in Waterloo, Canada.

Microsoft's communication protocols are simple internet standards obfuscated in complex RPC calls - Microsoft calls this its intellectual property crown jewels. So reverse engineering the protocols has traditionally been difficult for third parties. (Novell's Exchange Connector is one example of a workaround, screen scraping the results of Exchange's webmail.) Redmond's goal has been to sell more CALs and ensure the clients run a Windows OS - a double win.

But as a consequence of the antitrust settlements Microsoft has been obliged to at least pretend to take interoperability seriously, and the EU is unexpectedly determined to ensure that Microsoft doesn't see licensing as yet another revenue opportunity.

So the deal, which follows similar agreements with Symbian's largest licensee and shareholder Nokia, and PalmOne, removes one of the unique selling points for Windows-based phones.

Until recently, Microsoft could argue that its Windows Mobiles were the only safe option for Exchange customers. So if it's selling CALs, it shouldn't mind seeing those two revenue streams shrink to one, if the one is larger than before, right?

Wrong. In typically paranoid fashion, Microsoft sees its CAL revenue under threat, and for once, with some justification. Mail and calendaring isn't exactly rocket science in 2005

Microsoft's primary concern is really to stop the growth of the highly addictive "Crackberry". RIM servers currently sit alongside Exchange servers in the data center acting as a proxy. But Microsoft's fear is that its largest corporate users are becoming so reliant on the popular and expensive email sync service that they knock-out the Exchange server and keep using Blackberry Connect, with AN Other generic mail server underneath. This is something that Symbian is well aware of. Exchange can be used for much more than email and calendaring, and it's unlikely that customers can throw an Active Directory-based architecture overboard just like that.

While no one in the Windows Mobile camp will admit it, Microsoft is prepare to see its client division take a bath in the short term to achieve what seems to be its primary goal in wireless right now: Get RIM. ®

Related stories

MS, Nokia in Valentine's Day headline bid
RIM ships Blackberry Enterprise Server 4.0
Nokia aims to dominate mobile email
Mac OS X gets Blackberry sync support
PalmSource's sideways shuffle to Linux
Symbian updates OS, toolchain

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
EE: STILL Blighty's best mobe network, says 'Frappucino' Moore
Fresh round of network stats fisticuffs possibly on the cards here
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
Tech city types developing 'Google Glass for the blind' app
An app and service where other people 'see' for you
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
UK mobile coverage is BETTER than EVER, networks tell Ofcom
Regulator swallows this line and parrots it back out at us. What are they playing at?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.