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Microsoft 'surprised' by Google Gmail 'winter cleaning'

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Microsoft has shot back at Google’s termination of Exchange syncing for free Gmail accounts, and urged users to throw out Gmail for Outlook.com.

Google last week said it's closing Google Sync, a service that allowed users of Microsoft’s Exchange ActiveSync protocol to access their Gmail, calendars, and contacts via the Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync protocol.

The service will now only be continued for paying users of Google’s email and collaboration-ware, with Google employing the open-standards CalDAV, CardDAV and IMAP for the free services.

Google Sync will be closed on 30 January as part of a “winter cleaning" programme.

Exchange ActiveSync lets Exchange server email, calendar and contacts sync with Google’s free service on the PC, laptop, tablet or smart phone.

Microsoft has responded by saying it’s “very surprised” by Google’s decision and claimed users of free Gmail services “are facing a situation where they might have to degrade their mobile email experience by downgrading to an older protocol.”

Meanwhile, Redmond's product management senior director, Dharmesh Mehta, urged users to do some "winter cleaning" of their own. “If you want a better email, especially on your phone or tablet, it’s time to join the millions who have already made the choice to upgrade to Outlook.com,” Mehta wrote.

Google and Microsoft are becoming firm adversaries on free email and online collaboration. The pair have been engaged in a battle to sign up high-profile public and private sector customers, while Microsoft this year re-branded its existing Hotmail service as Outlook.com. ®

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