Last summer I wrote about by trip to Redmond to visit Microsoft and more specifically my thoughts on when the iPhone will get ActiveSync if ever. Here is an excerpt:
As part of the Redmond software giant’s mobility strategy, Jeff [Jeff Ressler, Director, Exchange Marketing] mentioned that ActiveSync has been licensed some device manufacturers which, of course, means the power of unified communications can be enjoyed on-the-go. I mentioned some rumors I heard about the iPhone supporting ActiveSync soon and Jeff told me he couldn’t comment. Perhaps this meant that there are serious talks with Apple in the works – he didn’t say they aren’t talking after all. Then again, Jeff could have a really great poker face. Time will tell.
I got the feeling the companies were in negotiations at the time. Confirmation of this fact comes from an interview with Terry Myerson, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Exchange.
We started talking with Apple about licensing Exchange ActiveSync before the launch of the iPhone last year. In fact, I met with Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller almost daily for a period of two weeks ironing out the details of the agreement. The result is a true collaboration between Microsoft and Apple.
We continue to compete with Apple in the computer arena and media player business. When it comes to mobile phones, Windows Mobile still delivers the premier mobile e-mail experience for Microsoft Exchange Server, by delivering the Outlook experience on a mobile phone and with the most complete support for Exchange’s many enterprise device management policies. But, we also partner with many mobile device makers – including Apple – and believe that by making Exchange an open platform, our customers and partners, ultimately, will be the beneficiaries.
Overall however, Microsoft knows cooperation and collaboration among diverse companies – from technology to hardware to content providers is becoming more commonplace. In today's world, open innovation and collaboration is simply smart business; in tomorrow's, it will be an absolute necessity.
This move is great for Apple but it will certainly show the shortcomings of ActiveSync. By this I mean that the software works well but is a battery hog. I carry spare batteries with my Windows Mobile 6 device and most people will probably not want to go through this hassle.
Apple may not have thought this problem through as the battery life of the iPhone is not great to begin with. Adding ActiveSync will likely make the iPhone a better device but you will want to have spare external batteries around if you get lots of e-mail.