Microsoft BetaPlace outage and Exchange ActiveSync MSFP problem

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Microsoft BetaPlace outage and Exchange ActiveSync MSFP problem

I was just on Microsoft BetaPlace downloading the Microsoft Device Emulator 1.0 Community Preview to test Windows Mobile 5.0 with Exchange ActiveSync and the download timed-out at 98%. 2% remaining? Such a tease... I then tried accessing from and it too timed-out. From my work PC I then remote desktopped to me home PC and tried on my home PC and it too failed. It's been over two hours, so it looks like a BetaPlace outage to me. Damn it - and I only have 48KB left! Side note: If you don't have Visual Studio 2005 installed and you want to use Microsoft's Windows Mobile 5.0 emulator, just download the Windows Mobile 5.0 SDK. If you have no intention of doing any kind of development of a Pocket PC device, then the full Visual Studio installation is serious overkill. Instead, extract the emulator files from the SDK MSI file.

Windows Mobile 5.0 SDK
Do not attempt to install this file as it will fail if you do not have Visual Studio installed.

Once you download the MSI file, simply follow these instructions here to extract the emulator.

Why all the fuss in installing a Windows Mobile 5.0 emulator on my PC? Well, basically, I'm trying to troubleshoot synchronizing my boss's Verizon Windows Mobile 5.0 device (Verizon XV6700) with our Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 using the new Exchange 2003 Always-Up-To-Date Notification (AUTD) feature. I wrote about this cool push synchronization capability in a blog titled "Microsoft killed the Blackberry Star".

In that blog entry, I wrote "...the BlackBerry Enterprise Server Software costs $3999 just for 20 licenses (even 1 user license is a whopping $2999). On the other hand, Microsoft's Messaging and Security Feature Pack (MSFP) for Windows Mobile 5.0 features direct integration between Exchange Server 2003 and more importantly this integration also eliminates the need for business customers to add another server or pay additional client access license (CAL) fees and an ongoing data service fee to third parties. In other words, if you already own a Microsoft Exchange Server, you already have the capability for push email capabilities for FREE."

Well, I may have been a bit premature in claiming a Microsoft "victory" over Blackberry/RIM considering I've spent hours trying to get ActiveSync for Exchange to work for over 4 days with no success. I was not alone in assuming that Exchange SP2 enables MSFP to work, but didn't know that I needed to get MSFP from the OEM phone manufacturer and not Microsoft. Verizon OEMs the XV6700 from Audiovox, so I would need Verizon to provide MSFP. One of Microsoft's own bloggers, Jason Langridge, aka Mr. Mobile, wrote a post titled Where is the Messaging and Security Feature Pack?. This blog post is filled with comments from irate Windows Mobile 5.0 users who can't get Messaging and Security Feature Pack (MSFP) to work. One commenter writes, "You are right about there being a lot of confusion - generated mostly from the Microsoft Exchange website I think. The marketing material for Exchange 2K3 SP2 makes many claims of functionality without stating that MSFP is required."

Exactly my sentiments! When I read the press release about MSFP I figured it was done deal. Simply go buy a Windows Mobile 5.0 device and have instant Blackberry-like functionality with your enterprise Exchange Server. If only it were that simple. :@ Apparently, my boss Rich needs to wait for Verizon to "push" or make available for download - the MSFP software for his XV6700 mobile phone. Boy, if you read Microsoft's news about MSFP you'd think it was available today on every Windows Mobile 5.0 device.

On another Mr. Mobile blog post, a user who just purchased a Windows Mobile 5.0 Palm 700w writes, "I smell a class action lawsuit all over this. There is a tremendous amount of confusion out there. Just look a the other forums. This is turning into a big issue for anyone using an exchange server. We purchased three units and returned them as well the same day, once we realized the DirectPush update was missing. The common opinion is that we were mislead. I took a look at the launch video again, and the 700 was clearly demonstrated WITH the DirectPush capability. Sounds like false advertising to me? I think Palm needs to specifically state when that release is coming or they are going to be faced with a lot of unhappy customers, especially in the enterprise segment! I for one, am going to write a letter directly to Palm's executive management to express my frustration, hopefully they will respond with something concrete."

Apparently, there is a patent lawsuit by Visto against Microsoft's mobile access to email and data technology direct-push technology. This article writes, "What does it mean? It means that end users of Windows Mobile 5.0 devices may never see that push e-mail from Microsoft! It is like patenting DNA or breathing process and then requesting big money from everybody who has DNA or breathes. Clearly Microsoft developed their push technology on their own and Visto's patents are so generic to cover almost anything. This is bad news for Windows Mobile 5.0 platform. Very bad news."

Here we go again. If it's not NTP suiting RIM now we have Visto suing Microsoft over a similar technology concept. :@ This lawsuit was filed BEFORE Microsoft announced MSFP so perhaps Microsoft settled the case. But if so, I didn't hear about it. Then again, I didn't know Visto was suing in the first place!

On top of it all, before I installed Exchange SP2, a co-worker's Treo 650 (Palm OS) was working just fine synchronizing happily with our corporate Exchange Server. Unfortunately, now that functionality no longer works. Searching Google to resolve the issues I was having with ActiveSync as well as OMA and OWA revealed more Microsoft KB articles and "supposed solutions" than I care to share. Though there were some links worth sharing if anyone else is having problems, so here are some of the best ones I found:

Microsoft Troubleshoot Exchange 2003 Always-Up-To-Date Notification:;en-us;822176 - I did these steps. Didn’t do anything.

Event ID: 1503 Event Source: MSExchangeOMA – Saw this in Event Viewer. I just upgraded to NET 2.0. still getting error.

The solution was to reinstall Exchange SP2 (see comments). So simple, yet so frustrating!

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