David Szpunar: Lead Engineer, PC Help Services

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March 6th, 2008 at 1:55 pm Print This Post Print This Post

Apple’s iPhone Getting Exchange ActiveSync! And Google does Outlook Sync, too

All I can say is: it’s about time. The only reason I can see for Apple not including ActiveSync capabilities (push email, calendar, and more synchronized directly with an Exchange server, just like Windows Mobile devices and some Palm devices) when the iPhone was released was that they needed the money from iPhone sales to pay Microsoft’s licensing fees. Or something, I really have no idea, I was just unimpressed with this oversight, which made the iPhone anywhere from less useful to not useful to anyone whose company ran an Exchange server. But when this update is released for the iPhone, it should get a lot easier to support iPhone’s on an enterprise level! This is one more thing I’ll be able to say “yes” to as needed, even though I’ve only had one or two requests internally so far. Oh yeah, and they’re releasing an SDK for the iPhone as well, so developers can build native applications. I think the ActiveSync announcement is a bigger deal, actually, but that’s yet to be seen and is just my opinion. (And you know what they say about opinions. “If you read blogs, you obviously value the opinions of others.” Well, that’s probably not what you were expecting…) Thanks to Andrew Mitry for the link, in the #citrt chat room.

UPDATE: Chris Green linked to more details about the iPhone and ActiveSync straight from Microsoft. Microsoft’s Terry Myerson, VP of for Exchange, said, “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.”

UPDATE at 3:15 pm: Apple has an Enterprise website for the iPhone including a beta signup to test the iPhone with ActiveSync using the iPhone 2.0 software! (hat tip to Jason Lee in the #citrt chat.)

Google also jumped on the synchronization bandwagon with its own Google Calendar Sync utility to keep your Google Calendar and Microsoft Outlook calendar up to date (two-way or one-way). It’s not ActiveSync and it doesn’t sync with Exchange, but I can see a use for this even for personal use where friends have Google Apps set up and want to sync with their phones, but their phones will only sync with Outlook. Another, over-the-air option I’ve heard about is GooSync, but I don’t have any experience with that yet. It sounds good but I’ve heard mixed opinions. Thanks to Scott, also in the #citrt chat room, for this piece of news!

And don’t forget about the Church IT Podcast episode recording in just a few minutes this afternoon! (It’s at 2 pm Easter via TalkShoe on Thursday the 6th, so if you’re reading this later–it may be over for this week, come back in two weeks!)