Apple finally acknowledges iPhone's Exchange support

Apple finally acknowledges iPhone's Exchange support

Summary: Last June, my sources said that Apple licensed Microsoft's ActiveSync protocol, enabling the iPhone to users connect to Exchange Server and make use of its wireless messaging and synchronization capabilities. But it took until today, March 5, for Apple -- and Microsoft -- to acknowledge this licensing arrangement.

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In June 2007, my sources said that Apple had licensed Microsoft's ActiveSync protocol, enabling the iPhone to users connect to Exchange Server and make use of its wireless messaging and synchronization capabilities. But it took until today, March 5, for Apple -- and Microsoft -- to acknowledge this licensing arrangement.

A Microsoft spokeswoman just sent me this note via e-mail:

"Today, Microsoft will be on hand at Apple headquarters as Apple announces it has licensed Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync for the iPhone. The agreement means iPhones will have built-in mobile access to Microsoft Exchange Server, letting users send and receive wireless email, manage their calendars, and view and edit tasks and contacts virtually anytime, anywhere."

Apple has been pushing to make the iPhone as appealing to business users as consumers. The ActiveSync licensing deal is one step toward realization of this goal.

Apple said today that they will build ActiveSync support right into the iPhone. What this brings users, as Microsoft explains on its Web site:

"Exchange ActiveSync enables a mobile phone to synchronize email, calendars, tasks, and contacts with Exchange Server over the air."

Microsoft makes the ActiveSync protocol available to interested parties via a pre-established licensing agreement. From Microsoft’s Web site:

“Microsoft offers a commercially reasonable, nonexclusive license so that other companies can use the Exchange ActiveSync Protocol in their own products. Microsoft will license its trade secrets and necessary patent claims for implementation of the protocol specification.

“Microsoft offers a license for this mobile device synchronization protocol for Exchange Server 2003 and 2007 with documentation. The Exchange ActiveSync Protocol license is for a five-year term and based on annual projected sales volumes."

While standard ActiveSync licensing costs vendors $100,000 or first-year’s royalties, whichever is higher, with a per unit royalty thereafter, the rates are negotiable, Microsoft has said.

A number of phone vendors, including Nokia, Palm, Motorola and Sony Ericsson, already offer devices that sync with Exchange using ActiveSync. Now Apple officially can be added to that list.

Does Apple's support for ActiveSync make the iPhone more appealing to you?

Topics: Enterprise Software, Apple, Collaboration, iPhone, Microsoft, Mobility, Software

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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19 comments
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  • Thank the EU! Cooperation at last!

    With Windows Mobile being relegated to third in market
    share with the introduction of the iPhone, Microsoft could
    have really make it difficult to license Exchange access to
    Apple.

    Guess what? The more than $1 billion in fines in Europe
    have taught MS that predatory practices will cost more
    than they can make from them - finally.

    Thanks, Brussels. We now have real competition and even
    Microsoft is becoming more a company that I can admire!
    Who'd a thought!!!
    mlindl
    • What are you talking about?

      MS has always been willing to license their technology.
      mdemuth
      • At ridiculous fees

        If you followed the EU story, it wasn't until MS was hit with
        some serious fines that they brought their license fees down.
        In the beginning, some of their fees were as high as 14%
        royalties!
        frgough
        • Exchange has always....

          ...been reasonable to license. Its one of the few things that didn't cost a fortune to license.
          Stuka
    • Not even close.

      You do realize that the 1 billion plus "fine" the EU imposed is a drop in the bucket compared to the revenue MS has collected in the EU over the last three years?

      Your post is about as logical as claiming the EU's "fine" of MS finally brought spring around, ending the winter.
      rtk
    • Do people seriously....

      ...use logic like this in real life? How the hell do you find your way home? Bread crumbs?
      DCMann
    • Me thinks you may just a little off on the blame...

      If Apple had licensed it back in June '07, what took them so long to make it available?

      Couldn't be Stevey Boy had anything to do weith it...could it? Nahhhhhh!
      IT_Guy_z
  • RE: Apple finally acknowledges iPhone's Exchange support

    From the standpoint of an IT support professional, yes!
    kchristian
  • RE: Apple finally acknowledges iPhone's Exchange support

    I would still like an iphone but it still has some serious problems in the corp world:

    * Encryption
    * Remote wipe

    are the two biggies that come to mind now.
    frankwick
  • They do have remote wipe!

    And I believe they have encryption, too. Check the Enterprise link from Apple's main page.

    It really does sound like Apple took a laundry list of things needed to make the iPhone acceptable for the workplace and checked them all off. I wouldn't be surprised if something's missing, but short of BlackBerry support, it's all there.
    jonfingas
    • yup

      Remote wipe, but there's nothing about encryption beyond the connections. The device needs complete encryption, and hopefully a revamping of the security model, OS X's "hide my head in the sand and nobody will notice" won't cut it in the corporate wireless world.
      rtk
  • RE: Apple finally acknowledges iPhone's Exchange support

    So now all Apple has to do is install WM7.0 on the device, add a slide out keyboard, oh and ask HTC to make it and it will be perfect!
    simon@...
  • RE: Apple finally acknowledges iPhone's Exchange support

    Well, for me, first it'd have to support Nortel Contivity VPN connections to be able to connect to our company's network, before I could even connect to our Exchange server.
    chris.gordon
  • My main question.

    So can I connect a user iPhone to my Exchange Server without ever having to have iTunes installed ANYWHERE on my network? If that's possible, I'll consider it.
    DCMann
    • same deal here.

      the iPhone might be considered, but iTunes is banned and has been for years now.
      rtk
  • RE: Apple finally acknowledges iPhone's Exchange support

    Well, the worst news are, I don't need an iPhone.
    dimitri.aguero@...
  • RE: Apple finally acknowledges iPhone's Exchange support

    Yes, iPhone supports Exchange, but is it secure? If you read Glen Gruman's article in Infoworld ( http://www.infoworld.com/d/mobilize/apple-betrays-iphones-business-hopes-723 ) the iPhone does NOT support on device encryption between your device and your Exchange Server to keep your data safe!!
    bellsworth@...
  • iPhone 4 Sync solutions to Avoid

    With the release of iPhone iOS 4 there are several exchange 2003 solutions to avoid:
    You can view more at: http://computerrepairservice.net/blog/iphone-4-exchange-2003/

    1. Install Configure Outlook Anywhere within IIS / Exchange. [FALSE] RPC/HTTP : You will view this suggestion all the time on google. Great way to connect your Outlook 2007/2003 clients to your server, but has nothing to do with ActiveSync.

    2. Need AT&T Business Data Plan for Exchange to Sync. [FALSE] Again, save your money. I am not sure why AT&T has this ploy. Their regular data plan works fine with Exchange.

    3. Resetting the IPHONE to factory defaults. [FALSE] Have not seen many times where a factory reset fixed a sync issue.

    4. Exchange 2003 Does not Support iPhone. [FALSE] Nice try! But the iPhone 2.0, 2.2, 3.0, 3.1, 4 works perfectly with Microsoft Exchange 2003 Server.

    5. IMAP Port 143, 993 open on firewall. [FALSE] Old school. You want Activesync working. These ports are not necessary for Activesync. Activesync works over TCP port 443 [you only need one port open on the firewall]
    technokoz
  • RE: Apple finally acknowledges iPhone's Exchange support

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