In Apple's footsteps: Google licenses Microsoft ActiveSync

In Apple's footsteps: Google licenses Microsoft ActiveSync

Summary: Microsoft's ActiveSync licensing program is continuing full-steam ahead.Last year, Apple acknowledged it had licensed ActiveSync to enable better synchronization between Exchange Server and the iPhone.


Microsoft's ActiveSync licensing program is continuing full-steam ahead.

Last year, Apple acknowledged it had licensed ActiveSync to enable better synchronization between Exchange Server and the iPhone.  ActiveSync, as explained on Microsoft's Web site, is "a communication protocol that enables mobile, 'over-the-air' access to your e-mail messages, schedules, contacts, tasks lists, and other Exchange Server mailbox data.

On February 9, Microsoft announced that Google had become the latest ActiveSync licensee. Google apparently is licensing ActiveSync in order to allow tighter synchronization between Exchange and its  newly unveiled Google Sync service.

(Just to be clear: Google didn't announce it was licensing ActiveSync; Microsoft announced it for them. Today's announcement on the Google blog never mentions ActiveSync at all. Instead it mentions Windows Mobile.)

Google's Google Sync sounds very much like the Microsoft My Phone (Skybox) service that the Redmondians are slated to launch next week at the World Mobile Congress show in Barcelona.

Microsoft has licensed ActiveSync to a number of mobile vendors, including Nokia, Palm, Sony Ericsson and others. The standard fee Microsoft charges its ActiveSync licensees is $100,000 "or first-year’s royalties, whichever is higher, with a per unit royalty thereafter."

Topics: Collaboration, Apple, Enterprise Software, Google, Microsoft, Software


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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  • bad move

    Google should have rejected any M$ technology or tax and implement only FOSS protocols.
    Linux Geek
    • In a perfect world....

      Maybe, but its not perfect and Google could still profit off this move as well if they can bring some corporate accounts over to the android. We live in a world of dollars and cents, well not so much cents any more, but for sure dollars and alot of them. $Google$ is no different so don't make them out to be. You just pay for google in an in-direct way when you buy any products that are advertised on google's site. I think it is a good move for them to make on a strategic level.
    • I disagree...

      ...well partially. I don't see anything wrong with it. I'm interested in seeing if they will push this into Android since so many people complained about the lack of Exchange connectivity.

      However sometimes I feel like these opportunities could be used to advance an open ecosystem. But Android isn't going to reach the popularity it needs to pull that ecosystem along if it doesn't first place nice with the current ecosystem.
      • ActiveSync....

        I wish they would make ActiveSync a more widespread standard, or something just like it. So much better than iMap or ,>Shutter<, POP.
        • Whoops

          meant to start a new thread.
  • The Microsoft of 10 years ago would never have allowed it

    Just a note to those who bash Microsoft... the Microsoft of 10 years ago would never have allowed Apple nor Google to license ActiveSync, but would have used it as a weapon to hamper Apple and Google's ability to compete in the smartphone market. And they'd have likely faced antitrust scrutiny for it.

    Things have definitely changed.
    • 10 years ago neither Apple or Google

      had a phone platform, so who can say what Microsoft would have, or would not have done.

      I think that has more to do with it then anything else.
    • ActiveSync 2.0 will fix this.

      MS will get features that only work on WM phones. Right now MS is trying to maintain their MS Exchange and Outlook market share and earn a some royalties from the iPhone and Android success. They are not losing sight of the $$$ in this. This is a strange for MS, but not when you examine it.
  • Good to see...

    Apple and Google following Nokia's lead because they've had this for ages.
    Sleeper Service
  • Just $100,000?

    Eventhough it's the standard fee alone...just $100,000? Would seem like it should be a bigger number...
    • What are you smoking?? 100k is a heck a lot

      of money just for a sync SW
      • What's he smoking? How 'bout you!

        It's called the cost of doing business. There are millions of users out there with Exchange accounts who could take advantage of Activesync, and most of them are business users (read expense accounts.) Don't feel sorry for Google. If they didn't think they could make a profit off of you with this license, then they wouldn't do it.
        • It's extortion

          This for EMAIL. Heck, outlook (outbreak) isn't even real email. What
          a proprietary mess. And it certainly doesn't scale well, despite what
          Microsoft has to say about it. It's simply criminal that they push this
          to all the admins (must give them a lot of control, it offers very little
          over real email for the users and is far less secure) and yet they can't
          be bothered to produce a version of outlook for anything but
          Windows. (MSFT released a fairly complete version of outlook for Mac
          OS 9 only as Apple was trying to get people to move to OS X.) They
          will never include it with MS Office--Entourage is a joke.

          It was smart of Apple to license it though. But, knowing Microsoft as
          only a Mac user can, I'd bet they won't license it for a competing
          platform. The monopoly isn't threatned by licensing to cell phones,
          that just helps sell the overpriced servers, and we all know WinMob is
          a joke. Outbreak/Exchange most definitely been used as a weapon
          against all windows competition (Mac and LInux).

          • ^^^^ this guy is clueless.

            and unclever puns only make you look like a tool.

            I'd refute your points however everything you wrote is patently false.

            So the next time you feel like spouting off about something you obviously know nothing about do us all a favor and, don't.
          • Really, care to address my points specifically?

            For one, that Outlook/exchange is used as a weapon to protect the
            monopoly? How is this not true?

            That Outlook was only release for OS 9 when OX X came out. (nice move
            there, MS).

            Talk about clueless....
  • A question of when.

    Somewhere, someone is plotting a copyright violation
    court case. It will be based on some obscure patent they
    bought sometime ago but never used.
  • No choice

    Google had no choice. Just trying to survive in a monopoly controlled industry.
  • RE: In Apple

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