I am Ed Hott, the Director of Business Development for Microsoft Exchange with primary responsibility for the Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) protocol licensing. There have been a few questions recently around our work with partners in licensing the ActiveSync protocol so I want to provide some information that I hope will clear things up.
We license the ActiveSync protocol so that other mobile devices can interact with Exchange in the same rich and efficient way that Windows Mobile does. Our goal is to enable customers to use their favorite mobile device(s) with Exchange – even if that device isn’t a Windows Mobile device. With that in mind, ActiveSync licensees have access to the exact same functionality through the protocol that we provide to Windows Mobile. Nothing in the protocol is reserved for Microsoft-only use.
The Exchange team is investing heavily in enabling mobile scenarios for our customers, and our licensees are an important part of that. We feel both excited and fortunate to have a great set of licensees already working to implement the ActiveSync protocol in their products. As part of our program, we provide early access to builds and review product plans with each licensee regularly. Because of the nature of our business (i.e. we, Microsoft, are also a competitor) there are limits to how much our licensees want to share with us, but it is fair to say that interaction between our companies is substantial and supportive.
My comments are in no way intended to imply that we aren’t 100% behind Windows Mobile nor believe that Windows Mobile doesn’t have a bright future. We are and it does. But we also recognize that customer preferences vary widely when it comes to mobile devices, and having lots of choices is a good thing for Exchange customers.
You can find a list of publicly announced Exchange ActiveSync protocol licensees in Exchange ActiveSync Protocol.
And I believe DataViz RoadSync Technology Preview for Exchange Service Pack 2 is the first publicly announced offering from an ActiveSync licensee with support for SP2.
As always, we welcome your feedback and look forward to a continued dialogue.
Update 5/4/2012: Last year we introduced the Exchange ActiveSync Logo Program to establish baseline for EAS functionality in mobile email devices. More details in Announcing the Exchange ActiveSync Logo Program.