Microsoft has just responded to Google’s move regarding Exchange ActiveSync. Sadly, instead of addressing the very real problems consumers are about to face, Microsoft starts talking about switching to Outlook.com.
Let’s just start with the cold and harsh facts Microsoft refuses to acknowledge. One, the two major mobile platforms – Android and iOS – support IMAP/CalDAV/CardDAV. Windows Phone and Windows 8 do not. That’s Microsoft’s own fault. Second, EAS is a closed, royalty-bearing standard, patented up the wazzoo. Phasing out its use saves Google money. This, too, is Microsoft’s own doing.
The solutions are staring Microsoft in the face, and they are pretty obvious. First, Microsoft should have been smart and included support for CalDAV and CardDAV from the beginning. Gmail is huge, and Microsoft should have done the math. They should at the very least implement it now. Second, I can’t imagine EAS is that much of a money maker – open it up, Redmond. Money, mouth.
The blog post doesn’t mention any of this, which doesn’t bode well. In fact, the post is highly misleading in that it doesn’t mention CalDAV and CardDAV at all, only stating that IMAP doesn’t support calendars and contacts. While technically true, it’s very misleading.
Now, is Google doing any of this for our greater good? Of course not. However, if their corporate interests happen to align with consumer interests – open standards for something as elementary as syncing seems self-evident to me – then yay for them, and by extension, yay for us.
It seems like Microsoft still thinks it’s the number one technology company, with the ability to dictate the industry. Those days are gone, and Microsoft will have to learn to adopt other people’s technologies – without being forced.
The disease of using closed standards for lock-in is too deep in their blood. It’s simply hard for them to suddenly get cured. Look what pains it took them to cure IE somewhat, and only under real pressure. When pressure will increase may be they’ll cure this one as well. When they’ll also cure the lack of OpenGL support on their platforms – they’ll hit another major milestone, after which MS will probably become history, since they themselves admitted that they can’t survive without using lock-in:
Edited 2012-12-18 00:26 UTC