Tuesday, 18 December 2012 12:39

Google Drops Active Sync For Free Gmail Accounts

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We have already told you that Google is pulling their free version of Google docs/apps for groups. This move has upset more than a few small businesses that were using the free service as an alternative to paying the licensing for Microsoft Office or even Office 365. Now Google is removing something else from their free offering that not only has end users upset, but is earning them some criticism from Microsoft. Google is pulling the support for Active-sync from their free version of Google Apps and Gmail.

Now, from Google’s point of view they feel that Active-Sync is not needed at the free level simply because they are trying to remove the number of businesses that are using Google Apps and Gmail as their primary email client and still grabbing mail from Exchange. Now we are not sure why someone would do this in the first place to be honest with you. Exchange has its own webmail interface and one that is quite functional to begin with. Still, we have seen people do some crazy things simply because they want to keep a familiar interface.

For Microsoft’s part they are criticizing Google for the move and saying that this should encourage people to switch to Microsoft’s Office 365. Dharmesh M. Mehta posted in a blog post; “It means that many people currently using Gmail for free are facing a situation where they might have to degrade their mobile email experience by downgrading to an older protocol that doesn't sync your calendar or contacts, doesn't give you direct push of new email messages and doesn't have all the benefits of Exchange ActiveSync.”
strike-throughMehta then goes on to give detailed information on how to sign up for an Outlook.com email account. Oddly though they crossed out the information about Exchange 2013 integration for Outlook.com email… Still we know that Microsoft is working hard to compete against both Google and Apple in the cloud space and we are not surprised to see them push Outlook.com (formerly Hotmail) as an alternative to Gmail and Google Apps. We expect to see Microsoft try to push Office 365 and Outlook.com every time Google does something unusual from this point forward.

What we are interested in knowing is; who are Google and Microsoft aiming these move at? In the consumer market there is a small number of people that would use or need active-sync. Sure they might use it with their mobile phone, but if this is part of a BYOD program then the organization will probably not want them to use the Gmail connector on their phone or tablet anyway. Using Gmail by-passes many of the built in Exchange security features like the ability to remote wipe the device and also allows the email to be maintained in someone’s Gmail account (not something you would want if you are concerned about data security).

We guess that, in the end, this move will not really affect many people, but Microsoft saw an opportunity to grab a few extra outlook.com users on the back of what is really an unimportant announcement and one that Google is probably using to keep their operating costs down on the increasing number of free accounts they have.

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Read 3222 times Last modified on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 12:46

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