back to article Google v Microsoft mobile war: Who's REALLY to blame?

Microsoft first learned about Google's plans to drop support for Redmond's ActiveSync for those signing up for a free Google account last summer, but now it wants the search giant to delay the decision, according to a report. Google's plan to drop push email, calendar and contacts syncing via the ActiveSync protocol emerged …


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  1. Philomena Cunk

    Windows Phone is doing a great job of being a 2nd class product

    without Google's help at all.

    1. dogged

      Re: Windows Phone is doing a great job of being a 2nd class product

      Your posting history reveals a curiously single-tracked mind.

      An alt? Or a dungspreader*?

      *opposite of an astroturfer

    2. TheVogon

      Re: Windows Phone is doing a great job of being a 2nd class product

      Nokia has returned to profit, ending an 18-month spell during which it piled up losses of more than €4bn (£3.36bn).

      The Finnish mobile phone maker reported an operating profit of €439m, compared with a loss of nearly €1bn a year ago, as consumer demand for its smartphones revived and the decision to slash its workforce by 20,000 helped to cut costs. The company has returned to growth, with net sales up 11% on the previous quarter to €8bn.

      In a sign that the Windows operating system used in Nokia's heavily marketed flagship Lumia handsets is beginning to gain traction, the key devices and services division also returned to profit.

  2. Keep Refrigerated

    It's amusing to watch...

    Years of lock-in, becoming locked-out.

    1. Anomalous Cowturd
      Thumb Up

      Re: It's amusing to watch...

      Biter bit?

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: It's amusing to watch...

        And bitter bite.

        1. Great Bu

          Re: It's amusing to watch...

          ...and battered burp ?

  3. jaduncan

    Typical MS

    It's not that curious, it's SOP for MS. They prioritised the fancy UI, and didn't bother to fill in standards support.* My sympathy for them if they really had that much warning is pretty much zero.

    *and, indeed, for WinPhone 7 didn't even bother to do dual core before release and screwed over all their customers 1 year later.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Typical MS

      WP7 was based on Windows CE, an embedded OS that was dreamt up when dual core was a dream. Desktop CPUs were around 75Mhz when CE was first around.

      Making the normal Windows kernel work on a phone was going to take some time. They needed to get into the market fast, not wait another 1.5 years to launch their new smartphone platform.

      1. Fazal Majid

        Re: Typical MS

        Android is based on Linux, which ran on 25MHz machines when it first came out in 1990 or so, and iOS on Darwin, which is based on Mach/Xnu, which originally ran on even older 68030 machines. WinCE's lack of upwards scalability is due to its being crippled by design.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "it's part of a bigger picture that Microsoft paints..."

    "...of Google making Windows Phone a second class citizen"

    I would say that Microsoft themselves are doing an excellent job, in that regard.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft steps on a land mine they left for the others....

    "Doh!" - that's gotta hurt.

    (snigger giggle - another microsoft epic fail)

  6. Vehlin
    Thumb Down

    What about Push Mail

    CalDAV and CardDAV are all well and good for Calendars and Contacts, these can be added in the future.

    The main issue from my perspective is the loss of push email. I've always used the Gmail Exchange sync option on iOS, Android and now WP8 as it allowed me to get my email into a unified inbox by push rather than having to wait for it to be polled via IMAP.

    Google dropping ActiveSync means no push mail on any platform unless you use the GMail app (which IIRC just polls the server repeatedly).

    1. Rich 2

      IMAP IDLE?

      IMAP does a very good job at (unnecessary relatively recent buzz word) "push" email - it's called IDLE. It works. It's a well understood and supported standard. But like so many things, it's not MS-specific so MS won't support it.

      I DO find all this very very funny - watching MS squirm over something that they have been doing since year dot. Oh, how times change.

      1. frank ly

        @Rich 2 Re: IMAP IDLE?

        Big fat 'yes' from me. K9 mail app on my Android is set for IMAP and PUSH on all my accounts and no polling. I get notification of an e-mail within seconds of it being received. How do I know? - I've tested it.

        1. GBE

          Re: @Rich 2 IMAP IDLE?

          > Big fat 'yes' from me. [...] no polling.

          Any decent IMAP client has supported "PUSH" notification via IDLE for _years_.

          The IMAP protocol has it's ugly bits, but it's well documented, widely implemented and just plain works. Even the MS Exchange IMAP server supports push notification via IDLE [they do a rather shabby job of it compared to other servers, but it works well enough to be usable]. The GTK-based notification widget I wrote uses IMAP IDLE to get push notification from Exchange, GMail, and Dovecot all day every day, and it works fine.]

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What about Push Mail

      Just move to Outlook.Com (which is a better UI than GMail anyway, and Microsoft dont sell the contents of your email to advertisers) and forward your old GMail email addresses....

  7. h3

    Activesync works loads better than Google's imap implementation. (Google's web interface is getting less usable - so much wasted space there is an option to switch some icons for text but it still wastes tons of space. (Possibly for ad's that I have no interest in seeing)).

    I don't really care about whether something looks a certain way (I don't care if it is outright ugly as long as it is obvious how to use it).

    Even on my Android tablet I use the seven + microsoft email client more than gmail. (For just simple stuff like forwarding files or a quick reminder of something anyway). Push email is just as fast.

    It is annoying that Outlook 2013 exchange activesync cannot be used with Google.

    (For the moment I use my Google accounts via WP7 or the Windows 8 Mail client.)

    When there is something that makes me put in more effort to do something. (Google probably make the interface in gmail be it web or app as complicated as possible to make more time be spent looking at their crappy ad's). There has to be something that is beneficial for me for me to be interested. (If a reasonable alternative exists anyway.)

    1. Paul Shirley

      Are you sure you're using gmail right? Can't see any ads on it. Not in the browser, not in the gmail app on my phone. Don't remember doing anything clever to kill them either.

      The UI is fscking awful though ;)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        it's not just awful

        It changes often enough to make it less-than-useful.

  8. dogged

    Who's REALLY to blame? - headline

    That's a question that's asking for trouble if I ever saw one.

    There's people here who'd blame Microsoft for their ingrown toenail. Hell, dear old Barry Shitpeas once blamed MS for a fire in a Sony warehouse during the London Riots.

    As I understand it, Google told MS they'd be axing EAS support on free accounts sometime last summer but they didn't say when. Internal MS folks say they repeatedly tried to get a timeframe from Mountain View without success but that's just their story - doubtless the Chocolate Factory would tell a different tale.

    So that leaves the final notification of cut-off as the same as the Google press release. Not a great deal of time, really.

    Who's to blame? Really?

    Probably some accountant at Google trying to reduce the EAS licensing cost and make the year-end figures look better.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Who's REALLY to blame? - headline

      You forgot to mention here the patent lawsuits Microsoft has brought on several Android phone manufacturers. When MS general counsel Horatio Gutierez was talking about their precious IP portfolio, well ActiveSync was the object of one or many of those patents used to make Android prohibitively expensive for manufacturers.

      Now Google doesn't want anymore to put at risk their OEMs by inducing them to infringe on MS precious IP.

    2. P. Lee

      Re: Who's REALLY to blame? - headline

      Who's to blame?

      Support the standards which are there for inter-operability or stew in your own proprietary hell.

      MS should have written to the standards to start with.

  9. dz-015

    "CalDAV and CardDAV methods, which are widely supported by industry"

    Really? Which industry?? Certainly not the one I work in, sadly.

  10. NoneSuch Silver badge

    I suspect a Google vs. Microsoft war in the mobile phone arena would be similar in scale to China vs. Tibet.

  11. Singlewhip

    Yeah, SOP. Also...

    I guess this is worth an article because it eventually will affect actual people. But one giant messing with another - that's just SOP.

    More important, for me, is the title's use of CAPS. REALLY? Seems to be a trend, and that's bad. Your RSS feed is starting to look like Fox news'.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Yeah, SOP. Also...

      Yes, we use capital letters.


  12. Anonymous Coward

    Who's really to blame?

    The US patent system in my opinion.

    Because almost all of those fights involve around patents. In fact; more than often do I get the feeling that these guys are so busy fighting each other in court that they forget what this is all about in the end.

    Instead of trying to thwart the other party why not try to come up with a better product yourselves?

    IMO that goes especially for Microsoft. They're so obsessed with Google and "Google functionality" these days that they seem to totally forget that there are a lot of Mobile users out there with lots of feature suggestions (you need to be logged on with your Microsoft account).

    Instead of trying to fight Google why not release a new version of the Outlook Hotmail connector. You know; one which allows me to sync my todo items over the Internet?

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Who's really to blame?

      It was interesting that a recent Reg article about proposed changes to the USPTO attracted far fewer comments about patents than you would find on any given story about Apple. Oh well.

  13. bailey86

    After trying a WinPho8 again today I figured out why I don't like it

    Trying to be fair I've had several tries on a WinPho 8 to evaluate it - and today I've worked out why I feel - umm.. - errr... - don't like it.

    It's simple really - you don't seem to have multiple screens like you have on iOS and Android. All apps are on the front screen with the idea being that your most common ones are near the top. Then you swipe to the right and can see a full app list.

    But I like to set up my screens for specific tasks - for example - nothing which costs money if accidentally touched on the main (middle) screen - so only tools like calculator, torch, camera etc as well as widgets for clock and calendar which I want to see straight away. Next screen is for messaging stuff; texts, twitter, mail, skype as well as a row for settings; mobile, wifi, hotspot etc.

    So, MS seem to have decided how your phone should be used - whereas iOS and Android allow you to set up the phone for your own needs. And my guess is that there are as many setups as there are users!

    Also, I think users like to personalise their phones - and large Android widgets are a nice and easy way to do that.

  14. Herby


    Google vs. Microsoft seems similar to the eastern front in WW2. For us in the "west", it was one part that we really didn't want either to win, although one of the protagonists WAS fighting a common enemy, so we backed them.

    I'll leave it to the reader to assign characters to the struggle, which implies who to support.

    I also do not mention the leaders, as that would come close to invoking Godwin's Law, which I really don't want to do.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    > But it's part of a bigger picture that Microsoft paints, of Google making Windows Phone a second class citizen.

    I nearly pissed myself when I read that.

    As a long-time Linux user, it's nice to see that long awaited come-uppence.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Cut off Date

    I have a feeling this cut off will be in Beta for at least 6 years....

  17. Jason Hindle

    Perhaps if Microsoft shared a little love around

    And made ActiveSync an open, free to license specification, then perhaps people like Google would play nice with them. Oh, hang on a minute; that ship has likely already sailed.

    That said, I still think Google might have shot themselves in the foot here. Like Blackberry before it, ActiveSync is now pretty much the de facto standard for push email, and Google surely knows it would be suicide to remove this from the Android mail client so why remove it from Google?

    1. ChrisInAStrangeLand

      Re: Perhaps if Microsoft shared a little love around

      The reason is that Google pays a per user license. They're not paying Microsoft to make email work on non-standards compliant Microsoft phones.

      If Microsoft wanted the could offer Activesync royalty free to Win8 phones. Boom, problem solved. But what they really want a scapegoat in the antitrust trial they just lost.

  18. Pat 4

    Something about "hoisted" and "petards" come to mind...

  19. rcorrect

    The irony! Just like the time lawyers for Julian Assange complained about documents related to rape investigation against him being leaked. Isn't it beautiful?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Switched to

    With my own domain, free, push email on iPhone.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    This is ridiculous. Microsoft make a profit and a whole business out of making those who do not use Microsoft products and technologies as second class citizens.

    How about Microsoft release an Exchange connector for Thunderbird or other email clients on a Linux platform? Until then they have no argument.

    Well done Google for enforcing industry standards.

  22. P. Lee

    Push Email


    I do have to ask though, is polling that bad? Are we so short of resources that we'll re-engineer email systems to avoid imap polling?

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