Gmail dropping ActiveSync support for new devices — Microsoft ‘very surprised’

The news over the weekend that Google’s Gmail service will be ending support for Microsoft’s Exchange ActiveSync protocol is a blow to Microsoft’s Windows Phone.

The Redmond company’s mobile platform doesn’t support the CalDAV and CardDAV protocols that Google will be rolling out as an alternative, which means that future Windows Phone buyers who use Gmail will be getting their messages more slowly, without the ability to sync calendars or contacts.

Microsoft’s Windows and Windows Phone teams have yet to comment on the move, but the company’s Outlook.com team (formerly Hotmail) says it was “very surprised” by the news.

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,” writes Dharmesh Mehta, Senior Director, Product Management for Outlook.com, in a blog post.

The Redmond company’s proposed solution? Switch to Outlook.com, of course. Mehta’s post outlines the steps for switching from Gmail to the Microsoft webmail service.

It’s an interesting spin on the news, but for many people who rely on Gmail, it’s likely to fall flat, and in some cases the change could keep people from buying Windows Phones in the future.

Is this a repercussion for Microsoft’s aggressively anti-Google PR strategy?

Google’s change will take effect on Jan. 30, affecting new devices but not existing Gmail ActiveSync connections, which will continue to work, according to Google. Also unaffected will be users of Google Apps for Business, Government and Education.

  • Sauceforthegander

    One reason why I switched over to GMail a few years ago was because Microsoft wouldn’t provide any real ability to connect Android to Hotmail. I believe the same was true for iPhone too.

    So, with Google doing the same thing to WP users and Gmail, it’s a bit hard for me to find much sympathy for Microsoft here. They’re just getting their own medicine back.

  • GG002

    I said goodbye to Gmail for good, finally. Thank you Google for giving me a reason to properly start boycotting your services and products. I guess it shows that Google is actually getting concerned about the comeback of Microsoft’s products, and using a little personal vendetta.

    • RoboDan

      It’s more like what comes around goes around and Microsoft should not be surprised. They invented that crappy game after all. And with comeback you mean that negligible marketshare Microsoft has in the mobile and tablet space? Yeah that sounds like a real winner.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lazowska Ed Lazowska

    Here’s what you didn’t note in your post:

    CalDAV and CardDAV are Internet open standards, defined in RFC’s (RFC 4791 and RFC 6352, respectively).

    ActiveSync is a proprietary protocol, controlled by a single company.

    Ultimately, open standards win – for everyone.

    We don’t run DECnet or SNA or AppleTalk or NetBEUI or any of the other proprietary network transport protocols that various companies tried to promulgate – we run TCP/IP.

    Similarly, we use open standards for email and for email attachments, vs.the proprietary protocols that various companies tried to promulgate. And we use open standards for the web, vs. the proprietary extensions that various companies tried to promulgate.

    CalDAV and CardDAV should not be characterized as “protocols that Google will be rolling out” – they are open standards. The world needs openness and interoperability, not proprietary corporate standards.

  • Dave

    I cannot believe Microsoft built a new OS and no support for open standards. This is too bad. I’d been thinking seriously about a windows phone, even with the weak ecosystem for apps, but my personal accounts are on google and that is a show stopper.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lawlam Lawrence Lam

    Talk about getting scroogled

  • Guest

    Shame on Google. I’m glad I connected my existing devices, but I will not advise clients to use Gmail for new installations.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jasondouglasfarris Jason Farris

    Transitioned away from Google already. Again they prove they are not to be trusted.

  • Critic

    I still haven’t met a WinMo user who did not work at MS.

  • guest

    Google needs to be careful. These kind of moves could come back to haunt them when or if they ever end up getting defined as having a search monopoly.