Google Grants Reprieve to July 31 on Windows Phone ActiveSync Support
Integration of new Google Apps accounts using Microsoft's Exchange ActiveSync technology ends today for some Google Apps users, but Windows Phone users are getting a six-month reprieve, according to Microsoft.
Google had explained its new policy in December as part of a "winter cleaning" of its Google Apps software-as-a-service offerings. Back then, Google indicated that consumer users of free Google Apps products would no longer be able to set up new devices to synchronize using the Google Sync service as of Jan. 30, 2013. Google Sync uses Microsoft's Exchange ActiveSync technology, but Google is switching over to using the CardDAV open protocol for synchronization. Paying Google Apps customers aren't affected by the change, and they can still create new accounts using Google Sync, Google had indicated.
Back in December, Microsoft had indicated that it was "very surprised" by Google's announcement. The company suggested in a blog post that the switch might "degrade" the mobile e-mail experience of some users. Now, it seems that Microsoft and Google Apps users have received a six-month grace period from Google -- at least for mobile users who use Windows Phone.
"We're happy to share today that Google will extend their support for new Windows Phone connections via Google Sync until July 31, 2013," wrote Michael Stroh for Microsoft in a Microsoft blog post today. Stroh added that Microsoft plans to support the CalDAV and CardDAV protocols going forward, along with IMAP, to enable "Windows Phone users to continue to connect to Google services after July 31, 2013."
It's not clear if those using Nokia S60 smartphones got the same reprieve. Google also planned to drop ActiveSync support for new accounts for those older Nokia devices on Jan. 30, 2013, as well as for older Ericsson smartphones.
However, some users of Microsoft's latest desktop operating systems, Windows 8 and Windows RT, are still affected by Google's move to drop Exchange ActiveSync support today, which only affects the setting up of new accounts after January 30, 2013. Microsoft didn't get a reprieve from Google for its desktop OS users in those cases. Instead, those users could experience difficulties today in syncing up new accounts using Microsoft's Calendar, Mail or People apps with Google Apps. Microsoft offered some resources to get around those synchronization problems in a second blog post today.
"If you are trying to connect a Google account after January 30th, 2013 to your PC running Windows 8 and Windows RT using the Mail, People or Calendar apps -- please visit this support article on Windows.com.
"If you have any issues connecting your Google account to your device -- please visit our Microsoft Community where folks there can assist in helping you find answers to your issues."
In its usual helpful manner with regard to Google products, Microsoft's blog post also suggested that users could just simply switch their e-mail service over to Outlook.com.
Despite applying Microsoft's workaround, some Windows 8 and Windows RT users just will not be able to synchronize their Google Calendar app with their Microsoft Windows Calendar app. That's because of Google's decision about how it supports Exchange ActiveSync, according to Microsoft. An explanation on how to sync Google services with Windows 8 and Windows RT is provided at this Microsoft support page. The process involves adding a Google account to a Microsoft account, which is described here. Microsoft also shows how to share an account in the Microsoft account settings in this video.
The new information about the reprieve for Windows Phone users seems to be coming from Microsoft. Google apparently just talked to some press, such as The Verge, about the extended deadline of July 31, 2013 for Windows Phone users. There was no Google announcement posted as of press time.
Kurt Mackie is online news editor for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.