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Apple To Add Exchange Support to iPhones

Is Apple acknowledging the power and ubiquity of Microsoft's messaging platform? That might be a stretch, but the company has announced a forthcoming update to its iPhone 2.0 software that will include built-in support for Microsoft's Exchange ActiveSync.

Rumors about the addition of native Exchange compatibility in the iPhone have been in the works since last summer, with one such report appearing on Mary Jo Foley's "All About Microsoft" blog on June 26, 2007.

Terry Myerson, corporate vice president for Exchange, admitted in a press release that Redmond "started talking with Apple about licensing Exchange ActiveSync before the launch of the iPhone last year."

Apple's iPhones could already access Exchange Server-based e-mails, but the process involves convoluted settings and opening a network to potential security vulnerabilities.

Apple's licensing of ActiveSync allows the company to develop its own front-end as well as gain secure access to, and abide by, security policies on an Exchange Server 2007 over the air. That the support is built-in means that admins can provide configuration and connection settings and package it for iPhone users to download and install securely.

Apple's ActiveSync licensing was part of a larger announcement the company made about the release of a beta version of its iPhone software development kit.

The iPhone 2.0 software and the SDK will be free to iPhone customers and is expected to be released in its final form at the end of June.

Apple joins a long list of device manufacturers -- which includes Motorola, Nokia and Palm -- that already license Exchange ActiveSync. Apple claims 28 percent of the smartphone market, with 4 million sold since its release up to January 2008.

About the Author

Michael Domingo has held several positions at 1105 Media, and is currently the editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine.

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