October 12, 2004

Future Treo Support on Exchange -- palmOne & Microsoft Detente?

Even longtime rivals may stand to benefit from strategic partnering: palmOne recently announced its license agreement with Microsoft for providing more direct support for the popular Treo smartphone devices on Microsoft's Exchange messaging platform. Treo's perceived higher device and server integration costs have always been a barrier for broader adoption in corporate enterprises, especially because third-party server integration solutions are presently required.

From palmOne's press release:

"palmOne...licensed Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT) Exchange Server ActiveSync(R) protocol to enable the delivery of secure, wireless and direct synchronization between Microsoft(R) Exchange Server 2003, part of Windows Server System, and future Treo(TM) smartphones. palmOne intends to use the technology to extend the company's device support for Microsoft Exchange Server by adding capability for wireless server-based synchronization."
According to the press release, palmOne will be integrating the Exchange Server ActiveSync protocol into its future devices. Note the emphasis on future.

While BlackBerries have been king in the corporate mobile e-mail market, RIM has struggled in the convergence market -- something they're trying overcome with their latest offerings. Many people just don't want to lug around separate cell phone, BlackBerry, and Palm devices, and have their address books split between them in fragments. The Treo has had the converse experience. While many Treo owners love having everything in one device, it just hasn't been a darling of most IT departments due to the extra research and support of finding and implementing a third-party solution. Thus RIM probably has a better perceived "out of the box" experience with their soup-to-nuts approach between offering the devices and the accompanying BES (BlackBerry Enterprise Server) solution.

In the past, Palm and Handspring were great in making such announcements, but never seemed quite able to deliver on all the hype. Thus it will be quite interesting to see if the relatively new merging between Palm and Handspring, and its new relationship with Exchange, will finally give Treo the entré to the Enterprise it has so desperately been seeking since its debut. While other solutions have existed, Palm-based devices have long needed a more level playing field for the corporate wireless messaging market. This is a great announcement, but now palmOne needs to put its money where its mouth is and execute, execute, execute like never before. They're probably not going to get a better opportunity at the corporate market than direct support with Exchange (and thus Outlook).

Topic(s):   Mobile Tech & Gadgets
Posted by Jeff Beard

I've got to think this is really, really bad news for Goodlink.

Posted by: Mason at October 14, 2004 08:31 AM