“Google” Really Dropping ActiveSync?

The web and enterprise support is buzzing (FYI, not the axed Google service) with news of Google dropping ActiveSync. However, I quickly learned that one must tread carefully amongst all the reactionary panic. The biggest problem I have seen is the unrestrained mixing of the terms “Google” and “Gmail.” When you say Google will drop ActiveSync support, it is a very broad sweeping statement. Howver, “Gmail” is much narrower. At this point, all Google has said is they will no longer provide ActiveSync as a method for syncing with Gmail (except for business, education, and government users). As the text reads, Gmail is the only service impacted by this decision. The announcement says nothing about Android’s support for syncing to an actual Exchange mailbox. Unless something changes, Android will continue to offer EAS for connecting to a Microsoft Exchange organization.

So, when asked what will happen to my users on January 30, 2013, my response is “virtually nothing.” Google says they base this decision off the fact few users sync Gmail over EAS or even use the Windows platform, which stands to be completely cut-off from Gmail (aside from IMAP). From the sounds of it, they are concluding that business users are the primary users of the service and it is time for them to pay a premium for business class service. That sounds like a reasonable conclusion for a business to make. This will not disrupt syncing with Androids connecting to an Exchange organization. Plus, if you are an educational institution using Gmail, ActiveSync will still be available. The only people who will be impacted are the–supposedly few–Gmail users syncing with a Windows device. They will either need to settle for IMAP without calendars and contacts, get a new device, never ever get a new device, or plead with Microsoft to adopt CardDAV and CalDAV, which is probably the route Google wants you to go.

Like Java, Microsoft’s proprietary protocol has been targeted by Google.


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