Microsoft To Give RIM The Netscape Treatment

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Steve Ballmer announces new features for Windows Mobile 5.0 that will support wireless options in Exchange Server 2003 SP2.

At the Tech Ed conference in Orlando, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer spoke to developers about the Messaging and Security Feature Pack. While the premise of the pack will be better device data management and security, the included Direct Push Technology seems to be the real focus.

Microsoft To Give RIM The Netscape Treatment

The feature pack includes Direct Push Technology, which keeps the business user’s Outlook Mobile up to date by delivering information quickly and directly to a Windows Mobile-based device from Exchange Server, without requiring businesses to pay for additional and costly servers or middleware, Microsoft stated in a press release.

That would indicate a shot across the bow of Research In Motion and of Good Technologies. Both companies license push e-mail software to businesses. As Netscape learned several years ago, Microsoft’s entry into a market with a free product does not bode well for future business prospects.

Netscape had been selling their browser for $59. Microsoft dropped Internet Explorer into the market for free. Netscape never recovered as a business.

Microsoft describes the technology as pushing e-mail, calendar, and contact information to Outlook Mobile. New support for the Tasks feature will be included, as is the ability to search a global address list on an Exchange server from the mobile device.

Outlook data sent between Exchange Server and a Windows Mobile-based device will be significantly compressed, enabling faster transfer and synchronization of data.

The security features will appeal to corporate IT administrators. Certificate based authentication has been a requested security feature; that keeps users from having to store login credentials on the mobile.

Admins can remotely set security policies, and can erase data from lost devices. Also, they can set a maximum number of login attempts on a device that, if exceeded, will wipe data as well.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.

Microsoft To Give RIM The Netscape Treatment
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