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Will The iPhone Support Microsoft Exchange?

For much of the last six months, bloggers and reporters operated under the assumption that the iPhone would not support major enterprise platforms like BlackBerry Enterprise Server or Microsoft Exchange. That may change tomorrow, though, if Microsoft blogger Mary Jo Foley is correct. According to her the iPhone will support Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync.
For much of the last six months, bloggers and reporters operated under the assumption that the iPhone would not support major enterprise platforms like BlackBerry Enterprise Server or Microsoft Exchange. That may change tomorrow, though, if Microsoft blogger Mary Jo Foley is correct. According to her the iPhone will support Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync.Here is a look at Foley's scoop:


While I can't speak to Apple's plans regarding Blackberry and Good, my sources are saying Apple can and will make the iPhone compatible with Exchange Server.

Here's what I'm hearing: Apple will announce this week - possibly as soon as June 27 - that it has licensed the Exchange ActiveSync licensing protocol. Via the licensing arrangement, Apple iPhone users will be able to connect to Exchange Server and make use of its wireless messaging and synchronization capabilities.

I've asked both Microsoft and Apple for comments on this supposedly imminent announcement. No word from Apple so far.

So it looks like Apple has licensed Exchange ActiveSync. Does this mean that full Exchange support is also in the cards? Or a possible deal with RIM for BlackBerry Connect?

Earlier this year, mobile business analysts like Gartner's Ken Dulaney cautioned enterprises to steer clear of the iPhone:


If AT&T announces that it will be marketing the phone to enterprise customers, "we'd be against it," said Ken Dulaney, an analyst with Gartner, who said he hasn't heard of such a plan from the operator. "We'd immediately tell our customers that'd be a very serious mistake."

No matter what kind of reputation a vendor has, if it's making its first phone, Dulaney would be unlikely to recommend it. "Building a phone is one of the most difficult things to do," he said.

Also, the iPhone is expected to have a number of shortcomings for business users, he said. For example, it doesn't have a removable battery. "You'd be crazy to buy without that," Dulaney said. The phone has multiple processors, which consumes more battery life than single processors, he said.

But many of these recommendations were made under the assumption that the iPhone wouldn't support Exchange. If this rumor proves true, will this change the way IT managers see the iPhone? Could it open the way for the iPhone to hit the enterprise in 2007? What do you think?