Mobile E-Mail Made Easy

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2006-02-13 Print this article Print

Sony licensing ActiveSync protocol from Microsoft.

E-mail delivered to mobile phones is about to get easier to use in the enterprise, both on the proprietary and open-source fronts.

On Feb. 6, Microsoft announced that Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications has licensed its Exchange ActiveSync protocol to enable more secure, wireless direct synchronization between Exchange Server 2003 and its phones. The first implementation will be on the new Sony Ericsson P990 and M600 phones, which will be available in the second quarter.

Exchange ActiveSync is a data synchronization service that lets mobile users gain access to their e-mail, calendar and contacts and retain access to this information while offline. This latest deal follows similar Exchange ActiveSync license agreements between Microsoft and DataViz, Motorola, Nokia, Palm and Symbian.

Also, on the open-source front, Funambol, a mobile open-source software company in Redwood City, Calif., announced the release of Funambol v3 on Feb. 6, which company officials said is the "first open-source push e-mail product for carriers and enterprises."

Funambols push e-mail capabilities include send, receive and forward functions and allow users to open attachments and check e-mail on- and offline. The server supports Research In Motions BlackBerry, Microsofts Windows Mobile, SyncML-compliant phones and any WAP (Wireless Application Protocol)-enabled phone.

In Microsofts case, those organizations that have deployed Exchange Server 2003 Service Pack 2 will benefit from additional mobile enhancements, such as Direct Push, which provides instant access to newly received e-mail messages, said Jeff Ressler, Microsofts director of product management and planning for Exchange Server, in Redmond, Wash.

For Microsoft, the deal with Sony Ericsson continues its "ongoing commitment to expanding our IP licensing efforts, making it easier for others to license the companys growing IP portfolio based on its significant R&D efforts," Ressler said.

The deal will provide mobile workers with access to their Exchange Server 2003 information, including e-mail, calendar and contacts, wherever they are.

"Mobile workers are increasingly looking for ways to stay connected on the move. The combination of our recently announced P990 and M600 phones together with the Exchange ActiveSync protocol, allows customers to easily manage their Exchange e-mail, calendar and contacts on the move," said Brendan Press, head of enterprise marketing at Sony Ericsson, in London.

"Organizations today require a more secure wireless solution for their mobile workers that is easy to manage and supported by a variety of devices. By licensing Exchange ActiveSync, Sony Ericsson is now able to deliver a comprehensive mobile messaging solution to these customers," Ressler said.

"Open-source software and standards will accelerate mobile e-mail deployments, increase revenue opportunities for carriers and give enterprises more flexibility. We believe that mobile e-mail will quickly become a commodity, so open source is the natural approach to this marketplace," said Fabrizio Capobianco, CEO of Funambol.

Funambol customers such as Ray Espinosa, president of ePLDT, a wholly owned subsidiary of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., the Philippines largest carrier, in Manila, welcomed the latest release.

"Funambol v3 will allow us to better meet the needs of all our customers with branded personal information management and push e-mail services around Sync123, the leading mobile personal information management service in Asia," Espinosa said.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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