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By Guy Kewney  |  Posted 2005-03-10 Print this article Print

What else do we know about Magneto? It has the effect of unifying the Windows Mobile code base. Pocket PC and Windows Smartphone become much closer. Nothing to bother RIM there. What else? Well, something to do with Exchange, we know. Most corporate e-mail is either "Notice Loads" or "ChangeX" (remarked the bastard operator from hell once). RIM, naturally, was doing very well selling its e-mail server to corporate IT departments, which (say conspiracy theorists) couldnt have made Redmond happy. Lotus doesnt seem to realize there is a mobile market, so no point in discussing that here ... what, exactly, is it about Magneto and Exchange?
Lets ask it another way: What is it that blue-chip IT managers like about RIM for e-mail?
Easy, its secure push technology. To use Microsoft Exchange over a smartphone, however, you have to dial in and collect it. Or, if you trust Short Message System (SMS) texting, you could have a pseudo-push responding to an SMS alert. No, its not secure. And the alternative—an always-on VPN to the exchange server—is technically challenging to most wireless carriers, not to mention unreliable and expensive. So heres what I think. Microsoft may well be saying that its about to steal RIMs lunch. In one sense it already has because RIM is now giving away its mail server technology. But I think the real problem facing Magneto could be simpler: standards. In a few months, the Open Mobile Alliance will announce its mail standard. In the beginning, Magneto wasnt planning to be OMA-compliant. We still dont know what the final OMA mail configuration will be. Its a guess: Neither does Microsoft. So heres the simple, no-conspiracy answer. (Of course, that means its wrong ... but heck, all predictions are wrong!) It goes like this: Microsoft is hanging onto Magneto—not because its being nice to RIM or because it is being devious—it is rewriting Magneto to be OMA-compliant. Nobody is going to believe that, though. Read Guy Kewneys other recent columns about trends in mobile and wireless technology. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on mobile and wireless computing.


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