In a not so surprising move, Microsoft has announced a push e-mail delivery system from their Exchange Server software, a market that is currently dominated by the Blackberry. HP announced a device that will use that capability at the same time, and Vodafone, Cingular and Verizon are all planning to offer services to take advantage of this software.
Even with all the trouble Research in Motion (RIM) is having with it’s patent fight against NTP, this is probably news that bothers them more. Microsoft does claim that the timing of the announcement had nothing to do with RIM’s legal troubles.
From MSNBC, “What’s more, the software is being offered as a free upgrade to companies with the latest versions of Microsoft’s Exchange Server and Windows Mobile software — that means no costly separate server just for mobile e-mail and no license payments to third-party providers. On that basis alone, the service is going to attract a lot of attention from cost-conscious IT managers, particularly ones already using Exchange Server to manage e-mail accounts.”
The upshot of all of this is that push e-mail could be brought to the masses. Most companies are looking for anywhere to save money, and a high priced offering like RIM had would appeal only to those with the means to pay for what may be considered as exorbitant charges. What is needed for an affordable service is a large base to support it, and if anyone can deliver that type of market, it would be Microsoft. Let’s see if their service has all the features that make the Blackberry the hit it has been. One possible challenge is that most people’s jobs do not require instantaneous access to e-mail, as oppposed to the busy executive that is always on the move. That could slow the introduction of this by a number of companies.
Of course, in time, all these technologies are going mobile; it is just a question of whether now is the time that it can flourish. I would think Microsoft can at least get enough customers to allow the service to survive until the point that it becomes the norm, rather than an add on. They certainly have the capital to wait out the lean times until the business takes off.
Posted by Jeff