Microsoft Helps Connect Apple iPhone Users to Microsoft’s Exchange Server
March 06, 2008
Q&A: Terry Myerson, corporate vice president for Exchange, talks to PressPass about the importance of the new agreement between Microsoft and Apple to offer built-in support for Exchange on the iPhone, and the increasing popularity of Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 among mobile professionals.

Editor’s note, March 14, 2008 – A reference to industry analyst estimates regarding use of Microsoft Exchange in enterprise datacenters was removed from the story.

REDMOND, Wash. – March 6, 2008 –People today depend on being able to stay in touch no matter how close or how far away they are from the office or home.

For businesses, that means a host of challenges to make sure their communications foundation is secure, reliable and accessible across many mobile devices – from notebooks to PDAs and smartphones.

Microsoft has been helping companies overcome those challenges and streamline their communications infrastructure with Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, and the popularity of Exchange Server 2007 among corporations has influenced many mobile device makers to support Exchange right out of the box.

Today, Apple announced it plans to join the list of mobile device makers that offer built-in support for Exchange mobile e-mail, licensing Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync for the iPhone.

To get some context around this announcement, PressPass spoke with Terry Myerson, corporate vice president for Exchange.

Terry Myerson, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Exchange
Terry Myerson, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Exchange
Image: Page

PressPass: What are some of the details around today’s announcement?

Myerson: We’re happy that Apple is adding the iPhone to the growing number of mobile devices that connect with Exchange Server. As part of a business agreement with Microsoft, Apple will build Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync into the iPhone – making it possible for iPhone owners to access Exchange and take advantage of its secure mobile communications features.

PressPass: Why is it important for iPhone to support Exchange?

Myerson: More and more companies are turning to Exchange Server 2007 as the foundation for a reliable and secure communications platform. At the same time, there are more mobile devices coming to market that are popular for both personal and professional use. The Apple iPhone is one of those popular devices that now join the long list of smartphones able to connect to Exchange. This is one of those win-win propositions in that it helps us serve iPhone users, and it helps Apple serve the needs of the enterprise. It is also a testament to the innovation taking place at Microsoft, and the value our IP brings to the entire ecosystem.

PressPass: This announcement has been widely rumored for a while now. How is it that two rivals like Microsoft and Apple can come together on such a big announcement?

Myerson: People like to think Microsoft and Apple are at opposite ends of the technology spectrum, but despite the perception of a Microsoft-Apple rivalry, today’s announcement is actually one in a long history of cooperation between the two companies.

We started talking with Apple about licensing Exchange ActiveSync before the launch of the iPhone last year. In fact, I met with Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller almost daily for a period of two weeks ironing out the details of the agreement. The result is a true collaboration between Microsoft and Apple.

We continue to compete with Apple in the computer arena and media player business. When it comes to mobile phones, Windows Mobile still delivers the premier mobile e-mail experience for Microsoft Exchange Server, by delivering the Outlook experience on a mobile phone and with the most complete support for Exchange’s many enterprise device management policies. But, we also partner with many mobile device makers – including Apple – and believe that by making Exchange an open platform, our customers and partners, ultimately, will be the beneficiaries.

Overall however, Microsoft knows cooperation and collaboration among diverse companies – from technology to hardware to content providers is becoming more commonplace. In today's world, open innovation and collaboration is simply smart business; in tomorrow's, it will be an absolute necessity.

PressPass: How does Exchange ActiveSync connect mobile devices to Exchange?

Myerson: Early on – with Exchange Server 2003 – we recognized there was no cohesive solution for sharing information and communications securely over the air. We set out to innovate around that and the result was Exchange ActiveSync. Exchange ActiveSync enables a mobile phone to synchronize email, calendars, tasks, and contacts with Exchange Server over the air. We wanted to make sure Exchange ActiveSync was compatible with as many mobile devices as possible, so we built it on an open platform. Apple joins Motorola, Nokia, Palm, Sony Ericsson, Symbian and many others that license Exchange ActiveSync for mobile devices. Thanks to Microsoft’s open platform and broad technology licensing program, more than 170 smartphones come ready for Exchange Server mobile e-mail out of the box today.

PressPass: Who benefits the most from this announcement?

Myerson: We believe all mobile professionals and corporations benefit. After the iPhone launched, it quickly became one of the best selling phones on the market, but enterprises were banning the device from their networks for several reasons, chief among them being the lack of support for Exchange Server. Based on Microsoft data, we estimate that 81 of Fortune 100 companies, along with millions of users, use Exchange as their primary messaging and calendaring platform. When it comes to wireless email, enterprise adoption continues to grow, and more and more businesses are choosing Exchange Server for their mobile messaging solutions.

PressPass: What are some of the features iPhone users can expect with Exchange ActiveSync built-in?

Myerson: Our goal with Exchange ActiveSync was to create an open solution that lets mobile device makers pick and choose the kinds of features they want to activate. In other words, it’s really up to Apple what features they want to support in iPhone. That said, Apple has a wide range of features they can provide iPhone users to take advantage of Exchange Server’s rich communications platform. For example, by licensing Exchange ActiveSync, Apple can build a wireless e-mail client on iPhone that synchronizes e-mail, calendars, tasks and contacts with Exchange Server over the air. Apple also has the option to enable features that allow businesses to manage the iPhone through security policies in Exchange Server 2007, including remotely wiping all data from a lost or stolen iPhone, and requiring security provisions for email such as a password and pin access. These are important features that more and more companies depend on Exchange Server to deliver – and that iPhone owners now have the opportunity to experience for themselves.

Read More: