Thursday, February 16, 2006

Microsoft pushes further into wireless e-mail

A new article at Computerworld looks at Microsoft's mobile email push and writes that while enterprises are welcoming Microsoft's progress in this area given Research In Motion's legal issues, they believe "Windows Mobile 5.0 needs to be improved to be widely adopted by end users."

The article talks to a number of enterprises to get their thoughts on Microsoft's Direct Push efforts, and industry analysts expressed reservations about the user friendliness of Windows Mobile 5.0 and ease of upgrading it with the Messaging and Security Feature Pack (MSFP).

Todd Kort at Gartner said, "Ultimately, I believe Microsoft's foray into wireless e-mail will become successful due to their market power, resources and persistence, but Microsoft's track record with 1.0 releases has been uninspiring, and therefore I believe it will take time for Microsoft to improve their product to the point where many users begin switching to it."

Kort thought it was "naive" to think that "BlackBerry users will suddenly switch to Direct Push, given RIM's eight years in the market." He did predict that when "Microsoft partners develop devices that are easier to use, and when companies begin pushing customer relationship management and sales force automation tools to mobile devices, in addition to e-mail, RIM will probably begin losing customers."

Jack Gold at J. Gold Associates pointesd out that "Microsoft faces its own patent infringement lawsuit from Visto Corp. over Direct Push." He also thought the "MSFP upgrade could be cumbersome and won't be available for several months. And once it is available, it will reduce the number of devices that users can choose from." He said, "If you want your execs to use whatever device du jour they fancy, Microsoft can't handle that."

I guess the question from the enterprise perspective is whether it is in your best business interests tto give your employees that level of choice...