Thursday, March 23, 2006

Microsoft's Push Comes to Shove

Unstrung writes about Microsoft's efforts to "one day challenge Research In Motion (RIM) for dominance of the mobile email market, but, despite the launch of the first "direct push" email devices, the Windows Mobile operating system isn't up to the task yet."

Gartner analyst Todd Kort said, "The press seems to be giving Microsoft the benefit of the doubt that their release 1.0 of wireless email software will be competitive with the Blackberry in terms of security, manageability, and battery life,. But I have strong doubts about this."

Kort predicted "Microsoft's wireless email problems will be resolved with the next software revision, expected sometime next year, as well as more and better hardware that exploit it more fully."

He cited three key weaknesses in the software as it stands:

  • Mobile Outlook is still too hard to navigate on a mobile device.
  • Windows devices still use too much battery power compared to the Blackberry.
  • The security and manageability features in the 1.0 release are inferior to those on the Blackberry.
Kort commented that "Smart companies using Windows Mobile devices will choose GoodLink rather than the Microsoft push email offering, at least until the next Microsoft rev."

Companies wanting to use Microsoft push feature will have to jump through some hoops to get it, installing Exchange Server 2003 Service Pack 2. They will also have "upgrade Microsoft Mobile devices with the the Messaging and Security Feature Pack (MSFP) for Windows Mobile 5.0."

David Via at Ferris Research said, "The OS update process for mobile devices is very device- and manufacturer-specific. I am seeing fewer and fewer device manufacturers even offer major OS updates, like from Windows Mobile 2003 to Windows Mobile 5." Via thought "many users will just go ahead and buy new devices, as they're known to do every two to three years."

Kort concluded that "about the time Microsoft improves its email offering and fixes mobile Outlook, enterprises will begin entertaining the idea of mobilizing additional applications beyond email, such as CRM, SFA, and field services. This is when Microsoft will become a threat to RIM."