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Microsoft to Replace Blackberry?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the waiting-for-the-next-round-of-patent-lawsuits dept.

232

nmccart writes "According to Wired Magazine, Microsoft, along with Cingluar and Vodaphone, is planning to introduce the next generation of Windows Mobile phones that can receive e-mails "pushed" directly from servers that handle a company's messaging. This will allow companies to skip over the cost of installing a Blackberry server, and instead just use the Exchange servers that they are already using. The question becomes, now that this technology is cheaper, will my VP be buying new Windows Mobile enabled cell phones for his entire department just so we can put in more hours?"

cancel ×

232 comments

I doubt it.... (2, Insightful)

ASUSanator (700145) | more than 8 years ago | (#14709835)

So many places i know now are running blackberry and so many people i know have blackberry devices i think it will take a long time if it ever does occur for people to switch over to Windows SmartPhones.

Re:I doubt it.... (2, Insightful)

Jordan Catalano (915885) | more than 8 years ago | (#14709896)

Sadly, "Blackberry" has become the new "iPod".

"Hey, is that your new wireless email device with mini-qwerty keypad?"
"Hey, is that your new Blackberry?"

So no, Windows Mobile Smart Phones won't takeover until the day people stop calling every portable audio player an iPod and every PVR a TiVo.

Re:I doubt it.... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14710022)

I think you underestimate the power of the dark force my friend..

Lord Vador, ahem, I mean Steve Balmer, will do what it takes to "control" the market.

And the example of Tivo is pretty weak. The company is largely irrelevant now that the cable DVR companies such as Motorola have moved in. Ipod is surviving because the brand is always innovating. What has blackberry done since they invented the "push" email? Not much. Now watch the toilet flush them down around them just like 3DFX and others.

Hey, btw, check out my new flash puzzle game: Traffic Jam [trafficjamgame.com]

Re:I doubt it.... (1)

Cybert14 (952427) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710038)

...and every audio file an MP3. And so on.

Treo 700w (1)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710195)

Look - even PalmOS fanatics like the thing. [treonauts.com] It kills any RIM device, Today! OMA [computerpe...ance.co.uk] makes Blackberry mail seem like a POP3 account, for organizations that operate an Exchange server.

This device is incredible. Complete freedom from using the stylus for all web/mail and phone - with full Windows Mobile 2005 - not the bastard stripped-down Smartphone version. EVDO connectivity - leaves GPRS in the dust. I don't miss WiFi, with this. I had reservations leaving GSM networks, but this device and connectivity are more than compensatory. I'll use my old, HTC Wallaby with an Orange "pay-as-you-go" when back in the U.K.

Once I upgrade to a 2Gb SD card, I am ditching the Nano. The iPod dial is replaced with voice commands.

Re:Treo 700w (1)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710280)

Let me add that no other Windows Mobile device comes close.

The additional hardware engineering and OEM Windows software development by Palm folks make this what it is. MS should keep these guys close - and not sacrifice this device to the crap made by HP these days.

Re:I doubt it.... (5, Informative)

binaryDigit (557647) | more than 8 years ago | (#14709930)

So many places i know now are running blackberry and so many people i know have blackberry devices i think it will take a long time if it ever does occur for people to switch over to Windows SmartPhones.

I don't know that I entirely agree. While Crackberries are quite popular, I think that there is still a significant number of companies that don't have a mobile email solution that would jump at the opportunity to do it as a "single" solution. As well, as companies look to upgrade, having the all-in-one solution could be quite enticing. The biggest bonus for M$ is that I don't think they are necessarily counting on driving significant additional short term exchange licenses due to this manuver, so they can afford to wait and slowly take on marketshare. Remember, people wouldn't be buying "Windows Smartphones", they're buying mobile email solutions that also allow them to do voice. If a Windows Smartphone fits the bill, then so be it.

Re:I doubt it.... (1)

jayhawk88 (160512) | more than 8 years ago | (#14709997)

There are also probably just as many places that have a lot of people with Blackberries, who would like to offer more support for them but are unwilling to drop the money for Blackberries server software. If indeed MS comes along with a device that has out-of-box support for push from Exchange, I'm guessing that will tip the scales to MS's favor in a lot of situations.

Re:I doubt it.... (5, Insightful)

SeattleGameboy (641456) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710127)

Blackberry is going to have a very hard time in the future.

Blackberry does not have a vertical leverage like Apple has with iPod where the content and the device is controlled by a same company.

In fact, many, many, corporations use Exchange and the value proposition (not having to buy an extra wireless email service) is going to be something that is going to be very difficult for Blackberry to compete against.

Add the fact that most power-types that own Blackberries tend to upgrade their device almost every year, there is really nothing holding people back from switching their wireless e-mail service.

Re:I doubt it.... (1)

ichin4 (878990) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710178)

From the same school of thought, circa 1995:

"I doubt it... So many places I know and so many people I know are running Netscape Navigator that I think it will take a long time, if it ever does occur, for people to switch over to Internet Explorer."

Re:I doubt it.... (3, Informative)

Total_Wimp (564548) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710208)

So many places i know now are running blackberry and so many people i know have blackberry devices i think it will take a long time if it ever does occur for people to switch over to Windows SmartPhones.

Depending on the situation, it will take a much shorter time to switch to Windows Smartphones.

Consider the scenerio where you have an Exchange 2003 Server with an Outlook Web Access (webmail) front end server. Lots of companies either currently have this scenrio or have a similar Exchange 2000 scenerio and will upgrade in a couple of years.. If you have this scenrio, turning on Exchange Active Sync, the technology that makes this happen, is an afternoon of work. Period. It's done. There are no extra licenses, no extra software and no extra infrastruture. Getting approval for it will be increadibly easy, because it carries about the same risks asthe OWA server you're already running.

Now consider you have the exact same scenerio, but also a Blackberry server. It's still painless to turn on EAS, so having the two work side by side is easy. You can have Smartphones and Blackberry offered to your employees. But if you already have EAS and don't have a Blackberry server, how are you going to convince your boss to pony up the cash for Blakberry?

In short, since EAS is "free" (as in "you already paid for it, but didn't know it at the time"), you're far more likely to deploy it than the "expensive" Blackberry server. Thus, MS wins again.

TW

Full disclosure: I've implimented an EAS solution at my company and currently have an Audiovox SMT5600 Windows Smartphone. The Syncing is awesome, though I find myself restarting my phone periodically, something I never had to do with my old Nokias. I've never owned a Blackberry, though the few times I've played with one convinced me they're a fine solution.

Re:I doubt it.... (1)

Backus.Naur (951372) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710442)

Ever heard of a little company called Palm?

Deploy windows phones... PLEASE (0, Flamebait)

DaedalusHKX (660194) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710490)

So I can laugh as you suffer through endless sleepless, sexless nights, cleaning up the next generation of super worm, using idiot cellphones to spread by showing them a caller ID or email from "Sexyfun.net" or "Sexy Snow White"... yep, good luck chief, better you than me :) I'll stick to my Zaurus and Linux.

~D

Now that NTP's patents are most likely bunk (1)

stupidfoo (836212) | more than 8 years ago | (#14709836)

Now that NTP's patents are most likely bunk, we're going to see the freemarket at work. It's a perfect example of how bad patents stifle competition.

Who says this is a free market? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14709941)

That's a nice sentiment, but I'm not so sure the laws of free market economics are going to apply from here on out. [pcmag.com]
The arrival of Microsoft's Direct Push system, which ties into Exchange servers without the need for an additional server or middleware, has been leading pundits to say Microsoft is a particularly strong threat to Research in Motion (RIM)'s popular Blackberry handhelds. Competing push solutions, from RIM, Visto, Seven, Good and others, all require an additional server or middleware on top of an Exchange server.
Ah yes... ye olde vertical monopoly leverage.

We don't know, and Yes. (4, Funny)

Isca (550291) | more than 8 years ago | (#14709841)

We don't know if this will be a product that every exec is going to want installed for their workforce, but we can safely assume that yes, you are going to work more hours.

Answer: (5, Funny)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 8 years ago | (#14709844)

will my VP be buying new Windows Mobile enabled cell phones for his entire department just so we can put in more hours?

Yes I will. Now get back to work!

Patent infringement (4, Insightful)

fbg111 (529550) | more than 8 years ago | (#14709849)

Can't wait to see the fireworks when RIM turns around and sues Microsoft for patent infringement of some sort to prevent them from impementing this plan...

Re:Patent infringement (1)

db32 (862117) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710482)

I think its a little scary that this is modded Funny. Haven't any of you been reading the dozens of patent lawsuits over the most innane things lately? I honestly wouldn't be surprised in the least to see RIM fire up the lawyers again. Remember, they sued PDA makers over tiny keyboards already...

Same question... (5, Insightful)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 8 years ago | (#14709866)

will my VP be buying new Windows Mobile enabled cell phones for his entire department just so we can put in more hours?

Only if you let him. I am on salary and work 40 hours. The first year +, I worked 60 hours plus. Then, as I automated and gaine control over recurring issues, I got more done in 40 than when I was working 60.

I was under pressure to keep working more than 40... I just said 'no'. Simple as that. And I have received a promotion since then, so no "black list" occurred.

If you aren't in a position to say 'no', get there. No job is worth working more than half of your waking hours.

Same question... (1)

Fuzzball963 (887814) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710004)

I'd love to do that, but if I recall "Right to work" states allow employers the right to fire you for refusing to work more hours. Could be wrong though. Now where I work (Large US electronics retail store who shall remain nameless)full timers are given *exactly* 40 hours per week and if you stay longer you had better have a good reason, because after that you go into overtime. The ideal weekly budget for hours has full timers working 30-40 hours per week, part timers working 4-24 hours/week, and managers pushing 60+ hours/week. Although management is salaried so it doesn't matter as much as for us hourly workers. This employer also has it written into our contracts that they will never guarantee more than 4 hours/week to any employee, even full timers. Needless to say I'm glad I have other sources of income besides this job. In general though , I believe it is severly frowned upon in corporate America if you refuse to not work more hours as you are not being "A team player", and I'm sure that doing so would cause you to be on many managers blacklists . Sad but true fact of life.

Re:Same question... (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710131)

When I was a fulltime contractor at a different company, for the longest time I had a "cap" on my hours. In other words "you're bugeted to work x hours, don't go over unless you can back it up."

The reason was, as a fulltime contractor I was paid hourly. Over a certain amount required overtime (which I only received maybe twice).

I now work at a different place as a fulltime regular (salary). I love where I work; friendly coworkers and bosses.

no (-1, Troll)

Ben22 (944272) | more than 8 years ago | (#14709877)

in short, no. MS could never replicate the simplicity and reliability that is the blackberry.

Feh... (2, Interesting)

FlyByPC (841016) | more than 8 years ago | (#14709881)

My Treo already has email, a Web browser, and SMS capability. This would just involve Microsoft, and as good as they are at designing easy UIs, I don't see how that would be necessary.

Re:Feh... (2, Interesting)

usurper (27610) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710007)

Your treo already has "push" email as well. It's called IMAP idle. http://www.chatteremail.com/ [chatteremail.com]

At the risk of stating the bleeding obvious. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14710223)

"pull quite often" is not the same as "push".

Re:Feh... (1)

Queer Boy (451309) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710475)

Microsoft, and as good as they are at designing easy UIs

Uh, what?

Could you please point out an easy UI that they have designed? I'm not saying Blackberry is any better, after using a Nokia when they were entirely text menu driven then switching to a SE T616 and now a Treo 650, I have a hard time figuring out my bf's Blackberry everytime I try to use it. I don't understand why it always wants to dial the last number you dialed whenver you want to use the phone.

I like things that make sense, but that's just me.

I can see it now... (4, Funny)

cosmotron (900510) | more than 8 years ago | (#14709886)

They will be called "Blueberries." Not because they won't want to be associated with Blackberry, but because of the constant flow of error screens.

Re:I can see it now... (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 8 years ago | (#14709949)

I'll call them Dingleberries due to the constant flow of spam.

Re:I can see it now... (1)

Evilhomer2300 (900004) | more than 8 years ago | (#14709953)

heh, its even funnier because of todays SPAM-ARMOR. For an example, look at my email address above.

Re:I can see it now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14710136)

I think a better name would be "dingleberries"... you know, like those little
balls of feces that hang on the back of your dog, stuck in its fur, after it takes a dump.

Re:I can see it now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14710202)

You are truly the funniest man alive!!! Please, post more!!!

What about spying? (1)

Evilhomer2300 (900004) | more than 8 years ago | (#14709892)

Also, with the new "monitoring" of search engines that is starting to occur, do you think that M$ will be able to read the e-mails that go over the network they control? I mean, media player already sends little bits of information, whats to say that e-mail can be monitored and flagged by certain text. Example: "Lets start using Linux" Suddenly, an e-mail would be sent to your handset, offering a DEEP discount on a new server product. Or with the government going APE POOP over wiretapping, how about a tax break for some open door e-mail access?

Re:What about spying? (3, Funny)

Pulse_Instance (698417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14709932)

If I could get a discount on my next server just by sending an email that says lets use linux, I would be slightly more ok with them reading parts of my emails.

Re:What about spying? (1)

slinkyjim (954237) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710026)

There isn't any "Microsoft network" used with Exchange ActiveSync, because it's not a true push technology. The mobile device sends an HTTPS keepalive to the server, which will then send a small notification packet back to the device (via straight TCP/IP) if there is any new content to be synched. The keepalives last for 15 minutes by default, at which point the device has to send another keepalive...

It's not nearly as battery-intensive as a scheduled pull "every 1 minutes", but not as good as a true push, either.

Re:What about spying? (1)

GIL_Dude (850471) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710134)

Uh... Microsoft doesn't control the network. It's BLACKBERRY that can read all of your email. With the MS solution it all stays in your network (and your phone provider).

Re:What about spying? (1)

BluGuy (617572) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710501)

It's been gone over several times elsewhere that RIM can't read emails sent on their network. The BB and the local BES exchange keys regularly to keep privacy. Also, RIM claims they are not sure what messages is at what NOC and that tracking isn't a possiblity.

ChatterMail can already do this on Treo/Palm (5, Interesting)

zorkmid (115464) | more than 8 years ago | (#14709895)

I've been using "Push" email with ChatterMail on my Treo 600 and my company's IMAP server for a while now.

No Mickysoft exchange server needed.

Re:ChatterMail can already do this on Treo/Palm (1)

MSFanBoi2 (930319) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710130)

That doesn't even give you 1/4 the features of a fully deployed BES or Exchange Server 2003 SP2 deployment.

One thing Microsoft (not that hard to spell correctly) does is messaging.

Re:ChatterMail can already do this on Treo/Palm (2, Interesting)

mac123 (25118) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710219)

Sounds great...how does ChatterMail handle sync of Calendars? (here's hint: it doesn't).

Calendaring is an important business function for many, and a dealbreaker for me.

Always make sure (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 8 years ago | (#14709899)

That you have read your phone's instruction manual, and know with confidence how to operate the "Power" button.

The Never Ending Work Day (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 8 years ago | (#14709916)

The question becomes, now that this technology is cheaper, will my VP be buying new Windows Mobile enabled cell phones for his entire department just so we can put in more hours?

That would probably depend upon the cost per unit of the phones along with any other expenses connected with the rollout of this system compared to the relative value of each additional potential employee hour worked. You might also ask yourself, especially if they do set this up and start abusing it on nights and weekends, if this is the type of company that you want to continue working for? Technology enables us to be on call anytime from just about anywhere, but just because we can doesn't mean that we should and anyone who has ever been asked to take their laptop with them on their "vacation" will know precisely what that means.

great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14709921)

Microsoft is a great company and should be doing this as part of their innovative spirit. The only company that can do better is Apple because they would make it "cool" and people would love it, not just use it.

RMS being right all along (2, Insightful)

Software (179033) | more than 8 years ago | (#14709927)

This reminds me of the old RMS quote regarding working on non-free software being like sharecropping, in that you exist at the whim of the platform owner (in this case, Microsoft).

I like the headline: "MS Venture Nips at BlackBerry". How about "MS Will Eat BlackBerrys (for) Lunch." Anybody want to bet how long RIM's going to last? Two years? Three?

Re:RMS being right all along (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710048)

"MS Will Eat BlackBerrys (for) Lunch."

And turn them into DingleBerries.

(Sorry.)

Not Necessarily... (5, Insightful)

debest (471937) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710114)

Anybody want to bet how long RIM's going to last? Two years? Three?

Microsoft is not a juggernaut that rolls over everything that it touches. They have failed *many* times in becoming even a viable competitor in certain marketplaces, let alone a dominant force that squashes everyone. Examples of where they have not wiped out an established competitor include home finances software (vs Quicken), PDA platforms (vs Palm), game consoles (vs Sony), search engines (vs Google), web portals (vs Yahoo), DRM'ed music files (vs Apple), etc, etc, etc.

RIM is no pushover. They've been building Blackberries for almost 10 years now, and have a lot of technology experience (and a lot of patents) in their pocket. They also have a fanatical following in the corporate world, not unlike iPods in the consumer world. Sure, MS might compete, but put RIM out of business in 2-3 years. *NOT* going to happen!

Re:Not Necessarily... (1)

winkydink (650484) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710338)

Microsoft is not a juggernaut that rolls over everything that it touches. They have failed *many* times in becoming even a viable competitor in certain marketplaces, let alone a dominant force that squashes everyone. Examples of where they have not wiped out an established competitor include home finances software (vs Quicken), PDA platforms (vs Palm), game consoles (vs Sony), search engines (vs Google), web portals (vs Yahoo), DRM'ed music files (vs Apple), etc, etc, etc.

To pick a nit, Palm once had the PDA market all to itself. Palm-based PDAs' market share now trails MS-based PDAs by a wide margin.

Are you saying MS is not a viable competitor in game consoles, search engines & web portals? I'll give you Quicken, but MS has been very non-commital to MS Money since the blocked Intuit acquisition.

MS does not have a comparable business to Apple in the DRM space as they do not mfg their own player.

Everybody fears MS to some degree or another. They are a formidable competitor in any space they enter. WIll they win? As you say above, maybe not, but they sure as heck will be disruptive.

No time soon... (4, Interesting)

rkhalloran (136467) | more than 8 years ago | (#14709931)

(a) First iteration of MS products are seldom stable, RIM is already there.

(b) The existing Crackberry addicts will only switch when their existing units are pried from their cold dead fingers.

(c) I'll contend that the majority of type-A folks that need this already have it in Blackberry, and MS and the cell providers will be trying to get people to switch vs. trying to get lots of new customers to buy in. Smaller potential market, and perhaps already near saturation.

Re:No time soon... (1)

putko (753330) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710083)

Excellent points.

But given the offering, Microsoft will probably price it in the basement, so that people who don't have Blackberry stuff just get it at very low cost, with their standard load of Microsoft.

All they'll have to do is buy phones with Microsoft software and will will all work (sort of).

That's how you kill of Blackberry - make it a non-event to get started with the Microsoft version. No more new interest in Blackberry, given its cost.

That's the model for obsoleting WordPerfect, VisiCalc, Netscape, and so on.

Re:No time soon... (1)

rkhalloran (136467) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710129)

If you need a Windows Mobile phone to do it, there's a goodly percentage of folks that aren't interested in investing that much in their cell. And a lot of those that are already carry Blackberries.

Like the other markets they've tried to break into, *THEY DON'T OWN THE PLATFORM HERE*, so their ability to strangle the competition (RIP Netscape) is limited. May it remain so.

Re:No time soon... (2, Insightful)

MSFanBoi2 (930319) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710102)

Lets get a few things cleared up.

1.) BES, either Domino/Notes or Exchange (I support both) is far from stable. Between lost emails from/to handhelds, MDS errors or such, I spend about 4 hours a week supporting 1500 users on two BES (on for Exchange one for Domino/Notes). The Good Technologies solution is MUCH more robust and stable by a far margin.

2.) Windows Mobile powered crackberries are already supported by Exchange Server 2003 SP2. And it works quite well.

3.) There really are not all that many Blackberry users out there versus Exchange users (or even Domino users)

Re:No time soon... (2, Informative)

rkhalloran (136467) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710179)

>>3.) There really are not all that many Blackberry users out there versus Exchange users (or even Domino users)

No argument there.

The point is what number of them are likely to be interested that aren't already on Blackberry? The existing base has already spent the money, and how much of the remainder are potential customers? Not everyone is interested in 24/7 email into their cells.

Re:No time soon... (1)

bornholtz (94540) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710316)

3.) There really are not all that many Blackberry users out there versus Exchange users (or even Domino users)


Wow, you must not be in the Washington DC metro area!!!

Re:No time soon... (1)

LittleLebowskiUrbanA (619114) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710403)

Running BES 3.6 on Exchange 2003 here. Have no problems, runs flawlessly. Are you using 4.0?

Re:No time soon... (1)

GIL_Dude (850471) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710167)

I'm in agreement on most of that, but as an intersting anecdote... I was showing my Treo 700w to a "Crackberry" addict the other day. Now, granted - hers was just stolen along with her purse so she needs a replacement. But, she wanted to get the Treo instead simply because it has reliable "voice dialing"...

What's MS's deal? (1, Insightful)

caese (925123) | more than 8 years ago | (#14709937)

What is it with microsoft thinking they can all of a sudden trump their competition by re-inventing products that already exist and are dominating the market.

Now, I'm not blindly bashing MS here, but what's the deal? Don't they know when they're beat, or when they should focus on their strong points.

They keep trying to invade markets in which they have little experience or few proven solutions. It seems like every week they have an 'IPod Killer' for every damned piece of technology out there, perhaps they're spreading themselves thin, ergo releasing poor quality products across the board.

My own personal observations seem to support this, but then again I'm probably biased against microsoft (and don't give me any I'm not biased crap because everybody is in one way or another.)

The only company that seems to successful at re-inventing the wheel at this point in time seems to be Google (or possibly apple). Is MS just a lumbering giant trying to get it's greasy fingers in every bit of pie?

Re:What's MS's deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14710055)

Is MS just a lumbering giant trying to get it's greasy fingers in every bit of pie? The same could be asked of Google or the OSS movement in general. Why is it wrong to come out with your own version of a product in an attempt to compete with an existing one. Maybe to make it better? Great companies have spawned from this idea. FedEx & UPS are great examples.

Re:What's MS's deal? (5, Insightful)

ostiguy (63618) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710077)

The deal is that blackberry really nailed outlook integration (meaning, synchronization of all the data you access with outlook), but the blackberry does not do many other things well. Basically, the worldwide number of blackberries is in the 7 digit range, and the number of cell phones is in the 9 digit range, and Microsoft thinks they can go after that. Microsoft has made it easier for windows mobile and palm* (they are a licensee) devices to work with Exchange.

This is in corporations interest to be able to play the device makers against each other, instead of being tied to Blackberry. Basically, a big company with Exchange probably has a Blackberry ent. server working with exchange, and views installing Good (to support Palm devices) as a pain, so they are stuck buying blackberries. This will allow people to become more hardware agnostic, but most places will still stick with a few supported models due to support costs.

All similar to pc software market - MS benefits as the hardware gets cheaper because it does so as it gets more pervasive - bigger market means more possible licenses for Exchange seats.

Re:What's MS's deal? (1)

rkhalloran (136467) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710085)

They seem to think their position in the PC market will let them dominate whatever else they jump into. The market seems to be telling them they're delusional: XBox v. PS2, MSN v. Yahoo/Google/..., set-top box software, smartphones, etc.

I can see where they'd want to diversify; they can't own the PC market forever, but they haven't been able to get nearly the traction elsewhere, which is probably a Very Good Thing for the market.

Re:What's MS's deal? (1)

IAAP (937607) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710095)

What is it with microsoft thinking they can all of a sudden trump their competition by re-inventing products that already exist and are dominating the market.

And...Don't they know when they're beat, or when they should focus on their strong points.

That is their strong(er) point. That's how they've operated since they started. That's how most businesses operate: take an existing product, change it a little (hopefully the change makes your version competitive), and sell it. Being the innovator or the first is extremely risky (ex. Go Computer) and many times it takes the followers to make the market work - again Go and th PDAs/Handhelds.

Re:What's MS's deal? (2, Interesting)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710111)

Yes, but Microsoft's business strategy [msversus.org] can't last forever. We all know that only two software products financially support the rest of the company. Their stock has been stagnant for a long time. Eventually they'll be spread so thin that they'll have to go through a major overhaul. Their only hope for growth in the short term is large sales of Windows and Office in developing nations.

Re:What's MS's deal? (1)

MrAnnoyanceToYou (654053) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710151)

It's hard to overextend when you have so much money in the bank you don't know what to do with it all, and you approximate twenty to fifty bucks a year from most of the white collar workers in the western world.

Re:What's MS's deal? (1)

187807 (883881) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710205)

...I'm not blindly bashing MS here...


wtf? I thought I was reading /. Must have mistyped the URL.

Re:What's MS's deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14710308)

It doesn't matter whether Microsoft currently has experience in a particular area or not. They've got so much money that if they want to go into a new area, all they have to do is hire people that ALREADY have the experience.

Also, if you didn't notice, Microsoft is not doing this on their own. They're teaming up with other companies who DO have experience and expertise in the cellular market.

It kind of does sound like you are blindly bashing MS.

Re:What's MS's deal? (1)

TechForensics (944258) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710341)

MS can afford to try everything to see if one thing works. Kind of like GM in the old days competing with Ford. Not an efficient strategy but again one MS can afford and which works for them.

Is there really much of a savings? (1)

WoTG (610710) | more than 8 years ago | (#14709940)

How much does a BES server + CALS (or equivalent) cost? I don't have a clue, never having had the chance to set one up. However, I will bet that it's insignificant compared to the monthly cost of the data service. In Canada, the RIM data plans are about $40/mo.

A Microsoft Exchange centered system is not going to reduce the cost of the monthly wireless plans unless the cell provider is willing to take less profit on the MS devices. They won't unless competition forces the issue.

I suppose that MS could also collect less of a monthly fee per device than RIM. Does anyone know what RIM's cut of monthly fees is?

Re:Is there really much of a savings? (1)

ostiguy (63618) | more than 8 years ago | (#14709984)

The workgroup/small biz edition of BES includes 5 cals and costs $1500. I believe additional CALs are $200-250ish. I imagine that if you work with a cell provider, you could do better as they have a huge interest in getting you hooked on BES.

Re:Is there really much of a savings? (4, Informative)

Linker3000 (626634) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710139)

In our company we use Orange (UK) Smartphones set up to pull mail (POP3) from a Linux server running Postfix, MailScanner, ClamAV, Razor and SpamAssassin.

That's it.

The only contracted costs are the broadband link, phone rental and call charges.

No licences, no hosted servers, no ($$) Exchange server and no ($$) Blackberry Server.

Nuff said.

Re:Is there really much of a savings? (1)

drewsome (944659) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710265)

no integration into your exchange mailbox. no wireless calendaring. no wireless contact creation.

RIM software _does_ add value.

Re:Is there really much of a savings? (1)

MSFanBoi2 (930319) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710173)

A BES typically retails around $3000 with 5 CALs. Each CAL is TYPICALLY 60-80 bucks depending on your relationship with the reseller and your bulk discount.

Most larger companies have data service agreements in place which take into account the montly cost of the data service which more or less takes care of any huge expenses. For example here we pay $40 per month in fees regardless of the amount of data sent/recieved.

The MS solution sure will be cheaper if they continue with the route SP2 for Exchange Server 2003 has provided.... it's a free add-on.

From what I understand for every $40 collected from us via our wireless provider, less than 10% goes to RIM.

scroll wheel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14709942)

So long as RIM has exclusive rights to the "scroll wheel," they'll still be in business.

There are already workplace protection laws (-1, Offtopic)

csoto (220540) | more than 8 years ago | (#14709974)

Quit bitching if you work hours without recording them officially (which is often illegal).

Re:There are already workplace protection laws (1)

avdp (22065) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710174)

It's actually almost never illegal (in the US) if you're a salaried employee.

Re:There are already workplace protection laws (1)

csoto (220540) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710401)

Geez you are so wrong it's ridiculous. Unfortunately, this is par for the course for most /. readers - whiny bitches who lack the facts to back up their assertions. This is particularly ludicrous when it's so easy to look up the actual law [dol.gov] (hint: try Title 29, "Labor" where Chapter V "Wage and Hour Division" is prominent).

Longer hours? Bah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14709986)

"The question becomes, now that this technology is cheaper, will my VP be buying new Windows Mobile enabled cell phones for his entire department just so we can put in more hours?"

No. God invented the "off switch" for a reason.

cost (0, Offtopic)

illtron (722358) | more than 8 years ago | (#14709991)

I propose a mandatory $.25 tax on questions at the end of Slashdot posts. Will anybody second the motion?

Re:cost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14710171)

And there should be a $0.02 tax per answer. Just my two cents.

Exchange is the kiss of death for this product (2, Funny)

Medievalist (16032) | more than 8 years ago | (#14709996)

...this will allow companies to skip over the cost of installing a Blackberry server, and instead just use the Exchange servers that they are already using.
Well, that rules out any large corporation with a robust, cost-effective infrastructure.

News? My mobile phone can already receive email. (1)

Swave An deBwoner (907414) | more than 8 years ago | (#14709999)

I'm not sure from the brief article what is news here. Already, our mail server can forward email to a user's cell phone, and we could do this for years now. Most current cellular phones can send and receive mail. Can someone clarify why this announcement is newsworthy?

More hours for who? (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710000)

so we can put in more hours?

Yep, it'll be a lot of extra work keeping these things safe.

Late as usual (2, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710027)

Microsoft's late to the game as usual [msversus.org] . The idea is so obvious is should have come out many years ago. But Microsoft can never sit back. They can't stand to let any segment of the computer market go untouched. But rather than innovate they don't think of what customers want most until some other company has already filled the void successfully. This will definitely be another second-rate product [msversus.org] losing revenue. That definitely won't help their stagnant stock price either.

Not blackberry, goodlink (4, Informative)

Mantrid (250133) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710042)

Blackberry works great for people with no servers etc. Our mobile solution has been Goodlink which makes the Treo a force to be reckoned with (if you get a working Treo that is, but that's another issue...), it can also run on some blackberries(I think) and WinCE.

Support for mobiles built in exchange? Bye-bye Goodlink at $300 a seat.

Re:Not blackberry, goodlink (1)

slinkyjim (954237) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710090)

Try a Treo 700w - does basic (pull only, unless you get unlimited SMS) synch with an Exchange mailbox over HTTPS, out of the box, with any Exchange 2003 server. No Goodlink required...

Re:Not blackberry, goodlink (1)

mac123 (25118) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710253)

Goodlink is a great client, and is very functional (as long as you don't mind giving up basically ALL of your device's internal memory to Goodlink)

Wrong question (2, Insightful)

GIL_Dude (850471) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710104)

The question becomes, now that this technology is cheaper, will my VP be buying new Windows Mobile enabled cell phones for his entire department just so we can put in more hours?

That's a pretty stupid question. Phrased that way, the VP would be an idiot unless he has a chunk of change for over time or wants to be sure that he doesn't have some stupid IT people show up at a company function (muwahaha, I'll have them install stuff during the party so they can't show up - muwaaahhhaaahaha).

What the real questions are these: Is the value proposition greater or less than what we have? If it is greater value, then how long to pay out? Longer than the mean time to obsolescence of the new devices? What's the NPV? Should we move to an integrated solution, or stay on the best of breed? How many of the Blackberry devices are out there now in our company and what is the growth rate of the demand for them?
Oh wait - those questions aren't inflamatory so the article wouldn't have gotten posted if they were asked instead of the silly one...

This is not as good (3, Informative)

alextheseal (653421) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710105)

I hooked up a few of these. This is definitely a Ver 1.0 or Ver 2.0 Microsoft effort. After hooking it up I tried to sync my 1000+ contacts, and it gave up the ghost at ~100, with no errors mind you. Also "push" is not seamless like a RIM, it goes out via the carrier's SMTP to SMS gateway so in some cases it gets crushed in carrier's SPAM filters. Never mind that a very common setup of no front-end OWA server is not supported out of the box, but via "knowledge base" article.

This is not ready for prime time.

Re:This is not as good (1)

slinkyjim (954237) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710137)

No - but as soon as the OEMs release the device-side update for Microsoft Mobile 5.0, the push will no longer require SMS at all. I also don't think it's very common to desire supporting HTTPS connections specifically for handhelds, which is very new even for Exchange 2003, without a front-end server. While you can do it, security-wise it's a pretty poor idea. All that "workaround" is doing is getting around the default, secure settings that ship with Exchange 2003...

Re:This is not as good (1)

alextheseal (653421) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710226)

That workaround actually is necessary because even when "ssl" is enabled on the client it first must use a http initial session, NOTE a non-ssl session. And I quote: "The Microsoft-Server-ActiveSync and Outlook Mobile Access virtual directories cannot access the contents of the user's mailbox if the Exchange virtual directory is configured to require SSL." from : http://support.microsoft.com/Default.aspx?kbid=817 379#XSLTH3121121124120121120120 [microsoft.com] What a joke. Maybe two versions from now they will get it close to where RIM is, which by the way has a device firewall on each RIM on by default.

Just sleep in the office..... (1)

NiteShaed (315799) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710110)

First off, I generally love mobile technologies.....I check my gmail account on my phone, I use my PDA to get on the web from hotspots, and I'm pretty obsessive about having my cell phone with me. These things give me the kind of connections to friends and family that past generations never dreamed of. When it comes to employers calling "after hours" though, the question is when is it an unfair burden on the employee. If, say about 30 years ago, an employer told you that to do your job you'd need to actually live at the office, nobody would take the job. Now however, wherever you are, you're conceivably "in the office". Companies are under increased pressure to get every billable-second from their employees, and employees are pressured to always be more productive than the guy in the next cube, so where do we go now? Is this just the way things will be for workers going forward, or should a new generation of guilds/unions/advocacy groups/etc be stepping up to work with employers to create the guidelines for how to treat employees in a 24/7 world?

I love Slashdot, but... (1)

Rapter09 (866502) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710119)

... How come *every single* time a company launches a competitor to an already existing product line the first line, or the subject, of the news post reads "XLARGECOMPANYHEREX replacing\usurping\destroying\ YLARGECOMPANY'SPRODUCTY"?

A question of strategy (1)

Miros (734652) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710149)

I wonder if microsoft's strategy here is really the best. They almost always find ways to package software like e-mail and other mobile computing applications into cell phones, where, mobile e-mail and cell phones can actually be better off separated (in terms of the wireless worker). Consider this, you own a business. You decide that everyone on your staff needs mobile e-mail. Do you A: get them a system that allows them to send and recieve e-mail, or B: get them all "cell phones" that they can also use to handle "business phone calls"? Also, think of it from the worker's perspective. You're not going to drop your current cell phone service because you wont take personal calls on the company's dime (at least, not all of them). So, what you're going to end up with is nothing more or less than two cell phones on you at all times either of which could ring to your dismay. While i have no particular appreciation for RIM over microsoft, or vice versa, I just dont see the "cell phone route" as the one that will end up being the best strategy for everyone involved.

Harness the OX (2, Informative)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710206)

Why bother using Exchange and crappy MS phones when you can use Open-Xchange [open-xchange.org] and push messages with its SyncML [open-xchange.org] Oxtension to a real phone, including a Blackberry or Treo?

Security? MDS? (4, Insightful)

anicklin (244316) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710228)

While access to e-mail, calendar, contacts, notes, and to-dos are all useful functions of a blackberry that's connected to a corporate Exchange server, I can see a couple of issues:

1) Microsoft isn't exactly known for security. To my knowledge there have been very few hacks of the RIM BES product because of its' nature - it establishes outbound-only connections to the RIM servers which then link back to the wireless providers.

2) MDS. The BES allows (via this same set of secured connections) access to the corporate intranet servers (assuming it's configured to do so). I personally have found this to be a very, very useful feature. Lots of stuff in our daily business does not live in the realm of Exchange, but might live in the realm of our intranet servers. RIM made this easy by allowing admins to avoid worrying about VPN tunnels or SSL connections. Set it up, and it just works. I have a feeling that this product offering might not compete in this arena.

PIN Messaging - THE killer BB app (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14710250)

Microsoft can never provide the one BlackBerry 'killer app', and that's PIN messaging. PINs are encrypted end-to-end and never are visible to anyone other than the sender and receiver. As the underlying protocol that carries the other messages (email for example) on the BlackBerry system, they are highly secure and that's why governments trust the system for such messages. But email uses untrusted servers and crosses app boundaries - PINs don't - so only a PIN can be trusted.

For those that don't know, PIN messages are transferred through the BlackBerry network from the sender's 'berry over a dedicated GPRS APN using AES encryption. After that, they are passed up to Waterloo ON where they are routed - without being decrypted - to the destination, where the reverse of the sending occurs. Note that nowhere does the BES or email enter into this.

For savvy but non-technical users (i.e. many executives) who want to keep their conversations private, a PIN simply can't be beat - you've got a commercial service which guarantees delivery (you can check when your PIN arrives with a little 'D' in your sent items) and guarantees security. Plus you don't have to pass around public keys to make it work.

Yes, you can do email any number of different ways. And yes, you could secure messages with AES encryption although nowhere near as easily as this. But to get all of that in a box with ease of use that pleases executives... hard to beat RIM on this one.

Re:PIN Messaging - THE killer BB app (2, Insightful)

mechsoph (716782) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710499)

Plus you don't have to pass around public keys to make it work.

Then how does it work? If you don't have a public key to do your AES key exchange, seems like it's nothing more than smoke and mirrors. Or maybe you just have to trust RIM not to play man-in-the-middle. But if it pleases the executives...

This is horrible (2, Funny)

Conanymous Award (597667) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710260)

Isn't the software monopoly enough for Microsoft? Now they want to replace my food! Shoo, Bill! I won't eat some shoddy CD-roms with my breakfast yoghurt!

My experience with Windows-powered handhelds... (1)

argent (18001) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710336)

The PDAs I've used or attempted to use...

Handspring Visor
iPaq 3600
Jornada 548
iPaq 3800
Jornada 568
T-Mobile Pocket PC Phone Edition
Sony Clie SJ22

I finally switched back to Palm. An older device, refurbished, that suits me better than any of the Windows Powered devices or the newer PalmOS handhelds.

Microsoft improved things in each new device, but only at the cost of a reduction in capability in other areas. But the difference between these devices and a Palm, let alone a Blackberry, is incredible. Rather than a device designed for a purpose (personal organization, email) these are pretty much baby laptops, complete with a very desktop-like operating system that requires far far more handholding than the simpler operating systems in the palm or blackberry.

I can't imagine relying on Pocket PC or any variant thereof. I gave it a chance, over three generations of the software, and it let me down.

How It Works (4, Informative)

nathanh (1214) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710351)

This is all based on second-hand information, so some of it might be wrong, but here's my understanding of how it works.

Getting mail to to a WinCE PDA has always been easy. The standard technique was POP or IMAP over whatever Internet connection you can finagle (eg, GPRS). However that was always a pull technique and the thing about crackberry addicts is they want the mail to appear on their PDA as soon as it arrives at the mail server (push). One technique is to send an SMS every time a mail arrives so the PDA knows to check the server, another technique is to poll the server frequently, but both of those techniques can be very expensive.

The new WinCE enabled PDA achieves push by opening an HTTP XML request back to your Outlook Web Access server. It sends the username and then just waits. If any mail arrives then the OWA sends back a "ping" message that tells the PDA to pull the new mail. When the HTTP request times out the PDA simply opens a new connection. Effectively this works the same as push - mail "appears" on the PDA as soon as the Exchange server gets it - but without excessive bandwidth costs or SMS costs. It also means you don't need special crackberry servers or a crackberry subscription.

So my guess is that this will be the downfall of crackberry, and not a moment too soon.

I saw a demo a couple of weeks ago. (4, Informative)

Asprin (545477) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710430)


The good:
------------------
1) If the real-life version works as well as the virtual PC demo I participated in, it will do exactly what the marketing materials say it does.
2) It not only synchs email, but todo, contacts, appointments, etc. Everything but public folders, I think.
3) On the server side, all of the software required to do push sync is free with Exchange Server 2003.

The bad:
------------------
1) Phone requires Windows Mobile 5.0, plus a sync driver/module thingy that (groan) HAS TO BE INSTALLED ON THE PHONE BY THE MOBILE VENDOR.
2) Support for this configuration is, well, going to suck because the mobile vendors will push you through their help desk (pretty much guaranteed to NOT understand this), and Microsoft can't support the mobile piece of the puzzle directly, even though it's technically their software.
3) The range of services over which mobile vendors will be able to exert their control has been expanded to include private corporate messaging, appointments and task lists! Yay!!!!

Now that it's cheaper (1)

ben_1432 (871549) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710474)

The next logical step would be that it becomes free, by Google, and while a sound product/service it will undoutably have questionable privacy & data retention policies that tarnish it's images before it leaves Beta in 2018.

Duh.
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