Microsoft boosts mobile access to Outlook via MIS

At the Microsoft Exchange Conference (MEC) in Orlando, Florida, on Monday, Microsoft took the wraps off MIS (Mobile Information Server) 2002 and inked a pact with MobileSys to make accessing Outlook-based information easier and more secure.

MIS now includes what Microsoft is calling "over-the-air" server synchronization of Outlook data with Pocket PCs and smart phones, according to Juha Christensen, vice president of Mobility at Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft. He said that Microsoft is targeting corporations that want to equip their users with remote access to Outlook.

"Everything is accessible from a browser session, even over a Web phone," Christensen said. "It's a way to take on the road."

The server supports a variety of handheld and cell phone devices, including the PocketPC 2002-based machines that are due out on October 4.

Although users cannot actually open and read attachments, such as an Excel spreadsheet, from mobile devices with MIS 2002, they can invoke the forwarding of entire e-mails including attachments, Christensen added.

He continued that MIS is extensible and can be applied to more than the data residing in Outlook and Exchange. "It's not just Exchange information that you can forward to users. You can also make other .NET server information and non-Microsoft server available for mobile users."

To bring security and relationships with service providers to the mobile solution, Microsoft partnered with Mountain View, California-based MobileSys, which will provide a single point of interaction between corporations and the service providers they subscribe to.

"We take care of the problem of interfacing with carriers," said David Coelho, CEO of MobileSys. He added that MobileSys has established relationships with more than 200 digital cellular carriers and 1,000 pager services providers.

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