Microsoft licenses Exchange sync protocol to PalmOne

Microsoft on Tuesday said it was licensing its wireless synchronization protocol for Exchange Server 2003 to rival PalmOne, which plans to incorporate it into its next generation of smartphones.

The integration will allow PalmOne devices using PalmOne's VersaMail Client -- namely the next version of its Treo Smartphone due before the end of the year -- to synch directly with Exchange Server 2003 without the need for third-party middleware. The protocol, Exchange Server ActiveSync, allows users to synchronize their in-boxes, calendars and contact lists.

The protocol is already supported in Microsoft's Windows-based devices that are version 2002 and above. These devices compete with those from PalmOne and with Research in Motion's Blackberry device, which also integrates with Exchange using the same protocol.

"This is an effort by the Exchange Server team to offer a broad range of connectivity to customers and allow them to manage devices from their core messaging infrastructure," says Chuck Sabin, senior technical product manager for Microsoft Exchange.

Companies that run Exchange 2003 and use Treo Smartphones that support the ActiveSync protocol will not have to buy any additional software.

Treo already supports a similar synchronization feature from Good Technology called GoodLink, a wireless messaging and application access system that provides synchronization to Exchange Server and other corporate applications.

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