Google (News - Alert) recently announced it would be dropping Google Sync, a free service for users which was based on Microsoft’s (News - Alert) similar service Exchange ActiveSync.
“Google now offers similar access via IMAP, CalDAV and CardDAV, making it possible to build a seamless sync experience using open protocols,” Google said, justifying the move.
The drop is set for January 30, 2013, and would apply to all users and devices coming after that date, and the protocol would still be available to all those coming before.
“Starting January 30, 2013, consumers won’t be able to set up new devices using Google Sync, however, existing Google Sync connections will continue to function,” explained Google, through its apps documentation and support page.
This change may seem like a logical move, but the decision actually hurts Google’s competitor Microsoft in a fairly big way.
As Jaimie Epstein reported in a previous TMC article, the reason this change is such a big issue for Microsoft is due to the fact that Gmail is so overwhelmingly popular. An outage earlier this month “led to many complaints posted on social media sites such as Facebook (News - Alert) and Twitter. The number of complaints was comparatively high, given the popularity of Gmail,” said Epstein.
There was initially little response from Microsoft on the issue, but the company’s Dharmesh M. Mehta has written a blog post concerning Google’s decision, and the anger Microsoft holds is clear.
Mehta wrote, “It means that people currently using Gmail for free are facing a situation where they might have to degrade their mobile email experience by downgrading to an older protocol that doesn’t sync your calendar or contacts, doesn’t give you direct push of new email messages and doesn’t have all the benefits of Exchange ActiveSync.”
Microsoft’s suggestion is to switch from Gmail to Outlook.com.
“Google is cutting all of their users loose unless they are paying Google for the not-free enterprise version of their services,” added Larry Seltzer, editorial director at Byte. “EAS is there in Google Apps because Google had no chance at selling the service to any enterprises without it. But by now, the overwhelming load of EAS use from Google must be from iPhone (News - Alert) and iPad users.”
So ultimately this decision makes sense for Google as it won’t hurt the company’s app-users, but it will most likely hurt Microsoft instead.
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Edited by Braden Becker