Saturday, January 12, 2008

iPhone and Exchange and Microsoft

This is interesting - Apple is hiring people to work on Exchange support in iPhone...

This will, obviously, make the iPhone much more palatable to your corporate IT department...

(This is interesting, because it probably means that Apple has been listening to their corporate customers, for once. It this keeps up, Windows is screwed.)

...but keep in mind that your IT department now has their grubby fingers on your iPhone. From what I've heard, most corporations won't allow employees to sync their phones with Exchange servers unless they support the Exchange 'remote wipe' protocol - If your phone gets stolen (or you left it in a cab after an evening of deal-making and sake) your IT department can wipe it remotely. Yikes!

I don't trust my IT department with that kind of power. But I can understand the corporate security dilemma.

The other interesting thing about Exchange on iPhone is that is validates my opinion that Microsoft employees have been living in a fog for a while:

Every Windows Smartphone owner I know, outside the company, hates their phone - they got lured into buying one on the appealing prospect of having their phone be their digital butler - It sounds great to have a device that wakes you up in the morning, reminds you of meetings, gets your email from anywhere, and allows you to browse the web from the back of the cab (Googling Sake+Strippers+Manhatten)

Instead, what they got it a phone from a shitty also-ran cellphone manufacturer, with a generic Windows OS, tied to a cell company that nickel and dimes them to death. With a alarm clock that works half the time. With an email setup process that is horrendously difficult. With a web browser that is close to useless.

Every Windows Smartphone owner I know, inside the company, loves their phone - because the average Microsoft employee loves to dink around with something until it mostly works.

The alarm clock problem? Jonny Q. MSEmployee researches the problem, downloads the new firmware or Beta Windows Mobile OS off company servers, and great! the problem is fixed.

The email setup problem? Jonny Q. MSEmployee loves tinkering and investigating until he figures out how to get it to work.

The crappy web browser problem? Jonny Q. MSEmployee updates the OS, gets a new browser off the internet, etc, etc.

Jonny doesn't mind all this effort (it's fun! look how much better my Windows Smartphone is now!) but the average consumer? Not so much.

This disconnect has a lot of Microsoft employees thinking that their Smartphones are actually good, and a viable competitor to the iPhone. They are not.

8 comments:

irdawood said...

Mate, Have been reading your blog for the last few days and what you say is so true!

Especially about the Windows Mobile OS, i was using the box standard Mobile 6 platform but felt it wasn’t quite appropriate so installed apps like PocketCM, PointUI etc etc...the list goes on. Unfortunately the Mobile 6 UI is still stuck in the last decade and looks like something you guys picked out of straight from Windows 9.x.

Saying all this... the concept shots for Windows 7 do look promising and I’m glad the iPhone did make it to the light of day as though i will never buy one; i just hope Microsoft will see its success and get their fingers out their arses and actually build a good mobile platform.

Dawood from the UK!!!!

someone said...

MS was simply too satisfied with its Windows, Office and Server platforms, so whatever it is doing in the Mobile space was an "also-ran" until the iPhone came along. They were in no hurry to innovate. And they're also killing Windows gaming due to the Xbox 360. Couldn't they have simply sold a 360 controller for Windows and built their entire platform on Windows? They could also have made huge profits and what a seller Vista/Windows with Xbox 360 platform would have been.

Shawn Oster said...

Dear mother of shaved monkey you are 100% correct. My wife just got a new Windows-based Smartphone and she hates it. Nothing makes sense, it's not intuitive, she actually has to use the manual and it takes a full nerd like me to make half-sense of the thing for her. It's a tinkers dream and a Real Customer's nightmare.

She yearns for her previous smartphone running some third-party custom OS that just worked. She never needed the manual, never had any problems and was up and using it at full steam for everything in under an hour of just playing with it.

Not being a smartphone fan myself I never understood why people loved the iPhone, it's just another smartphone right? Now I see it, it's because the Windows Mobile experience sucks for actual business users and is only marginally acceptable for nerds. I was recently on a chartered plane with about a 100 globe trotting business types and every single one of them hated Windows Mobile, everyone trading black magic secret tips they'd learned to actually use the things, the semi-technical getting bombarded with questions on how to do things. Except of course the very few iPhone users, who just sat there with smug looks as they actually got things done despite the lack of 3G or third-party apps.

To anyone on the Mobile team, your experience is horrible and the only reason anyone uses your product is because they are forced to.

Brandon Paddock said...

I see as many iPhones around MSFT these days as Windows Mobile phones, including my own.

I don't think many consider the existing WM offerings to be much competition to the iPhone. However, most do understand that the iPhone isn't (yet) trying to be an enterprise phone, so for now WM and RIM still own that market.

Plus, it's not like WM + HTC/Motorola/etc are standing still.

MThomasIT said...

Palm - OS on a Treo with Goodlink software rocks! I have 6 of them in my company, including my own, and they work beautifully. The setup is cake, reliability is extremely high, and the phone itself is one of the best phones I have ever owned. The Palm OS I think makes all the difference in the world. One of our consultants bought a bunch of Win-based Treos and are synching them directly to Exchange, and they suck.

Sure, you have to pay for Goodlink software, but the server load is extremely light (I have a PIII server running it), and it is ungodly cheap compared to Blackberrys pricing (and those BB phones are terrible).

BuDZz said...

Hey brother, i wanna ask you something? are you in the windows 7 team?

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