MIcrosoft and Google have been battling it out on a number of fronts, from courtroom fights over patents to marketing campaigns over search engines to exchanging barbs over Twitter.
The latest skirmish, which directly affects some users of Microsoft and Google products, came about when Google announced that, beginning Jan. 30, it would stop letting consumers set up new devices using Google Sync. Google Sync uses Microsoft’s Exchange ActiveSync technology.
According to Google:
Google Sync was designed to allow access to Gmail, Google Calendar, and Contacts via the Microsoft® Exchange ActiveSync® protocol. With the recent launch of CardDAV, Google now offers similar access via IMAP, CalDAV, and CardDAV, making it possible to build a seamless sync experience using open protocols. 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. Google Sync will continue to be fully supported for Google Apps for Business, Government and Education users who are unaffected by this announcement.
Microsoft responded with a blog post, exhorting users to switch to Outlook.com.
According to Microsoft’s blog post, written by Dharmesh Mehta, senior director of product management for Outlook:
We were very surprised to see Gmail announce last week that they’ll soon end support for Exchange ActiveSync (EAS), unless of course you’re willing to pay Google for your email. It means that many 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.
Google’s move affects users of mobile devices that have no means other than ActiveSync to connect to Gmail, and who are not paid subscribers of Google Apps, said Wes Miller, an analyst with independent research firm Directions on Microsoft.
That means, primarily, users of Windows Phone and Windows RT devices.
“Google has to pay to license ActiveSync,” Miller said on why Google might have made the move. “And we’ve seen Google cinching down this year on things that don’t make money. More than anything, I think Google is trying to get everyone to a paid version of Gmail and a paid version of Google Apps.”
A Google spokeswoman referred to the company’s blogpost, adding: “To make the most impact, we need to make some difficult decisions. With the recent launch of CardDAV, Google now offers similar access via IMAP, CalDAV and CardDAV, making it possible to build a seamless sync experience using open protocols.”