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Opinion: will exchange on the iPhone kill Windows Mobile?

iPhoneOver at ReadWriteWeb a poll asks if Microsoft made a mistake licensing Exchange ActiveSync to Apple for use on the iPhone as it could sound the death knell for Windows Mobile.

As some rightly say in the comments to this poll Microsoft had little choice. EAS is available for licensing to anyone who wants to pay for it, refusing to license to Apple would not be seen favourably by the courts. Support for Exchange on the iPhone, however, could be an additional selling point for Exchange should businesses choose to adopt the iPhone as a supported device. Whether this will happen is the big question.

In my previous post I suggested that the move by Apple may make a lot of people think seriously about moving to the iPhone but individual "people" and the decisions they make are radically different, and usually based on different criteria, to those made by organisations.

At present, distribution of the iPhone is limited with one network per country having the exclusive rights to supply it (O2 here in the UK). Windows Mobile devices, however, are available across the board and are still, therefore, a better alternative to the iPhone should you not wish to go the Blackberry route. In my experience, many organisations are with Vodafone as their business mobile supplier and I can't envisage then wishing to change contracts and refreshing hundreds, if not thousands, of devices just to switch to the iPhone.

It remains to be seen just how well the EAS support will operate on the iPhone (just look at how Nokia have used it). Apple have said that the iPhone will offer the full set of features: push email; push contacts; push calendar; Global Address List and remote wipe but still I feel that we are a long way off from Apple dominating the corporate mobile market. The new version 2.0 firmware and the SDK are going to have to bed down and prove themselves for a number of months before businesses will be willing to make a switch - IT departments never spend their hard fought budgets on technology just because of a "cool factor".

The majority of users still prefer to tap away on hardware keyboards so the BlackBerry and QWERTY style smartphones/PPCs are perfectly suited to life in the corporate environment. It will take a long time to persuade users that a virtual keyboard is the way to go. What may tip the balance, however, is third party applications built using the SDK but it remains to be seen how much control Apple will want to excercise in this area. We hear the comments that any third party applications will have to be approved and distributed via iTunes but will apple open up and allow businesses to develop their own in house apps and install them directly? If the iPhone wants to be taken seriously as an enterprise device it must be opened up to a greater degree than at present.

I think Windows Mobile is safe, certainly for the immediate future at least.

Related Posts
Opinion: the iPhone to change the mobile space, again.
iPhoneThere is no doubt that the launch of the iPhone really focused the mind not on what you could do on your phone but how you could do it. Apple did indeed change the mobile phone space overnight and forced is to change the way we think about how we interact with them.
GUI is king and the ability to do everything with your fingers rather than a stylus has caught the imagination - this is most apparent with Windows Mobile users designing iPhone UI clones in flash and projects such as PointUI.
Apple are about to not only change the game again but also rewrite the rules while they are at it. The reason? The announcement of there version 2 firmware coming in June which will include Exchange ActiveSync and turn the iPhone into an enterprise class device.
The time has come for Microsoft and its partners to really up their game with the Windows Mobile operating system and the devices that run it.
HTC have made a start with the Home today plug-in and the TouchFLO system but once you get beyond this you are dumped right back in to the fiddly, stylus needing Windows Mobile interface. WinMo may be getting an overhaul come version 7 but this may be too late.
With enterprise capabilities the iPhone will be a perfectly balanced device appealing to both business users and consumers alike unlike WinMo which does not really cater for casual consumer use.
When the iPhone was first announced my two main concerns were the lack of 3G and Exchange ActiveSync (EAS). After the UK launch in November in my series of posts called "2g for a day" I proved (more to myself than anything) that 3g is not necessary for a working day - email over EAS is fine on 2g and it is only the more graphically intensive sites that demand 3G.
Now that the iPhone has EAS coming in June a lot of people are going to be thinking again, taking a long hard look at Apple's device and considering making the switch.
Help a reader - Windows Mobile DST issues:
I received an email from a reader of the blog Tony who has been experiencing some issue with DST and appointment times on his Windows Mobile device (everything seems fine it Outlook). Perhaps the rest of you might have an idea, I'll let Tony explain the problem:
"I’ve enjoyed following your blog, especially your adventures with home server.  I played with the initial beta and really liked what it offered.  Since then, I reformatted that system and setup a small business server 2003 with exchange.  I am new to this and have started having an issue with the daylight savings bug….again.


I really thought this had been hashed out last year and was no longer an issue.  Anyways, I am running two systems with vista (one with home premium and one with business).  I have a third system that has xp pro.  I have ran all the latest updates and the outlook (2007) calendars are correct on them.  My issue appears to be with my 8525 pda phone.  It is upgraded to windows 6.0 and I have applied the daylight savings patch to it.  Unfortunately, the items entered for March 10-April 1st are off by an hour.


I have been back and forth through the Microsoft articles, re-installed and rebooted several times.  I just don’t seem to be getting something right.  Since the phone synchs by exchange wirelessly, I am guessing I am missing a setting on the server.  I would appreciate any suggestions you may have.  This is driving me nuts."

After a couple of suggestions he then came back to me with this:

"Ok, I ran home for lunch and started over.  Here is what I found.  I uninstalled the DST patch.  Rebooted and re-installed.  I changed time zones, rebooted.  It automatically went back to Eastern time zone (my time zone).  So, I again uninstalled and this time disabled my radios.


I applied the patch and it worked.  As soon as I re-activated the radios and reconnected to the server, the outlook entries on the phone went back to being an hour off, but correct in outlook on the computer.  Now I am really confused.  I've patched the server and all desktops with the latest updates.  When I tried to manually install the DST patch, vista says it is not necessary for my systems.


The phone takes the DST patch and is accurate until it synchs with the server.  You can feel free to post these comments to the blog and see if anyone has had a similar experience.  I need to get this fixed and have ran out of ideas.  No surprise....AT&T has no recommendations."

Bit of a strange one I think you'll agree. Tony mentions that he may be heading for a hard reset and complete re-sync but obviously I'd like to help him avoid this if possible.


Any thoughts people?

What's to come for Exchange and the iPhone?

As you no doubt already know, Apple recently advertised for an "iPhone Windows Outlook/Exchange QA Eng" but does this actually mean that they want to get the iPhone synching natively with Exchange Server?

As the role will be for testing Exchange and Outlook functionality with the iPhone perhaps we will see full, native synchronisation with Outlook via iTunes. With regards to directly synching with Exchange, however, there is no guarantee.

As we already know you can grab your mail from Exchange via IMAP but this requires configuration on the server side which your admins may not want to do and for you to manually poll for your mail. So, what are the options? If we are not looking at a full Exchange ActiveSync experience with Direct Push then maybe Apple could be trying to tap in to the RPC over HTTPS architecture that Outlook uses to connect to Exchange across the internet. Would this be possible on an iPhone?

Would the sensible suggestion be for Apple to license Exchange ActiveSync from Microsoft and implement it on the iPhone, or would this be considered sleeping with the enemy?

Whatever happens, I think 2008 will be an interesting year for the iPhone especially once we have a 3G model.

Using an iPhone with Exchange?
Mark Wilson has posted how iPhone users can get there devices working with Exchange Server. No, it's not Direct Push but he is setting it up to use IMAP.
To quote Mark, he says "there’s been a lot of talk about how it can’t work with Microsoft Exchange Server - either blaming Apple for not supporting the defacto standard server for corporate e-mail or Microsoft for not being open enough". No-one denies that just about any mail client (iPhone included) can use IMAP but the main criticism pointed at Apple is that they have not licensed the Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) technology which will allow Direct Push to function.
IMAP requires manual synching or periodic checking to keep it up to date and involves extra ports being open to the web thus making your server a larger target. As Mark himself points out "Many organisations will not allow IMAP access to servers, either due to the load that POP/IMAP access places on the server or for reasons of security" so don't hold your breath that yours will open this up for you.
Mark does, however, note that the iPhone has an additional mail account setup option called "Exchange" which requires OWA, IMAP and RPC over HTTP to all be enabled (also see this post over at
Also note that IMAP will only get you your mail and not calendar or contacts - along with other goodies - like EAS (see here).
Enforcing a password on Windows Mobile slowed the device.
In one of those "because I can" moments I decided to look at mobile security and enforced a password on my Windows Mobile phone via the Mobile Services settings in Exchange System Manager.
I was specifically interested in the "Wipe device after failed (attempts)" setting should I ever lose my phone.
It's been a couple of weeks and I have removed the policy as it seems to affect the phone when it resumes from standby.
You obviously expect a delay to have to type in your password once the inactivity time has passed but I noticed that, when resuming the phone within the inactivity threshold,  it would flicker and sit on a blank screen for a moment before resuming.
I would assume that the phone is checking whether there is the need to enter the password based on how long it has been inactive but it didn't appear to be a very streamlined process.
OAL Generator events 9320 & 9323.
With the problems I was having recently another set of events logged on the server concerned the Exchange Offline Address List (OAL).
The OAL Generator was logging events 9320 and 9323. The details for these two events are as below:
OALgen 9320
OALgen 9323
As my domain account was being reported as having an expired certificate the place to check is in ADUC (Active Directory Users and Computers). You need to look at the Published Certificates for the user account but to do this you must ensure that the Advanced Features of ADUC are enabled
ADUC advanced
Sure enough, the Published Certificates tab of my account properties show an expired EFS (Encrypting File System) certificate
Published Certificates
I have removed the certificate (I'm not using EFS anyway) so the events should no longer get logged.
Exchange web broken after installing WSS patch - fixed.
I installed the patch kb934525 on my server but it seems to have hijacked the default website on the box as I now can't access any Exchange webs (OWA, OMA).
For some reason I also can't remote to the server at the moment so I won't be able to resolve this until I get home - which translates to: I'm not going to be able to see any mails until then.
I'll have to check that the default site in IIS hasn't been extended by mistake.
Problem solved, the default site HAD been accidentally extended so I just removed the SharePoint extensions and all is well.
Exchange mailbox quotas.
The site I am currently based at has, just like most others, got a 100MB default mailbox quota set on there exchange servers. All well and good you might think.
Now, the whole point of a quota is obviously to set a limit on the amount of data each user can hold in their mailbox in order to reduce the amount of server storage required and make maintenance easier - invaluable these days.
So, you set a 100MB quota and allow each user to use 100MB right? Wrong!
It seems that, even though the quotas are set, they still don't want users storing 100MB of data in their mailbox.
I have been tasked with liaising with a number of users who have "above average" amounts of data in their mailbox WITHIN their quota. The amounts of data in question range from 80MB down to 55MB. I am supposed to be advising these users on mailbox management using PSTs, rules and - for those who have been upgraded to Outlook 2003 - Search Folders.
This seems to be a bit of a redundant task. If these users were over their quota and were calling support each day as they were unable to save mail then I could understand it but when you are within your assigned quota I fail to see what the problem is.
I have my first meeting at 10:30am today - we'll see how it goes.
Exchange Server question for you - answered.
I can't find a reference to it anywhere but I presume that there has to be a limit to the number of times an invidual account can access its own mailbox.
- we have a generic account used for Disaster Recovery exercises which has access to a group mailbox.
- the current exercise uses 12 laptops which will all be logged in to the generic account in order to track mails etc.
- after logging in to a number of the laptops and opening Outlook we then get the message that the Exchange Server is unavailable
We have 10 instances of the account logged in and able to access the Exchange mailbox before the error occurs.
Is this a hard limit on Exchange or something that is configurable? Our Messaging team deny that a limit exists.
Thanks in advance for any responses.
UPDATE: thanks to Oliver over at the Exchange newsgroups the reason is most likely due to the Maximum Allowed Sessions Per User setting in the registry on the server (see KB842022).
OMA 1503 error with just one account.
I am re-posting this item as I receive a high number of requests for it on the old version of the blog but, obviously, that post no longer exists.
Quite a while ago, I was experiencing an error when trying to use OMA. The error returned by IE was "A system error has occurred" but not due to the usual cause in KB817379.
The event log showed the following:
Source: MSExchangeOMA
Event ID: 1503
An unknown error occurred while processing the current request:
Message: Index was out of range.  Must be non-negative and less than the size of the collection.
The issue only occurred with one mailbox (mine) and all others were OK.
Searching for event 1503 with MSExchangeOMA as the source revealed nothing relevant, but the message "Index was out of range..." lead me (in a roundabout way) to KB319886 "E-mail message is not delivered from Exchange 2000 Server to Exchange Server 5.5 recipients". On the face of it the article appears completely unrelated but it states that individual mailboxes can experience problems if the homeMTA attribute for the user in AD is incorrect.
Following the steps in the article (using ADSIEDIT from the Windows Support Tools) I found that the homeMTA attribute for my user account was indeed incorrect - presumably as a result of the problems I had experienced with having to rebuild my domain after a hardware failure.


Changing this to the correct value resolved the issue and, hey presto, OMA functioned for my account again.
Most popular old items.
Two of my old posts are requested far more often than any of the others and these are:
Now that Vista is publicly available it's not surprising that some people with less than adequate hardware may want to try to force Glass on their device (a laptop with an integrated graphics chipset for example) although I'm pretty sure the registry hack I used during the betas was killed off.
It's surprising to see so many requests for the OMA issue, I wouldn't have thought that quite so many people would experience the same issue. As such I have decided to update and re-post the item and have taken a fresh screenshot so that it will be complete.
Exchange IMF doing it's job.
Ever wonder just how much spam you get? Probably not, but I was just curious as to exactly how much was getting cut out at the server without even reaching the Outlook Junk e-mail folder.
Using the Intelligent Message Filter (IMF) v2 in Exchange 2003 SP2 to archive the messages it catches is an ideal way to keep track of what's coming in, and with Custom Weight Entries to make sure you catch the bits that may slip through, you get a much truer picture of just how many nasties are being sent your way (if you're not sure, custom weights are added to {drive}\Program Files\Exchsrvr\bin\MSCFV2\MSExchange.UceContentFilter.xml and are used to artificially affect the SCL value attached to any given message - see the Exchange 2003 SP2 Release Notes).
So, with all this in mind I thought I have a look at what's been coming in and syphoned off by IMF using the IMF Archive Manager and I found that since the New Year IMF has, so far, captured 948 messages.! Good going IMF!
 IMF Archive Manager
Some still does still get through but you just add additional custom weights to your XML file to catch any regular patterns.
Exchange 2007 - Outlook Web Access.
Came across this in a post from Henrik Walther a couple of weeks ago. It's a flash demo showing just about everything you wanted to know about the Outlook Web Access (OWA) experience with Exchange Server 2007.
Check it out here: E2K7 OWA.
I still wish OMA hadn't been dropped though.
Exchange 2007 evaluation available for download.
You can now download a 120 day eval version of Exchange 2007 in both 32 and 64 bit editions (64 bit only for production).
To regsiter for the download visit the Exchange website here.
You can also view the full  - note: the 32 bit eval version needs to be installed on Windows Server 2003 R2.
Exchange 2007 signed off!
After reading KC Lemson's post on Wednesday i was expecting an announcement probably at the beginning of next week but we need wait no longer.
Terry Myerson posted over at the Exchange Team blog yesterday that Exchange 2007 has been signed off. That's right, it's all done and ready to roll. Check the full post here: Signed off!
You can also view all the documentation here.
Now, Santa, I've been an incredibly good boy this year so will I wake up to a 64-bit server shaped present under the tree ;)
Outlook RSS update.
My bug report was closed with the standard "not reproducible" but the problem still occurs.
Due to repeatedly clearing out about 200 folders and 2500+ items the Exchange database had swollen somewhat so I decided to do an offline defrag with eseutil - this brought the databse size down from 849MB to 146. Not bad!
It just seems that in my environment Outlook or Exchange has an issue checking and retaining this many feeds. This may also be manifesting itself in another way. After importing the full list of feeds Outlook takes a long time to be fully usable. if you try to go to Tools - Account Settings you are warned that Outlook is still trying to find shared folders and takes a while to settle down.
 OL B2TR Shared Folders
Anyone else having similar problems?
Exchange dilemma answered for me.
My debate as to whether I should move to the beta of Exchange 2007 has been answered for me (at least for the time being). After doing some reading around the subject and there is no "in place" upgrade from previous versions of Exchange. Instead you must do a "swing migration" or transition.
From the TechNet article Upgrading to Exchange 2007:
"When transitioning to Exchange Server 2007, you cannot perform an in-place server upgrade on an existing Exchange server. Instead, you must install a new Exchange Server 2007 server into the existing organization, and then move data to the new Exchange Server 2007 server".
So, either I get that 64bit server (but haven't got the money) or I could create a virtual machine, install Exchange 2007 and move the data from the 2003 server, decommission the 2003 server, install 2007 and move the data back. Finally decommissioning the virtual machine! I think that's a bit too much aggravation, don't you?
Still, in the meantime, you can get out a whole slew of Exchange 2007 screenshots from Black Digital ( contributor).
Exchange 2007 Beta 2 now available.
The public download of but when I tried to get it I got the message:
  "The download you requested is unavailable".
I did receive a confirmation email, however, so will have to try the download again later.
The big question now is do I upgrade my server or stay with 2003? While the betas of Exchange 2007 are being provided in 32-bit, come RTM it will be 64bit only so I will be forcing an upgrade of the server hardware.
As the same server runs the blog then I shall have to think seriously about the implications. In any event, a full ghost will be taken - just in case.
To go along with the Beta Microsoft have released a Beta of  which has evolved from the Sybari Antigen that Microsoft bought last year. You should be able to download this here soon: ForeFront Beta download
Email now working.
I discovered the problem:
the X-LINK2STATE SMTP extension had become unregistered which prevents mails from being routed within the Exchange organisation.
A full reinstall and re-upgrade to SP2 has done the trick and I am back sending and receiving emails.
Exchange outage.
My Exchange Server decided to play up last night requiring a repair. Whilst most of the functionality is working, it does not appear to be routing mail correctly so I will need to re-configure it to ensure everything is as it should be.
As I am at work I am unsure if the mails are just being queued but not routed or are not getting to the server. If it is the latter then then will be routed to my Gmail.
Update: looking at my SMTP queue I seem to be getting mail bombed by messages purporting to come from but are obviously spoofed. The MTA isn't routing messages so this could be more problematic than I first thought.