Google drops support for Activesync in Gmail.
Recently Google announced that it will no longer be supporting Activesync on Gmail accounts. Activesync is a Microsoft technology that lets you sync your contacts, calendar and email wirelessly to your mobile devices in one easy step setup. I’ve been using it for quite a few years and it has worked well for me from device to device. However Google needs to pay Microsoft for using Activesync and for a long time this made sense. But with the popularity of GMail and Android devices, Google now feels that it’s time to switch ActiveSync off and use their preferred method of syncing through CalDev and CardDev with IMAP- all of which are open Internet standards.
So what exactly is the issue you ask? Well, Microsoft has intentionally left out support for CalDav and CardDav in their new Windows Phone 8 and has instead decided to support ActiveSync exclusively. What this would result in is that users of GMail will not be able to sync their contacts and calendars wirelessly on Windows Phone 8 devices. They will either have tto use a PC to act as an intermediatery syncing device (and have their contacts and calenders synced when connected to that computer) or switch to another email account like outlook.com for wireless synchroniation of their calender and address book. Considering the popularity of GMail, I doubt many people will be switching their email accounts to an alternative solution.
I think this is a smart and calculated “business” decision by Google. They are not stopping paid Google Apps accounts from using ActiveSync which is what most businesses use but only the free @gmail.com accounts used mainly for personal emails. So paying business users continue to get ActiveSync support and can continue using it on whatever device they are carrying while users of gmail.com will think twice before purchasing a Windows Phone 8 device that will not easily sync their address book and calender. With Windows Phone 8 at 5% or less market share and Android and around 70%, this works out well for Google.
What Microsoft needs to do is wisen-up and add support for CalDav and CardDav in Windows Phone through an update. Afterall, every other phone such as the iPhone, all Android and BlackBerry devices support this open protocol so there is no reason for Windows Phone 8 to not support it- especially since it’s in it’s infancy stages and wants to grow.