Microsoft Fires Back at Google With Its Own ‘Winter Cleaning’

Last week, Google announced that it will stop Exchange Active Sync (EAS) support for non-business users in a suggestive post titled “Winter cleaning.” It’s a direct attack on Microsoft if nothing else, as EAS is the only method to have a relatively good Gmail experience on Windows Phone 8 devices. iOS, too, for that matter.

EAS is a communication protocol designed by Microsoft to sync not only emails but also contacts and calendars. Since its introduction way back in 2002, EAS has synchronously become the industry standard that can be found on virtually all devices that can connect to the internet.

Earlier today, Microsoft responded to Google’s decision in a post on its Outlook blog, claiming that they “were very surprised” by Google’s decision to remove Exchange Active Sync support in Gmail. Microsoft calls Google’s decision a “degrade” for users and suggest them to switch from Gmail to its newborn Outlook.com email service to get those features back.

Outlook.com was announced by Microsoft last summer to replace its decade old Hotmail service. Currently, Outlook.com already gained 25 millions users according to latest statistics. That number could balloon relative quickly as Microsoft’s 200+ millions Hotmail users had already begun to receive emails about upgrading services.

Microsoft’s new Outlook.com email service.

However the stumbling block for Microsoft is Windows Phone 8′s lack of proper Gmail support once Google finally shuts down its EAS support for regular Gmail users at the end of January next year. Other than EAS, Windows Phone 8 devices currently only support POP, which is an ancient communication technology and not preferable in this day and age of instant push communications.

iOS users will also be affected if they rely on EAS for all their emails, calendars, and contacts synching with Google’s services. Fortunately for iOS users, they can reconfigure their Gmail account to use alternative methods such as IMAPS, CardDAV, and CalDAV to sync emails, calendars, and contacts. More on this in a later post.

The big picture here is that there is a war going on right now between Microsoft and Google, and the users are the casualties.

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