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Microsoft blindsided by Google’s Exchange ActiveSync announcement?

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The war between Google and Microsoft is heating up, and consumers and businesses are in the crossfire.

Let’s review the most recent contretemps.

Most recently, Google announced that Google Sync — designed to allow syncing on devices like cell phones to Gmail, Google Calendar, and Contacts based on Microsoft’s Exchange ActiveSync protocol — has moved into an ‘end of life’ status, meaning that Google will no longer allow new downloads, except for new users of Google Apps for Business, Education, and Government. But this was all long, long in the works, and Microsoft didn’t do anything to prepare.

Google has recently rolled out CardDAV, so Exchange ActiveSync is now being replaced in the Google architecture by IMAP (for email), CalDAV (for calendars), and CardDAV (for contacts).

The issue is that Microsoft has no replacement for new owners of Windows Phone, being caught in the pincers of Google’s open aggression. Obviously, Google sees every Windows Phone sold as a lost Android sale. And perhaps even more importantly, in the enterprise marketplace, Google Apps for Business is now a direct competitor to Microsoft’s Exchange and Office products.

And Microsoft’s response?

 Dhamesh Mehta, Outlook Blog

… It’s time to join the millions who have already made the choice to upgrade to Outlook.com.

Oh, sure.

The reality is that Microsoft painted themselves into this corner. Google was having to pay to Microsoft a fee to use the ActiveSync protocol. And now Microsoft is positioning themselves as the aggrieved party, and Google as the bad boy? Stop.

The result will be another reason not to buy a Windows Phone for consumers. For enterprise buyers who are using Microsoft technologies like Exchange or Google Apps for Business, things will be fine. But for that large swath of small businesses, whose staff get by with Google’s free tools, all of a sudden Windows Phone is a non-starter.