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iPhone to get full MS Exchange support?

updated 03:45 pm EDT, Tue June 26, 2007

iPhone Exchange Support

The iPhone could well have explicit support for Microsoft's Exchange mail service after all, according to sources speaking with Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet. While the handheld is so far only guaranteed to support Exchange through the IMAP protocol, a choice seldom used by companies, the veteran journalist says that Apple intends to make the iPhone's e-mail client compatible with Exchange Server. This would come by licensing and then slipstreaming ActiveSync support into the iPhone, which in turn would enable secure corporate mail as well as constant updates for calendars and contact lists.

This update would eliminate one of the commonly cited barriers to adopting the iPhone in the workplace, Foley says. While most major cellphone producers have long since signed up for ActiveSync -- including direct rivals Motorola, Nokia, Palm, and Sony-Ericsson -- Apple has so far made no mention of pursuing this route, which currently eliminates it from consideration as a work phone for companies that are heavily dependent on Microsoft's Exchange backend.

The sources are clear that an announcement will be made this week regarding Exchange, according to the editor, and may come as soon as Wednesday. Less than clear is whether or not the added support will be preloaded with the phone or come later as part of a software update in coming months.

Both Apple and Microsoft have so far declined comment on the report, though Microsoft has added that it routinely speaks with companies about licensing ActiveSync.

by MacNN Staff





  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Any chance

    we'd get that in OS X?

  1. Zaren

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Already in OSX talks to Exchange servers, and then there's Entourage, forr what that's worth.

  1. mitchcohen

    Joined: Dec 1969



    All this talk about IMAP not being secure really gets my goat. IMAP, SMTP, and LDAP are all available in secure versions through SSL. This is the only way I configure mail servers, and it works great.

  1. windsurfer_nyc

    Joined: Dec 1969


    This could be huge

    I hope it's true

  1. apple4ever

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Its only a barrier to companies run by blind, paranoid, ignorant, IT staff.

  1. mqualben

    Joined: Dec 1969


    yeah, any chance?

    The paranoia with opening IMAP on Exchange servers has little to do with the IMAP protocol itself. According to at least one of Microsoft's own security bulletins, it is safest to only use MAPI on Exchange servers, because the way IMAP is implemented on Exchange servers makes it more susceptible to buffer overruns. And the last time I checked, and Entourage cannot talk with Exchange via MAPI. So yeah, good question, testudo.

  1. MisterMe

    Joined: Dec 1969


    MacOS X and Exchange

    Mail has been able to work directly with Exchange rather than IMAP since MacOS X 10.4. However, your IT staff has to setup the server to allow this. Whether it does or not is another discussion that is too painful to get into.

  1. danviento

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Has anyone considered

    the possibility that if the iPhone takes off as a business communication tool, despite the fact that it's not designed for that, that perhaps more IT departments would start to investigate IMAP and provide the necessary hardware and maintenance (actual work) to change current tendencies? All the universities that I'e been to that use the MS exchange server support IMAP, probably for their Mac constituents. Understandably, such institutions have more resources and a greater user base that would have more of a need for a widely accepted standard than a smaller business. However, were many of the employees of such a business utilizing hardware that requires at least IMAP, then it could, in fact, save money to make such a changed.

    I don't have a working knowledge of how the MS system works, so I don't know how much of an effort porting over to IMAP would be.

    The future will tell.

  1. phillymjs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    s**** MS

    It should be on them to make Exchange compatible with the iPhone, instead of the other way around. And I don't mean via IMAP, I mean everything... mail, calendaring, contacts, etc. If Apple just waits, I'd bet all the CEOs and VIPs who write the big checks to Microsoft and who will be lining up to get their shiny new iPhone might just apply enough pressure to get it done.

    Either that, or Apple ought to hold out until Microsoft gives us a decent OS X-native Exchange client that does MAPI. What's currently built into Entourage sucks hard.

  1. joe11ee

    Joined: Dec 1969



    the iPhone looks amazing, and it probably feels amazing in the palm of your hand, too. It's sleek, curvy, shiny, and s***,with on-screen icons and buttons that just ooze and drip class.

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