Sync Wars: Microsoft to Sync Different with Apple?

Posted by:
Date: Friday, December 20th, 2002, 07:00
Category: Archive

CNet’s News.com reports today that Apple’s plans to recruit users to the Mac platform with iSync could be blocked by Microsoft’s superior resources, market share, and ability to bully around other vendors. Microsoft is apparently poised to release its answer to iSync, ActiveSync.


CNet’s News.com reports today that Apple’s plans to recruit users to the Mac platform with iSync could be blocked by Microsoft’s superior resources, market share, and ability to bully around other vendors. Microsoft is apparently poised to release its answer to iSync, an update to its proprietary sync protocol ActiveSync.

This article scores pretty high on the “Huh?” factor for me, not surprisingly because lots of analysts are quoted, and analysts have a tendency to say odd things. But especially surprising is Phil Schiller arguing that “the cell phone has become the PDA,” eliminating the need for a separate device (apparently Apple’s response to criticisms that iSync is too phone-centric), and arguing that people don’t understand that integration with a cell phone can be a reason to switch platforms.

I’ve been in total tech bliss with my T68 and Bluetooth, SMS messages (send and receive) appearing on the Mac screen, dialing with Address Book, iSync, and whatnot, but I’m not planning on dumping my Palm. (Here’s a new twist on the Apple PDA rumor: now Apple is not only denying the existence of an Apple PDA, but denying the Palm exists, too!) Not to mention users’ loyalty to Windows is unlikely to be swayed by the cool but buggy iSync. And on the other hand, Microsoft adding similar features to Windows is inevitable, even if Apple was first. None of us are likely to switch to Windows for its sync capabilities. The theory is the old “proliferation of devices” line we’ve heard since . . . well, John Sculley in the late 80s. Jupiter Research even suggests whomever controls sync to digital video recording devices will control your life! So, if Windows offers better sync to TiVO, will Jack Miller of As the Apple Turns switch to a PC? I shudder to think. In any event, extra points to Apple for clearly getting credit for being first. Let’s hope Cupertino makes money off the technology, instead of getting the credit without the cash (a la Newton).

Clarification: My reference to Microsoft’s ActiveSync should have been clearer about describing a new version of ActiveSync with expanded sync abilities more along the lines of Apple’s intentions with iSync. I’m aware ActiveSync is Microsoft’s existing sync protocol. I was not trying to suggest this was an entirely new technology. Analysts seem to think a new technology keeping the ActiveSync moniker might expand capabilities to a greater range of devices. I apologize for any confusion. -PK

Recent Posts

Comments are closed.