An Enemy of my Enemy...
Jon Gales from MobileTracker just pinged me about Microsoft and Symbian's new pact for OTA access to Exchange Mail - the story is in the WSJ now, and will probably be announced tomorrow morning. This is an attempt by both Microsoft and Symbian to slow the growth of RIM and its BlackBerry push-email system.
I'd say this is a big net-positive for Symbian, if it can actually get this system into handsets in a reasonable timeframe. Microsoft made the same sort of deal with Nokia a while ago (which I misunderstood as them licensing ActiveSync, which it isn't, this is just about Over The Air (OTA) access to Exchange) and I thought it was good for those guys as well, even better for the maker of their OS. Symbian desperately needed something like this as Blackberry and Microsoft devices can work with Exchange and Symbian was left out in the cold when it came to the lucrative enterprise handset market (without aditional third party software from companies like Good or Seven). If they actually do this right, they could actually produce handsets which work just as well as BlackBerries without the need for a proprietary back end system.
Saying it's a bonuse for Symbian, however, makes me wary. No one wins in deals with Microsoft (except Microsoft). I'm not sure what the long view is here for MS, but I'm sure they have one and I'm sure it's devious.