MSExchangeGuru.com

Learn Exchange the Guru way !!!

 

Doom of Blackberry and rise of Exchange ActiveSync

If a solitary earmark feature could make something abide in the long run in technology, it’s like crippling technical innovations. The best archetype is RIM’s blackberry.  RIM came up with the best model for “business-on-go” , reached the peaks in market , but then what it did after that? It’s the “tough ugly truth” that once you succeed in technology, you got to expand your horizons else you are antiquated. With hoards of market shoot downs, its clear that RIM is loosing its market share out-right.

The drift has also been towards people’s outlook and imaginations. There has been a steep cruise from the aeons of business class people, who needed or need to be constantly in touch with business, looking for smart-phones towards just RIM, but even the masses, now want something beyond smart-phones.

In simple terms, there are so many smart phones that are available in market now. All got some song players, cameras, wi-fi, gps, you name it, they all got it. Then what makes one different from the other?

The answer lies in Operating System. It is the Operating System that commands on the number of apps that you can have and the quality of apps as well on your Smartphone.
Blackberry’s operating system, doesn’t let lot of flexibility in terms of apps, as a result , all the great apps are being worked upon for Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android OS and Windows phone 7 os is equally good as well. Let me, just in layman, terms say the merits of each, with iOS you get the best of apps, hi-fi sync, better OS interactions, with Android you get the open source platform and its customizing capability and finally with Windows phone 7 OS, you get a superior interface which is ideal for apps, a beautiful appealing

User interface and incredible social integration platform. At the moment, let me honestly say this, Windows phone 7 is certainly not in the same battle league as iOS or Android but one cannot ignore the distinct at par and few better features , the ideal being the Zune integrations with Windows. If Microsoft continues its quest, the day that Windows phone 7 could be a real hard competitor isn’t far.

The strategic alliance of Nokia with Microsoft through WP7 is huge. It not only paved the brim needed for Nokia to sustain, but also splashed enormous opportunities for it.

There has been an active movement amidst users from RIM to Exchange Active Sync.

Well, there is this confusion always amidst people if Exchange Active Sync and Active Sync are ideally the same? They are two different things. As a piece of info, Active Sync, is from Windows, which was ideally used for syncing mobile windows devices to desktop through say, USB, serial cable etc. Exchange Active Sync is however sophisticated, exhibiting push technology for syncing your emails, contacts, calendars between your mobile device and your server on the go!

The following are few areas which have attributed the move from Blackberry to Exchange Active Sync.

In the past if one desired emails on the go for business, it was just Blackberry. But off late, the couple of outages Blackberry has had and its fair share of OS problems, Exchange Active Sync seems a more viable option, taking into considerations its superior OS compatability.

The data and voice plans in Blackberry are more expensive than other plans, and if you are used to changing handsets, than Exchange Active Sync makes more sense and you could continue using your old account in new handset, which ideally is not the case with Blackberry.

The biggest hurdle with Blackberry is, it is a non Active-sync device which Exchange Active Sync works very well as.

Performance per se, its way behind Exchange Active Sync. The normal scenario is, when you have your exchange server running through Blackberry account, you also have your Blackberry server running in sync, which uses almost five times more resources than what ideally, an Exchange Active Sync does, now you got to understand that this holds good when you have architected your Exchange infrastructure properly.

Money what you spend has to be worth it always, right? We have no problems paying for a service that we use. With Blackberry, you got to pay while with Exchange Active Sync, it works absolutely fine with all devices. So Exchange Active Sync makes more sense. Let’s understand this a little in depth.

  • With Blackberry, you got to have an BES (Blackberry Enterprise Server Software), of-course an extra cost and that’s a lot of money we are talking about including licensing, money spend for employees on BB internet service plans, hardware and support costs. In Exchange Active Sync, Client Access Servers work with traditional IIS at no additional cost. You just need to know how many EAS users exist in your organization to ensure you can properly load-balance those servers to handle incoming traffic.

  • With Blackberry, your user quantity does matter but with Active Sync it doesn’t. The below figure illustrates the costs as per number of additional users.

Additional Blackberry Enterprise Server

Client Access Licenses

Price in USD for Electronic Delivery

Price in CDN for Electronic Delivery

1 user

$99

$119

5 users

$429

$519

10 users

$699

$839

50 users

$3299

$3959

100 users

$5999

$7199

500 users

$27499

$32999

  • The need of SQL server database is also a major consideration in Blackberry. If you got more than 50 users, ideally you will be forced to go with SQL server which is one more additional burden but in Exchange Active Sync you don’t need any additional database.
  • The cost of resource is always inherent. The more the complexity, the more expensive, the resource is going to be. For Blackberry administration, you need a good technical expert. In contrast, to handle, Exchange Active Sync, your Exchange admin is sufficient.
  • Installation costs, per se, you don’t need any additional hardware for Exchange Active Sync, it’s an in-built feature in Exchange whereas in Blackberry you need hardware.
  • Carrier expenses, per se, with Blackberry you got to use EDGE technology as it supports the needed sync-up speed for Blackberry but with Exchange Active Sync you can use the bandwidth you desire.

Security is resonant with Blackberry but it is equally good in Exchange Active Sync. The mechanism used in Blackberry is 3DES e which is very good, no doubts, whilst the one used in Exchange Active Sync is SSL V2 port 443, which is competitively good. But isn’t one supposed to wonder, then how come, so many outages, security breaches with Blackberry???? The real creepy answer is, ideally when you use your push technology for your email, contacts etc etc, its should get retrieved from your Exchange server first, well that’s what is done with Exchange Active Sync but with Blackberry it gets from its Network Operations Center, which mostly is out of Canada ( Canada, in particular as RIM is Canadian firm), most vendors want it in their locations. So ideally, the number of cycles to reach finally your mobile device is going to be multiplied and thus more chances of outages, breaches. Phew… this is the truth!

Impacts on battery life of your device is a significant factor as well. Exchange Active Sync smartly uses your battery in active syncs whilst syncing through radio transmissions. The amount of battery shelled out in these sync ups is huge, so if you can save it, it makes a potential difference to your battery life. All other major sync up technologies, from Blackberry to anything you name, eat up hell amount of your battery life.

Redundancy???? Well this is the worst, RIM has single point of operations, thus you are on a toss for sure if its distribution node fails!

Bottom-line is, “Corporate email works best with Exchange Active Sync than RIM’s sync architecture.”

Few points if RIM intends to get back with a bang!

End user experience!!! Certainly RIM has to have its omphalos as user ease. The tables have turned a long while ago and RIM should understand that it isn’t the strategy, legal advises, market pro-positioning, acquisitions nor mergers but “what a user desires” must be the crux to get back with a bang. Apple is hammering hard in the market with every product it launches, because it doesn’t work for any Management or Market logics but its users. Google will be struggling a little while more with its ease feature given into account its fair share of war with “ease vs simplicity vs confusions“. Its not about “feature adequation” or “feature variance” at all, rather making sense with a difference.

What RIM needs to understand is the crotch isn’t towards just apps any more at all. It’s about going ahead with times, changing its physical keyboard setups, and making it more glamorous for ceaseless connectivity and liberty of choice. It’s tough to say this but, Blackberry apps suck. The point what RIM needs to understand is it should revamp its set of tools. When you use great tools, you get greater apps; it’s as simple as that.

People don’t buy a BMW because it doesn’t malfunction but because it constantly tries to innovate and surpass its versions. RIM is substantiating that you could use Blackberry with lot of other mailing servers apart from Exchange and it works good with rest of them. Well, when the entire, at least almost, human race is moving towards Exchange why should anyone use something else than the best, Exchange?

The vicissitude in people’s expectations, technology, market and all of these three stanchions syncing together is a blow to the greatest marches in technology of today’s times.

If RIM really intends swaying over the market once again, it needs to STEP-UP not one, not two but loads to be on track. There is no way you can constrict people in your circumference of technology, you gotta be a vanguard in technology!

This is one of my favorite lines in life, by the person I admire most, people are never with you for “what you do” but ” why you do”, the same applies for products, and people wouldn’t buy it for “what you do” but ” why you do”. The simplest line, nothing lasts forever but at max, a year!

Anita Raj
Technology Evangelist
Team @MSExchangeGuru

18 Responses to “Doom of Blackberry and rise of Exchange ActiveSync”

  1. Ron Says:

    Very well drafted and valuable info.

  2. Ferry Says:

    I agree. RIM needs to work on their product design and prototypes or they will be gone forever.

  3. Anita Raj Says:

    Thanks 🙂

  4. Vinod Says:

    Nice article.

  5. Jeevananthan Says:

    Real plus about the Exchange Active sync..

  6. jamie Says:

    Have you tried the NotifySync app for BlackBerry? It brings Exchange ActiveSync to the BlackBerry very simply and solves many of the challenges this article talks about.

  7. Koky Says:

    magnificent submit, very informative. I’m wondering why the other experts of this sector do not notice this. You must proceed your writing. I’m sure, you have a great readers’ base already!
    Thank you again

  8. Maggie Says:

    Useful piece of info. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Jim Fells Says:

    Attractive content.

  10. bob Says:

    its to late for blackberry, reminds me of netscape

  11. Don Says:

    I would like to use a Blackberry Bold 9900 but it is very unclear if I can since there is no explicit statement that it supports or does not support Exchange active sync. The article seems to say it does not “The biggest hurdle with Blackberry is, it is a non Active-sync device which Exchange Active Sync works very well as.” The wording is hard to understand. Is the net of it that if I enter my company’s external Exchange servers address (which is the same as the OWA address) it will not work the same way that an iPhone, Windows Mobile or Android device works?

  12. Ratish Sekhar Says:

    @Don – Exchange ActiveSync is not for BB devices…

  13. Grommmm Says:

    Yes Anita, you re right. Loving the Blackberry, but thats the only K.O.-reason for me why i have an Android the last 1,5 years. That, and the calender is awful, just awful. No BB-App for that …

  14. dvice Says:

    This article is trash.

    This is how falsehoods are spread and eventually kills a company.

    1) Active sync can support fewer mobile devices per server than a BES server can
    2) Activesync will increase your data usage 10 fold over BB, the compression is not as good on AS
    3) there is no control on what gets sent with activesync, i.e. i send you a 10mb email you get a 10mb email on your phone!! BB only sends the first few bytes and if you need more you download it.
    4) On BB I can say I only want to receive certain emails from specific people.
    5) On BB I can change these rules on the fly from my BB
    6) On BB I can disable the message sync if I’m traveling and still be able to call, all from my BB.

    YOU CANT DO A SINGLE ONE OF THESE THINGS WITH ACTIVESYNC

  15. Ratish Sekhar Says:

    Wish I could agree with you… The answers below are strictly “technical” ones… we dont have anything against RIM or Blackberry…
    EOD its all about investing your time in a technology which will take over market over time…

    1) Active sync can support fewer mobile devices per server than a BES server can
    We dont need a dedicated server setup for EAS. The current CAS (Client access server) infrastructure will do the job… and when it comes to number of servers needed, I would say my EAS setup here supports 8000 users for OWA, EAS, Outlook anywhere, POP and IMAP… its all about how you plan and design…

    2) Activesync will increase your data usage 10 fold over BB, the compression is not as good on AS
    Naah… this aint true coz I have the option to specify emails to be downloaded on plain text or HTML… regarding Data usage, you download what you have in your mailbox – there is no extra data packed up.. Also, who cares about data anymore- all service providers are giving tons of GB’s free…

    3) there is no control on what gets sent with activesync, i.e. i send you a 10mb email you get a 10mb email on your phone!! BB only sends the first few bytes and if you need more you download it.
    This is absolutely not true… If I have a spreadsheet which is 8 or 10MB, the email will give an option to download it… and wont download by design… you can test it…

    4) On BB I can say I only want to receive certain emails from specific people.
    Create an rule in Outlook while in online mode (not cached) and it serves the purpose…

    5) On BB I can change these rules on the fly from my BB
    I wouldn’t call this a great feature coz its not everyday I do something like this…

    6) On BB I can disable the message sync if I’m traveling and still be able to call, all from my BB.
    I’ll switch off data network or set the email profile to sync manually ONLY…

  16. jamie Says:

    @Dvice your comments themselves are flawed.

    Let me address them one by one

    1) Active sync can support fewer mobile devices per server than a BES server can

    NHS use activesync on their Exchange Cluster. They currently support 1.2 Million Users with no BES. Also I currently have 10 BlackBerry devices all connected to the same ActiveSync Email account. Can you do that with BES ? I don’t think so.

    2) Activesync will increase your data usage 10 fold over BB, the compression is not as good on AS

    If I use BES I must pay inflated Data charges with my carrier vs Standard TCP data costs. Plus I need an additional server and license fees for BES

    3) there is no control on what gets sent with activesync, i.e. i send you a 10mb email you get a 10mb email on your phone!! BB only sends the first few bytes and if you need more you download it.

    Wrong. ActiveSync has size limitation policies and attachments are not downloaded until I request them.

    4) On BB I can say I only want to receive certain emails from specific people.

    Can you choose additional Folders to sync from your handset like I can on NotifySync for BlackBerry ?

    5) On BB I can change these rules on the fly from my BB

    I can on NotifySync

    6) On BB I can disable the message sync if I’m traveling and still be able to call, all from my BB.

    I can do the same plus I can choose out of hours periods when I want no sync. Eg evenings/ weekends. Can you ?

    Lastly because ActiveSync connection protocols are not dependant on the RIM BES/BIS infrastructure I got my emails a few months ago when no-one else did.

  17. Ratish Sekhar Says:

    @Jamie gave a better explanation I guess… 🙂

  18. ahmer Says:

    Wow, reading this article from the past, Anita you were so spot on back then 🙂

Leave a Reply

ad

Categories

Archives