Microsoft Creates 'Push' E-Mail Capability

Microsoft Creates 'Push' E-Mail Capability

Monday June 6, 9:12 pm ET
By Bruce Meyerson, AP Business Writer
Microsoft Introduces 'Push' E-Mail Capability to Compete With BlackBerry

NEW YORK (AP) -- Microsoft Corp. weighed in Monday on the increasingly competitive market for real-time e-mail on mobile devices, introducing a software bridge between the company's popular Exchange platform for corporate networks and its Windows Mobile operating system for cell phones and PDAs.

The Messaging and Security Feature Pack for Windows Mobile 5.0 represents Microsoft's bid to fill what many see as a gaping product hole exposed by the immense popularity of the BlackBerry device from Research In Motion Ltd.

The new add-on for Windows Mobile is designed to enable the same continuous "push" of e-mail between devices and servers using BlackBerry and GoodLink.

The appeal of so-called "push" technology is real-time synchronization, which means that e-mails are sent instantly in both directions between the device and network. Likewise, a message that is deleted on a device or a desktop computer connected to the same e-mail account is instantly deleted in the other setting as well.

Real-time wireless access to e-mail and other information such as calendars and contacts is increasingly seen as a must-have business tool -- particularly for mobile workers but also to enable non-mobile workers to stay in contact when they're away from the office.

Push e-mail is the killer app. Nomad for auto service and in industrial settings is great as an initial application for Microvision's technology. And it's true that the opportunity for Nomad and augmented reality applications in various industrial verticals is enormous. But it may be that there is an even broader market that we are well suited to attack: the mobile worker.

Let's take a look at some of Bill Gates' comments about consumer devices that use Microvision technology:
"This type of heads-up display is a great aid in giving you an informational overlay for complex procedures," Gates said. "It can even be miniaturized further so that you don't have to wear a contraption. The whole thing could fit on, say, a pair of glasses."

It also could be used with mobile phones, Gates said, as a sort of wearable computer that provides what he says is "glanceable information."

"The cost still needs to come down before this can be imminent, but if somebody's calling you, this could show you on the heads-up display who is calling," he said. "That would sure be better than going into your pocket and pulling out a phone."

One thing to bear in mind is that millions and millions of RIMM BlackBerry devices have been sold with monochrome displays. In fact, many users prefer monochrome displays on their BlackBerries since the newer color display eats batteries. The device suits its purpose of relaying e-mails in monochrome, and RIMM has parlayed their monochrome display device's success to the tune of a $15B market cap.

The target market for mobile e-mail that RIMM has penetrated, and Microsoft is well positioned to raid, are function-before-form information power workers who crave connectivity above fashionability. Their jobs are to be in touch, in the loop, making things happen among distributed groups of other mobile power workers, largely through e-mail.

While I readily acknowledge that a full-color see-through eyeglass version of the Nomad will be the ultimate wireless mobile device, it may be a couple of years before a green laser diode is readily available or a suitable work around is invented.

What RIMM does not have is a see-through, head-up display for delivery of e-mail to mobile workers whereever they go -- so that they can continue to walk to their destination without stopping to pull out a little device and find some shade to read their latest message.

I propose that monochrome red is sufficient to meet the needs of mobile power workers who need to be head-up and hands-free while e-mailing (sending and receiving) and making calls. This device is not intended for multi-media and gaming. It is designed as the ultimate business communications tool.

Note that we do not need to wait for anything to happen. We do not need some manufacturer to decide to build millions of green laser diodes. We do not need to wait for an augmented reality infrastructure to be put into place. The market is there, today. Mobility is everything. 'Glanceable information' is the goal.

So what has to happen? Microvision needs to partner with Microsoft to create an eyeglass version of Nomad, with a Microsoft Mobile 5.0 smartphone as the control unit. Microsoft already recognizes the value-add of a see-through, daylight-readable head-up display like Nomad for industrial applications. It is a straightforward progression in thought and development to apply the same principles to the huge mobile worker market.

Start something see-through.