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We were very surprised to see Gmail announce last week that they'll soon end support for Exchange ActiveSync (EAS), unless of course you're willing to pay Google for your email. It means that many people currently using Gmail for free are facing a situation where they might have to degrade their mobile email experience by downgrading to an older protocol that doesn't sync your calendar or contacts, doesn't give you direct push of new email messages and doesn't have all the benefits of Exchange ActiveSync.
So if you want a better email, especially on your phone or tablet, it's time to join the millions who have already made the choice to upgrade to Outlook.com.
To learn more about how to get started with Outlook.com, check out the technical spec for Exchange ActiveSync in Exchange 2013 just follow these simple steps:
To learn more about setting up Outlook.com on your mobile device, see our simple instructions here.
For those still on the fence, a quick introduction to why EAS is so important for a seamless experience across devices could be helpful. There are many protocols for sending and receiving email. POP and IMAP were designed decades ago, were considered state-of-the-art at the time, and are still used by millions of people. Both were created before mobile phones really even existed. To have a great email experience in 2012, a protocol needs to do more than just send and receive messages on a PC. It needs to work really well on a variety of mobile devices, to sync not only email but also your calendar and contacts, to do this automatically, and in a way that preserves battery life.
Exchange ActiveSync was first introduced in 2002 as a way to help you have a great mobile email experience. Since then, it has continued to improve, with a number of optimizations specifically for mobile devices, including tablets:
You can read more about these innovations and a whole host of other nitty-gritty details in the history of Exchange ActiveSync. It's because of these advanced consumer benefits that many devices choose to natively support Exchange ActiveSync-whether that's a Windows Phone, iPhone, iPad, or even a number of Android devices. You can see more detail in this chart of some of the other devices that support EAS.
We hope you have a wonderful winter holiday. As you enter the New Year, we encourage you to seize the opportunity to upgrade your mail to a service that puts the consumer first and gives you a great mobile email experience.
--Dharmesh Mehta, Senior Director, Product Management
Google's decision is a mistake that's hurting consumers, but you can continue to use Google services with Windows devices via EAS with a service called NuevaSync. That uses Google's low-level APIs to pull your data and has its own EAS server. In fact, Microsoft should do the same thing for its Windows Phone customers.
I think the rational course of action is to just support CardDAV and CalDAV as a 1st class citizen. Lets be honest, contacts on EAS sucks when compared to a proper CardDAV implementation. There are too many field limitations. Since I've been using an iPhone 3G, I have compromised my use of contacts by not using the full address book functionality of the device. I want custom tagging and unlimited fields that sync back perfectly between all my devices. Today EAS does not all this.
EAS was built for businesses, but when compared to open standards like CardDAV and CalDAV, consumers have a far better experience that makes more sense in the real world.
As much as Outlook.com has innovated, I'm not going to dump Google for my consumer needs, but on the contrary, I will dump Windows Phone and Windows 8 because these devices won't allow me to structure and unify the data around the people most important to me.
Lastly, one of the major goals of Outlook 2013 was to improve consumer email compatibility. Not supporting CardDAV and CalDAV just ends up hurting the Microsoft brand, not in terms of $$$$, but in terms of mindshare and satisfaction. People will be relegated to junky plugins that are half baked and will then blame Microsoft for making a crappy product that requires them to jump through hoops. Lets not mention the instability issues.
Only way I stay with EAS is to improve on its limitations and ensure that 3rd parties are implementation a reasonable portion of the spec. Barring that, I don't see any value staying on EAS when I have:
Being a reasonable person, I would welcome counter arguments because I just see this as a net loss for Microsoft in the medium term and long term.
I really want to switch from Gmail to Outlook.com, but I can't because I cannot add photos to my contacts. Why is this still not possible in hotmail/outlook? Add the ability to add photos to contacts and I'll switch right now!
I too really want to switch from Gmail to Outlook.com, but I can't because I cannot add photos to my contacts. Why oh Why is this still not possible in outlook???
Also I have over 1600 contacts, all essential, but Outlook cannot import .csv files larger than 500kb, you couldn't make it up.
MS needs to add the ability to add photos to contacts & allow larger files to be imported 1 or 2 mb.
I will switch but how will I manage, please MS help us.
I purchased 4 WP 7.5 and have the latest Lumia 920, we need support.
I think you're wrong about this. I read on one of many pages today that you can choose the "from" account.
So it's not just me! I Thought I was going insane.
Microsoft seems to be more interested in playing politics than actually giving users good products. It astounds me that in an Outlook 2010/Exchange 2010 environment I can't use custom labels for my contacts.
They're not ripping the rug out from under anyone - it'll keep working post January, with only new devices being refused.
Is there any problem with "Rename your email address" feature in last three-four days? When I tried to rename my existing account for the first time, I got following message:
The email address associated with your Microsoft account can't be changed.
Please do reply if you are listening. I am not the only one.
On the issue with "rename your email address" - that feature is currently unavailable. We're aware of the problem and are working to get it fixed but we don't have an ETA right now.
Thanks for the reply.
Please please help.
Also for the last few days, not been able to "connect to Google" for contacts.
I need a way to import emails from other addresses and the ability to reply using those addresses, just like in Gmail. Give me that and I will be in.
congratulations to me for not having gmail account outlook all the way
I think it's now time to start a civilized dialog with Google. MS is actually not in the position to ignore Google any longer. Please change your mind. The time works against MS!