Weekend discussion: Google drops Exchange ActiveSync support for Gmail, but why?

Beginning January 4, 2013, Google plans on conducting some “Winter cleaning” by killing off some of its services and products. One of the services, Google Sync, is among a list of services that will be discontinued. Google Sync is designed to allow access to Gmail, Calendar, and Contacts via Microsoft’s Exchange ActiveSync protocol. This comes as a major blow to Windows Phone users who require Google Sync to be able to sync their Gmail accounts. Why is Google doing this?

“With the recent launch of CardDAV, Google now offers similar access via IMAP, CalDAV and CardDAV, making it possible to build a seamless sync experience using open protocols. Starting January 30, 2013, consumers won’t be able to set up new devices using Google Sync; however, existing Google Sync connections will continue to function. Google Sync will continue to be fully supported for Google Apps for Business, Government and Education. Users of those products are unaffected by this announcement,” Google stated in an official blog post.

For those that did not know, Google uses Microsoft’s Exchange ActiveSync within Google Sync via a license and must pay Microsoft to use it. Google is among a list of companies that have licenses to use such a service. Android, on the other hand, does not require Google Sync so Android users will be unaffected by this change. While it may be a great thing for Google to make the shift to open source with CalDAV and CardDAV, Microsoft has yet to support these two standards and this creates an issue for Windows Phone users who have Gmail accounts. Google seems to be pushing away its Gmail user-base by forcing those who have a Windows Phone to jump ship over to Microsoft’s own Outlook.com email service, rather than have to deal with this syncing mess. Another solution would be to sign up for Google Apps for Businesses and be forced to create a new Gmail account, pay a monthly fee, and then be able to utilize Exchange ActiveSync. While Gmail may be the most popular email service according to recent data, this creates a major blow to those who own a Gmail account and wish to sync their email on their Windows Phone device. Is Google pretty much shunning Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform?

So why do you think Google is doing this? Lets hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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