Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer (CEO) of Microsoft Corp, announced the Messaging and Security Feature Pack for Windows Mobile 5.0. This update will enable mobile devices based on Windows Mobile 5.0 to take advantage of new wireless features coming in Exchange Server 2003 with Service Pack 2 (SP2), created to address requests by business customers for a faster, more direct messaging experience, improved security management, and better cost efficiencies and scalability.
In addition to providing IT administrators with the ability to better manage and protect information on a device, the feature pack includes Direct Push Technology, which keeps the business userís Outlook Mobile up to date by delivering information quickly and directly to a Windows Mobile-based device from Exchange Server, without requiring businesses to pay for additional and costly servers or middleware.
With the Messaging and Security Feature Pack for Windows Mobile 5.0 end users will have access to a wide range of business information, going beyond plain text e-mail to provide a fast and familiar Outlook Mobile experience.
Microsoft's new offering will implement the Windows Mobile Direct Push Technology, which will allow for Outlook information, including e-mail, calendar, contacts and new support for Tasks, to be pushed from a direct connection between Exchange Server and a Windows Mobile-based device, providing users with immediate access to Outlook information, without the need for an additional server infrastructure or other means of notification.
The software will also provide wireless support for over-the-air lookup of global address list information stored on Exchange Server, a feature Microsoft says was a top request from partners. This enables business users to access full contact details of co-workers on a Windows Mobile-based device. The feature is broadly integrated throughout the messaging, phone, calendar and contacts experience, providing users with a consistent, productive messaging experience.
Direct Push Technology is even more compelling when integrated with the Office Mobile suite in Windows Mobile 5.0, enabling users to do more than simple e-mail, such as send Word, Excel, PowerPoint, music and video attachments in messages with rich e-mail formatting and no size restrictions.
While increasing productivity for end users, the Messaging and Security Feature Pack will also improve efficiencies for IT organizations by streamlining management of device security policies through functionality offered in Exchange Server 2003 SP2. IT professionals can manage Windows Mobile-based devices the same way they manage PCs and servers through new features that support remotely enforced IT policy, local and remote device wip and certificate-based authentication.
Via the Exchange Server 2003 console, IT administrators can remotely manage and enforce select corporate IT policy over the air. For example, IT administrators can mandate a personal identification number password to be set for every device and set recommended and mandatory policies, as well as set exception lists for users to be exempt from these policies.
With local and remote device wipe IT administrators will have the ability to remove all information, over the air, and reset a device to its original state. In addition, the administrator can choose to have the local memory on a device erased if the correct password is not entered after a designated number of attempts.
Certificate-based authentication will provide native support for new certificate-based authentication, utilizing industry security standards to enable users to gain access to their corporate network, without using a separate password, and eliminating the need to store corporate login credentials on the device.
Microsoft is also placing strong emphasis on scalability, pointing that Outlook data sent between Exchange Server and a Windows Mobile-based device is significantly compressed, enabling faster transfer and synchronization of data, while providing operators with more room on their networks for additional revenue-generating services. Initial tests conducted by Microsoft have shown network bandwidth savings ranging between 35 percent and 50 percent.