by Paul Thurrott, thurrott@windowsitpro.com

Today, Microsoft and handheld-maker palmOne announced a strategic
partnership in which palmOne will license Microsoft Exchange Server
2003 ActiveSync technology for use in future Treo Smartphones. The
technology will help Treo owners synchronize data, including email,
between their devices and Exchange 2003.
"palmOne has built its brand on making complex technologies easy to
use, and having wireless synchronization to Exchange 2003 available
out of the box will enhance our Smartphone customers' experience,
while slashing company IT costs," palmOne President Ed Colligan said.
"Key to offering the premier mobile email access device is our
open-platform approach, resulting in a full spectrum of choices for
individuals to [Chief Information Officers] (CIOs) at the largest
enterprises."
The deal with Microsoft gives palmOne a more competitive stance
against rival Research in Motion (RIM), whose handheld BlackBerry
devices have become popular in recent years. Also, by integrating with
Exchange, palmOne won't need to build or purchase its own email server
product, helping the company reduce costs. However, the alliance is
somewhat controversial because palmOne has battled Microsoft in the
handheld computer market for 8 years. Recently, devices based on
Microsoft's Pocket PC platform have closed the gap on those based on
the Palm OS, which palmOne devices use (Palm OS maker PalmSource is a
separate company from palmOne).