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Microsoft plans mobile email push upgrade

Direct Push Technology to get first outing

For its Windows Mobile 5.0 handset software announced in May, Microsoft plans later this year to offer an upgrade that will provide push email technology and improved security management, the company announced Monday at its Tech Ed conference in Orlando.

The Messaging and Security Feature Pack for Windows Mobile 5.0 is software based on wireless features that will be added to Exchange Server 2003 in Service Pack 2 (SP2).

"One of the key components of the Messaging and Security Feature Pack is to enhance the Outlook mobile experience by pushing email from Exchange to handhelds equipped with Windows 5.0 using our new Direct Push Technology," said Jason Langridge, U.K. mobility manager at Microsoft. "Another key component is to provide the ability to protect managed devices directly through Exchange."

Outlook information, including email, calendar and contacts, will be pushed through a direct connection between Exchange and a Windows Mobile device, providing users with immediate access to Outlook information, without the need for a third-party network relay service, according to Langridge. "Many enterprise users, in particular, are concerned about having their data sent through a third-party source," he said.

Users will also be able to avoid the cost of using a third-party relay service with the new Microsoft technology, Langridge added.

As for security, via Exchange Server 2003 with SP2, IT administrators will be able to remotely manage and enforce select corporate IT policy over the air, Microsoft said. For example, administrators will be able to 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.

In addition, the technology will give administrators the ability to remove all information from a device, over the air, and reset it to its original state, allowing them to better manage sensitive information on a misplaced Windows Mobile device, according to Microsoft.

The Messaging and Security Feature Pack will be available in October, according to Langridge.

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