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And the first iPhone SDK announcement comes from ... Microsoft?

Microsoft announces that Apple has licensed its Exchange ActiveSync, providing the iPhone with enterprise functionality other mobile devices have had for years, including OTA (over the air) push email, calendars, and contacts, as well as remote wipe (and you just know some Apple flunkies will assume Apple "invented" remote wipe);

Today, Apple announced it plans to join the list of mobile device makers that offer built-in support for Exchange mobile e-mail, licensing Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync for the iPhone.

Early on – with Exchange Server 2003 – we recognized there was no cohesive solution for sharing information and communications securely over the air. We set out to innovate around that and the result was Exchange ActiveSync. Exchange ActiveSync enables a mobile phone to synchronize email, calendars, tasks, and contacts with Exchange Server over the air. We wanted to make sure Exchange ActiveSync was compatible with as many mobile devices as possible, so we built it on an open platform. Apple joins Motorola, Nokia, Palm, Sony Ericsson, Symbian and many others that license Exchange ActiveSync for mobile devices. Thanks to Microsoft’s open platform and broad technology licensing program, more than 170 smartphones come ready for Exchange Server mobile e-mail out of the box today.

Our goal with Exchange ActiveSync was to create an open solution that lets mobile device makers pick and choose the kinds of features they want to activate. In other words, it’s really up to Apple what features they want to support in iPhone. That said, Apple has a wide range of features they can provide iPhone users to take advantage of Exchange Server’s rich communications platform. For example, by licensing Exchange ActiveSync, Apple can build a wireless e-mail client on iPhone that synchronizes e-mail, calendars, tasks and contacts with Exchange Server over the air. Apple also has the option to enable features that allow businesses to manage the iPhone through security policies in Exchange Server 2007, including remotely wiping all data from a lost or stolen iPhone, and requiring security provisions for email such as a password and pin access. These are important features that more and more companies depend on Exchange Server to deliver – and that iPhone owners now have the opportunity to experience for themselves.

I'm watching a few live feeds of the SDK announcement and it seems like Apple is doing the right thing. More soon. 

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