iPhone Gets EAS, and Other Recent Exchange Server News

This week, I have a potpourri of interesting news items for your consideration.

First, Microsoft just released Update Rollup 1 for Exchange Server 2007 SP1. If you've already upgraded to SP1, you should download and install the rollup from Microsoft's Web site. The Microsoft article "Description of Update Rollup 1 for Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Service Pack 1" tells you what's being fixed with this rollup.

Second, the daylight saving time (DST) changeover in the United States seems to have come and gone without major incident. A few Windows Mobile 6.0 mobile devices didn't handle the changeover properly, nor did unpatched Windows Mobile 5.0 devices (like my wife's, sad to say). However, there seemed to be much less trauma and angst around the changeover than last year, which is a welcome improvement. Concurrently, and perhaps coincidentally, I've seen a few reports of an odd bug that's affecting some Exchange 2007 servers. The symptom is that you can't use RDP to remotely log in to an affected machine; this happens because the Exchange System Attendant service appears to hang at startup so the console displays an endless "Applying computer settings . . ." message. Rebooting the machine usually cures the problem by allowing the System Attendant to start normally. If you run into this bug, please report it to Microsoft Customer Service and Support by calling 800-642-7676 so the company can track its occurrence and get it fixed.

Third, last week Apple announced that it will ship an Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) implementation for the iPhone. In typical Apple fashion, the announcement didn't include much detail, and the company isn't making pre-release versions of the software available to the press yet. However, it looks like the iPhone will support a subset of the EAS policies supported by Exchange Server 2003, including remote device wipe and PIN locking. It's too bad the iPhone won't use Exchange 2007 EAS policies, which add valuable rules, such as the ability to disable camera, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth access, that would be helpful in getting iPhones into enterprises that currently require such restrictions. I'm particularly interested to see if the iPhone will support multiple EAS accounts on the same device—something that I've long wished for in Windows Mobile. (Interestingly, despite all the hoopla around IBM's pre-emptive announcement of iPhone support at this year's Lotusphere, Apple has made no announcements of IBM Lotus Notes/Domino support for the iPhone, other than the device's built-in IMAP access.)

Fourth, I find it fascinating that the top two items at fellow Exchange MVP Michael B. Smith's blog both relate to Microsoft product licensing: "OCS 2007 Licensing—More on the UC Wave . . ." and "Even More on Exchange Server 2007 Licensing . . . the UC Wave?" What does that say about how well administrators understand Microsoft's product licensing? How could Microsoft do a better job of explaining—or simplifying—its licensing models?

Fifth, Ferris Research is continuing to do actual research into questions that interest messaging administrators. Its latest effort is to determine how many people it actually takes to manage a messaging infrastructure; Ferris is gathering data on how many administrators are employed by organizations of various sizes. One way it's getting this data is by having people submit their own numbers through the company's Web site. Drop by and add your data; the more data points they get, the more useful the results will be.

Sixth, Microsoft recently announced a major expansion of its hosted Exchange and Microsoft Office Communications Server offerings. I'll talk more about hosted Exchange, and how to tell if it's right for you, in next week's UPDATE.

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