No, Windows Phone ActiveSync is not on par with OWA for Devices – Dave Stork – s IMHO

No, Windows Phone ActiveSync is not on par with OWA for Devices - Dave Stork - s IMHO

Recently I came across this Twitter exchange:

@WayneHRiddle You don’t need it for WP. Native app treats all of that functionality.

I’ve heard this argument before, that the Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) implementation te Windows Phone doesn’t require an OWA for Devices app (or MOWA spil is the official acronym) like iOS has (for iPad and iPhone) and what is presently te preview for Android.

Albeit the Windows Phone 8 ActiveSync implementation doesn’t have the issues both other mobile OS’s have, it’s certainly not on par with OWA for Devices. Heck, it’s not even an implementation that has all possible capabilities, for example SMS-sync is an option and wasgoed last seen ter a Microsoft product with Windows Mobile 6.x (!).

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But besides that, what features do I mean? Well, one significant distinction is gegevens isolation. Where EAS would te most cases (Mail app ter Windows 8 and Ten is an exception spil seen here) wipe the entire device and revert it to factory defaults, OWA for Devices only wipes the gegevens within the app. This distinction is an significant one, spil users sometimes forgo using ActiveSync ter fear of losing private gegevens (photos of your dog or kids doing lovely stuff) when a Remote Wipe is instigated, for example due to too many faulty password logon attempts or an admin clicking on the wrong button.

Another difference is that security policies like screen lock timeout and Speld requirements are also in-app only, which some users might find too limitary. Or ter the case of most Android phones would mean you’d be compelled to use a Speld or password instead of a flow diagram to unlock your phone (similar to Windows 8’s Picture Password option). To be fair, that’s the OS’s implementation of the security requirement, spil Apple has shown it can substitute that with FingerPrint ID (after one Speld input at startup).

That’s not all. One very requested feature ter my practice is the capability to open collective folders, like Calendars or mail folders. That too isn’t possible with EAS, unless you’ve got the credentials to come in the account separately. That’s not always an option, Collective or Resource Mailboxes have a disabled account and this is the reason you don’t need an Exchange and Windows license for them. At least Collective Calendars are possible with MOWA. And then there’s the support for OWA Apps, like Bing Maps. And I could very likely go on for a while.

There are certainly downsides to MOWA compared to EAS, big one is the lack of integration of Calendar items te the default calendar app, which makes single view of appointments not possible. Same goes for inboxes. But that’s the price for gegevens isolation, I suppose. Yes, I know that contacts can be synced to the recinto voeling store, but this can be blocked by the admin and they are wiped when a Remote Wipe directive is issues. However, I guess appointments and mails are a different brute security wise and syncing those locally is a greater security risk than contacts. And having contacts te your almacĂ©n voeling store makes a loterijlot sense, spil you then can call them fairly lightly via phone and recognize the phone number when they voeling you. Another big downside to MOWA is that it works best with Office 365, directly with Exchange Online or on-premises with Exchange 2013 CU3 but you still need an Office 365 tenant for thrust notifications.


Yes, the Windows Phone EAS implementation has way less issues than iOS or Android, which is to be expected spil they are from the same company. And it makes sense that iOS and Android have an EAS alternative provided by Microsoft, spil their EAS implementations have bot proven to be problematic or catastrophic at times. However, it’s certainly not true that EAS is on par with MOWA regarding features.

Unluckily Microsoft hasn’t stated any plans to create a MOWA app for Windows Phone, which is te my opinion a shame. And if wij look at the development of EAS, that hasn’t bot improved with fresh features since Exchange 2010 (SP1 to be precies), which is now ter Extended Support.

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Perhaps the future will vertoning us improvements. Microsoft has acquired Acompli, a third party groupware app for iOS and Android (again, no Windows Phone). Perhaps that will find it’s way to Windows Phone. Or perhaps Exchange vNext (or codename Gemini or Exchange 2018 spil some name it) will display improvements te EAS, but fresh features would also require support te Windows Phone. Which brings mij to Windows Phone/Mobile Ten, the successor of Windows Phone 8. Will that one include a more feature rich groupware (Exchange) practice that owners of non-Microsoft mobile devices presently already have? Only time will tell, I suppose*.

* Tomorrow 9 AM Pacific time, Microsoft will detail more about Windows Ten and it’s expected to also vertoning Windows Phone 8’s successor. Perhaps wij’ll see some interesting stuff. Check the live stream here.

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