Although Google has agreed to extend Google Sync support for new Windows Phone connections until July 31 of this year, Microsoft is not wasting any time in ensuring Windows Phone users can connect to Google services after that date.
In a recent blog post, Microsoft said it is building support for the new Google calendar and contacts protocols -- CalDAV and CardDAV – into Windows Phone software. Combined with existing Windows Phone support for the IMAP email protocol, this support should allow Windows Phone users to keep having access to Google services as of August 1, 2013 (assuming development is complete at that point).
Google Sync is designed to allow access to Google Mail, Calendar and Contacts via the Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync protocol. In a December 2012 “Winter Cleaning” statement, Google said it would not allow new Google Sync connections after January 30, 2013.
Google already offers access to Google Mail via IMAP, allowing Windows Phone users to continue connecting to Google Mail with no change, but the CalDAV and CardDAV protocols require Microsoft to develop new Windows Phone support capabilities.
In other Microsoft support news, the company is also now providing support for hosting Git repositories in Team Foundation Server and Visual Studio now has Git support. Thus Microsoft now supports decentralized version control (DVC), meaning developers can work on separate versions of the same code base without a centralized repository, but still have version control through a system of peer-to-peer patches.
Microsoft will also still support traditional centralized version control. Microsoft cites potential benefits of DVC, such as loosely coupled systems, distributed teams and relative ease of component reuse.
Open Protocols Prompt Google Move
According to TechRadar UK, Google is stopping support for ActiveSync protocols, at least in part, because Google feels ActiveSync has “become obsolete as the search giant developed more open protocols.” TechRadar UK quotes a Google spokesperson as saying it is possible to build a “seamless sync experience” using open protocols such as IMAP, CalDAV and CardDAV for Gmail and Google Calendar and Contacts.
Google Slips into Driver's Seat
Google’s insistence on Microsoft adapting to its new protocols is another example of what CMSWire has called Google’s assumption of the “driver’s seat” when it comes to mobile. Google, whose Android operating system has become as dominant on mobile devices as Microsoft has been on desktops, announced in December that it will not be adapting its apps for Windows 8 or Windows Phone.
As the center of gravity has shifted to mobile, Google is now in the driver’s seat that Microsoft once occupied. In November, industry research firm IDC found that Android had 75% of the world market share in mobile, with 15% for Apple’s iOS and about 2% for Windows Phone 7/Windows Mobile. IDC does see some growth for the Windows Phone platform, reaching 11% market share by 2016.
Microsoft is entering a strange new technology landscape where it is still A dominant player, but no longer THE dominant player. Google, Facebook and Apple have all eclipsed Microsoft in different areas as traditional PCs and PC-based applications become less important to how people conduct business and live their lives.
Only a fool would count out Microsoft, but the fact that Microsoft is so willing to build support for Google, rather than the other way around, is a clear sign that the days of a single technology superpower have come and gone.