Microsoft is looking to expand its mobile Enterprise and Cloud Application reach to non-Windows Mobile devices including iOS, Android, RIM and WebOS platforms with a protocol licensing agreement it signed with AgreeYa Mobility Solutions.  

The two companies met at a joint customer and partner forum in Beijing, stating the licensing agreement will enable AgreeYa Mobility to create solutions for mobile platforms that connect with Microsoft enterprise backend systems.

“We use Microsoft applications to support critical functions of our business including email, server management and maintenance of the company website,” said Doug Eney, chief technical officer and vice president I/S Engineering at Carnival Cruise Lines. 

'Bring Your Own Device' Driving the Shift

What's driving the move is the shift from a laptop enterprise to a "bring your own device" approach using smartphones and tablets, according to AgreeYa's CEO Krish Kupathil. One billion tablets and smart devices are sold every year, and corporate IT departments are shifting from issuing mobile devices to this new approach of working with smart phones and tablets bought on their own, he said. 

Back in October, Microsoft announced a Windows mobile business intelligence strategy with a committed to deliver "...interactive and immersive BI experiences to a variety of mobile devices." Support for non-Microsoft platforms was slated to begin in 2012, and this may be part of that initiative.  But Microsoft hasn't given up on its own mobile platform.  

Back in May, the company announced its Mango update that morphed into the launch of  Windows Phone 7.5 O/S, delivered in late September. Upgrades included social features, multitasking and more, but the new features did nothing in support of connecting to the more popular iOS and Android devices. Kupathil put it this way. "A very large percentage of enterprises are utilizing Microsoft applications and are demanding access to those applications on their mobile devices and tablets,” he said.

Mobile Access to Microsoft Solutions

AgreeYa said it will use the new protocols licensed from Microsoft to create mobile solutions that connect to Remote Desktop Services, Windows Azure, Active Directory and SharePoint.  Top customer applications include cloud service interoperation within mixed IT environments.

"It’s agreements like these that will help companies like Carnival support interoperability between these applications and different mobile device platforms," Eney said. "Solutions like these enhance enterprise companies’ mobile access to the Microsoft applications they need to do their jobs,” and with the AgreeYa deal in place, Microsoft seems intent on delivering.