I just read on PocketPCThoughts.com that HP is no longer providing Microsoft Outlook with Windows Mobile devices. You might be thinking that you can simply buy the most inexpensive version of Office 2007 to deal with this issue. But, think again. Head over to the Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007 edition page and look at what it includes: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. No Outlook in that package. While only HP has gone down this no-Outlook-with-devices path so far, they do sell a good sized percentage of Windows Mobile devices in the US. One can assume that Dell and other Windows Mobile vendors will not be far behind.
Your next thought may be that it might be good to sync with a bunch of Google web apps. Unfortunately, while Google has a decent calendar, it does not have a contacts solution. Yahoo!, on the other hand, has decent contacts, calendar, and notes web apps. It even provides a free IntelliSync (now owned by Nokia) utility to sync with its apps. Unfortunately, I had such poor experiences with it years ago that I am afraid to try it again. Yahoo! has been aggressively pursuing mobile users recently. So, I hope they take this opportunity to create a good mobile sync scenario.
Microsoft is only focusing on Enterprise users with Exchange Servers. But, that leaves out a lot of consumers as well as double digit percentage enterprise users who do not have Exchange Servers. The importance of the desktop OS has been less and less important over the years as we increasingly find ourselves dependent on web-based applications. Even Microsoft’s own confusing Live brand web services acknowledge this trend. So, why are our mobile devices still often tied to a PC-bound Outlook client? What we need is a good non-Exchange Server web-based sync solution that can sync with any mobile device: Windows Mobile, Palm OS, Linux, Apple iPhone, whatever.