In separate but joint statements filed earlier today, Microsoft and Google have announced that the planned shutdown of Google Sync functionality will not take place for Windows Phone owners, at least not yet.
Last month, Google announced that it would fully shut down the Google Sync contact sync service, which relied heavily on Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync and SyncML licensing from Microsoft in order to provide the functionality across multiple platforms.
At the time, since Google was already transitioning away from Exchange ActiveSync and by extension SyncML support due to the reluctance to continue paying licensing fees to Microsoft for the server access and device registration allowances, this put Google Sync users on Windows Phone at a rather massive risk of losing support for EAS via Google Sync on their devices and losing over the air contact, GMail and calendar sync in the process, unless expensive third-party options were used such as monthly server subscriptions or relying on a corporate server.
Today, on the day that support was meant to have ended for Microsoft Windows Phone users, both Microsoft and Google have announced an extension of Google Sync service until July 30th for new device connections, in order to allow Microsoft enough time to develop integration for proper implementation of full IMAP and Card/CalDAV support for contact/calendar sync over the air without the reliance on Exchange Active Sync and Google Sync for GMail access and other Google services.
Below, Microsoft’s statement posted on the Windows Phone Blog with Google’s statement following thereafter:
“We’re happy to share today that Google will extend their support for new Windows Phone connections via Google Sync until July 31, 2013.
“At the same time, the Windows Phone team is building support into our software for the new sync protocols Google is using for calendar and contacts—CalDAV and CardDAV. These new protocols, combined with our existing support for the IMAP protocol for email, will enable Windows Phone users to continue to connect to Google services after July 31, 2013.”
“As announced last year, our plan is to end support for new device connections using Google Sync starting January 30, 2013. With the launch of CardDAV, it’s now possible to build a seamless sync experience using open protocols (IMAP, CalDAV and CardDAV) for Gmail, Google Calendar and Contacts. We’ll start rolling out this change as planned across all platforms but will continue to support Google Sync for Windows Phone until July 31, 2013.”
The update is expected to be rolled out of both generations of Windows Phone in 7.x/and 8, though neither Microsoft nor Google have announced a timeframe for the rollout. As major updates for Windows Phone are rolled out on a seasonal basis, the extension of Google Sync support suggests that the update will be rolled out before extended support ends on July 31st.
While this is good news for those Windows Phone owners and suggests that Microsoft and Google found common ground on the issue, Google still refuses to address the issue of developing a dedicated Google Apps suite for Windows Phone, as the platform directly competes with Android, thus forcing the reliance on workarounds such as Google Sync to begin with. Whether the new agreement between Microsoft and Google will signal more cooperation remains to be seen, as both conglomerates are still competitors and likely forged the agreement out of necessity on both sides.