The disagreement between Microsoft and Jack Gold, principal of J. Gold Associates, is important.
A few weeks ago, Gold released research that raised red flags about using Windows Mobile 5.0 for e-mail. The problem, Gold said, is that Microsoft doesn't provide encryption for data on mobile devices. Use of third-party encryption, he said, interferes with the process by which the data is pushed to devices.
ZDNet has published Microsoft's response to Gold's comments. It is similar to comments sent to us by Webber Shandwick, a Microsoft PR agency in response to a blog posting that we did on Gold's comments. (Our blog was based on a story from CIO.com, since we don't have access to J. Gold Associates' client research.)
Microsoft directly contradicts Gold on the most important point, which is whether it is possible to encrypt data without interrupting the push e-mail function. Microsoft, in its e-mail to us, says that it is:
"ActiveSync, Outlook and third-party applications can continue to use the standard file system API's while protecting the content through encryption."
Gold, in the ZDNet UK piece, stands by his critique.
One thing is clear: Any CIO who doesn't fully check into this should lose his or her job.
On one hand, it seems unlikely that an analyst would take on Microsoft without being sure of his facts. Being proven wrong in such a high-profile claim isn't a good career move.
On the other hand, it seems equally unlikely that Microsoft would leave such a gaping hole in its product.
There is a lot at stake here. Motorola's acquisition of Good Technology last week, coupled with Nokia's purchase of Intellisync last year, is evidence that the category is expected to grow and that some very smart money thinks that significant market share can be taken from Research in Motion, whose BlackBerry currently dominates the category.
Whether Microsoft's platform is flawed, an analyst is misinformed, or the truth lies somewhere in between is a very important issue.