RIP Mobile Middleware?


I was reading an interesting post by MobileToday about Nokia’s move to remove the Blackberry Connect Client from their latest E Series of Devices.    Nokia plan NOT to ship the Blackberry client on their E71 and E66 devices but utilise the Mail for Exchange client that talks directly with Microsoft Exchange.   This client uses the inbuilt Microsoft Exchange Server Activesync that Windows Mobile devices also use. 

Obviously RIM is a competitor to Nokia (as RIM make most of their revenue from Hardware) so it’s not a surprising move.  It did get me thinking though that if Mobile email is to become a commodity and evolve past ‘mahogany row’  then the incremental costs incurred by having to deploy middleware need to be avoided. 

I often get the question from Mobile Operators sales team asking how Exchange vs Blackberry compares from a cost perspective when they forget that a customer needs to have a backend mail system to use Blackberry.  What’s surprising is that the middleware component often costs considerably more in licensing than the backend mail system per user. 

With Nokia, Symbian, Motorola and Apple licensing Exchange Activesync how long can these middleware solutions survive and will direct access to Exchange (or Lotus Notes) become the primary method of access to mobile email (just as Outlook Web Access has for browser based access)

I’m interested in your thoughts….