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Google to keep Windows Phone on Exchange ActiveSync life support until July

Microsoft has announced that Google has agreed to delay the removal of support for Microsoft's Exchange ActiveSync protocol (Google Sync) until July.

In the meantime, Microsoft said it is working to build support for the protocols Google will be using going forward, meaning Windows Phone users will still be able to connect to Google services.

At issue is a December announcement from Google that it would drop support for Exchange ActiveSync as of 31 Janurary, meaning new users would not be given the option to use Google Sync.

"Google Sync was designed to allow access to Google Mail, Calendar and Contacts via the Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync protocol," Google said at the time.

"With the recent launch of CardDAV, Google now offers similar access via IMAP, CalDAV and CardDAV, making it possible to build a seamless sync experience using open protocols," the search giant added.

On the iPhone, Apple natively supports CalDAV and CardDAV for data synchronisation, so new users will just be stuck using a non-push-friendly IMAP connection to synchronise their Gmail to the iPhone's Mail app. They could avoid that, however, by using the Gmail app.

Microsoft, however, does not support CalDAV or CardDAV, so the move would have left Windows Phone users without a convenient way to synchronise their contacts or calendars with their Google account.

Existing users on both platforms would be unaffected.

The Redmond-based firm said, however, that Google is providing an extension on the switchover. "We're happy to share today that Google will extend their support for new Windows Phone connections via Google Sync until July 31, 2013," Microsoft said.

"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," Microsoft said. "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."

Google discontinued Calendar Sync on 14 December and and said it would drop Google Sync for the Nokia S60 and SyncML, a contacts sync service used by a small number of older mobile devices, on 30 January.