The mysterious Exchange App, the new ActiveSync?

Recently the backend of my Office 365 P1 account was upgraded to the Wave 15 series of products, which obviously includes Exchange 2013. But going through the settings of the Exchange Admin Center, I noticed something that made me curious.

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When you go to the Exchange Admin Center, click to Recipients>Mailboxes and select a user, you can see in the Mobile Devices section the option to disable the Exchange App below the option to disable Exchange ActiveSync. I’ve highlighted it in the screenshot on the left.

This is probably the same thing what was previously named the Outlook App in the Exchange 2013 Preview version. Check my previous blog post on exactly this topic.

Some interesting observations: the rename from Outlook app to Exchange app. Is this to distinguish between this app and the Office 2013 Outlook that may or may not become available for Windows RT tablets?

The option to disable the Exchange App is separate from Exchange ActiveSync is interesting. Does this mean the Exchange App does not use the ActiveSync protocol and uses for instance Exchange Web Services (EWS)? That could mean that mobile devices with the Exchange app can have a lot more features compared to only ActiveSync, which sadly hasn’t been enhanced in this most recent release of Exchange as you can read in another blog post of mine. Or will it just be a special ActiveSync “device” which may overrule disabled ActiveSync?

I’ve checked whether these options were present in Exchange 2013 Cumulative Update 1 (CU1), but this isn’t the case. That suggests that these options will be available at the earliest in CU2 and thus at the end of Q2 following the new servicing plan for Exchange. I would expect the Exchange App would be released around the time these options become general available in Exchange with a CU (or Service Pack?). And hopefully for a lot of different Mobile OSs.

But practically all of this is speculation, we will have to wait and see. An announcement or perhaps even release during TechEd 2013 North America is somewhat logical, seeing the timeframe and it being a big event (plus some wishful thinking on my part, as I am attending this event Winking smile ).

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