Microsoft and Xandros have announced a partnership deal in which Xandros will license Exchange ActiveSync and the Outlook-Exchange Transport Protocol to allow its newly acquired Scalix mail server to push e-mail and calendaring data to Windows Mobile smartphones.

“With the ubiquity of Windows Mobile-based smart phones, this agreement will enable us to provide the same range of Scalix connectivity choices for users of desktop, laptop and handheld devices that they currently enjoy with Microsoft Exchange,” said Xandros CEO Andreas Typaldos, who signed a deal with Microsoft in June to work toward interoperability between Xandros and Microsoft technologies.

“The expansion of our agreement with Xandros is a strong example of how collaboration through intellectual property licensing can foster innovation that benefits the overall IT ecosystem,” said Horacio Gutierrez, Vice President, Intellectual Property and Licensing at Microsoft.

I have both praised and criticized Scalix in the past, but I do think that this deal will benefit Linux and Scalix, at least in the short term (a real Scalix-Windows Mobile solution is at least 6-12 months away) by giving it a legitimate play in push e-mail, which is becoming a necessity for many organizations.

Why would Microsoft do this? First, it wants Windows Mobile to compete with BlackBerry at the mobile client level. Second, it’s likely that if Scalix customers get tied into Windows Mobile on the front end, they may later convert to Exchange on the backend if they grow or want more collaboration functionality than the bare bones Scalix solution provides.

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