The Eternal Struggle Between Apple & Microsoft Moves Into Your Pocket

As processor speeds have increased fast enough to outpace consumer need, and a price war between Dell and the rest of the Intel world has moved those super-fast computers onto desks around the world at breakneck speeds. This has had the inevitable effect of slowing sales today throughout the PC world, including Apple. Until there is a new killer app that needs new killer hardware, this will continue to be the case.

The search for the new killer app has so far been focused on concepts such as Appleis Digital Hub, a concept that has been adopted by other companies. An article at ZDNet suggests that the next Digital Hub battleground for growth is the software used to sync portable devices, such as cellular phones and personal digital assistants, with computers. Appleis iSync and Microsoftis ActiveSync are the two main contenders.

ActiveSync is Microsoftis current protocol used to sync devices in Windows. ActiveSync uses proprietary protocols to exchange data, unlike iSync, which can use SyncXML, an emerging standard protocol. ActiveSync is currently targeted more towards the business end of the spectrum, while Apple has focused more on consumers. According to ZDNet, that could change if Microsoft decides to use it as Windowsi standard synching protocol. From ZDNet:

Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple is nearing the end of a long testing cycle for iSync, its software for synchronizing information between Macs, Bluetooth-enabled cell phones, personal digital assistants or the companyis iPod music player.

The software, due for release early next year and currently available in a beta version, lets consumers and business users input data once and replicate it to many different devices.

Thatis why synchronization software is shaping up as a key battleground for Apple and Microsoft. As consumers shift spending away from PCs to more portable devices, such as cell phones or digital music players, controlling the key element for synchronizing data on these devices with computers is becoming increasingly important, say analysts.

Although no projections for the value of the synchronization software market are available, analysts said control of the market could be hugely profitable.

"As end-user client devices proliferate, users may have an array of gadgets," said Jupiter Research analyst Michael Gartenberg. "Since most users will have the bulk of their data--both personal and business--on their PCs, controlling the synchronization of that data will help determine the overall success of future devices and services."

There is much more information in the full story at ZDNet. Both iSync and ActiveSync are available as free downloads from their respective companyis Web site.

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