Yes, Microsoft does have a Mobile Enterprise Application Platform (MEAP)

| October 28, 2009 | 9 Comments
Gartner says that the Mobile Enterprise Application Platform (MEAP) market will top $1 Billion by the end of 2010 and that more than 95% of organizations will choose MEAP instead of point solutions through 2012.  The big takeaway here is that companies have been building tactical mobile application silos that support only one application and now they want to save money by going with a reusable platform capable of supporting multiple applications.  Oh and along the way it needs to support multiple device and OS platforms while providing security, device management, and a single IDE to build apps and logic to integrate with back end systems.
Gartner has a “rule of three” that states that a MEAP offers significant advantages in three situations:
  1. When there are 3 or more mobile applications
  2. When there are 3 or more targeted operating systems or platforms
  3. When they involve the integration of 3 or more back-end systems

Leaders in this space have included Sybase iAnywhere, Antenna, Dexterra, Syclo and Spring Wireless.  Microsoft goes from a large Mobile General Store with myriad solutions to a player in this space with a MEAP solution of our own:  Microsoft Mobile Enterprise Application PlatformVisual Studio is used to build the mobile logic and UI.  Merge Replication provides occasionally-connected data synchronization between SQL Server Compact on the mobile device and SQL Server in the data center.  SQL Server Business Intelligence Development Studio is used to visually create connections to back-end systems like SAP or databases like Oracle.  Data in transit is secured via SSL or VPN, data at rest is encrypted via device encryption, SQL Server Compact, BitLocker or programmatically through the Crypto API.  Integration packages that communicate with back-end systems are encrypted and digitally signed. 

We already have the best mobile email, calendaring, and contacts product in the business where Exchange Active Sync keeps Outlook and Outlook Mobile always up to date with Exchange Server.  Server-to-device as well as peer-to-peer device notifications are facilitated through WCF Store and Forward on Exchange.  Software and patch distribution along with device settings and policy management is accompished via System Center Configuration Manager.  ISA Server provides both VPN and Reverse Proxy access to roaming applications on the Internet on any platform.

When you put this stack in place and resuse it for multiple mobile applications instead of going with point solutions, ROI savings increase as the need for POCs, Pilots and training are reduced and the need for extra client access licenses is eliminated.  That’s Gartner’s first requirement.  We hit Gartner’s second requirement by uniformly supporting 3 mobile operating systems in the form of Windows, Windows CE, and Windows Mobile.  Last but not least, our SQL Server Integration Services technology combined with dozens of connectors mean we can connect your mobile devices with almost any back-end package or database.

Yes, Microsoft does have a Mobile Enterprise Application Platform that’s already proven to scale to tens of thousands of devices and it will definitely save you time and money.

- Rob

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Category: Mobile Enterprise Application Platform

About the Author ()

A mobile strategist and cloud architect at Microsoft, Rob has spent his career as an entrepreneur, advisor, teacher, developer, speaker, and author of bestselling books on mobile and wireless technologies. A pioneer of the smartphone revolution, he drove the development of the mobile app ecosystem from its earliest days and co-founded the world’s first cloud-based mobile device management company.

Comments (9)

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  1. Jim says:

    While I would agree that Microsoft serves the Windows segment of the MEAP marketplace very effectively, I would challenge a MEAP vision that excludes 80% of the mobile devices in the world. Let’s not forget that the “M” stands for “Mobile”, not “Microsoft”… The “Mobile” world includes Symbian, RIM, Apple, Android, and Palm WebOS devices in addition to Microsoft devices. A true MEAP solution needs to target at least SOME of those platforms to be anything other than a “point” solution in my estimation. Even Gartner considers Microsoft a “niche” player in the MEAP space (much the same way they treat RIM’s proprietary solutions).

  2. Jay says:

    I agree. I found this site searching for MEAP middleware products. We are a Microsoft shop; but, our mobile fleet is comprised of mostly RIM devices, with some IPhone, Android, and WM devices thrown in for good measure. In addition, I’d like to see Microsoft come up with their own “BlackBerry Enterprise Server”-type solution for their version of MEAP.

  3. Bill says:

    I agree with Jim. Even just considering that way that Gartner defines MEAP, it has to support two more vendors and Microsoft does not do that. Hence the premise of your article is false. You can’t just say, “Gartner defines it wrong, so let me create a definition that I fit into.”

    I wish that the divisions of Microsoft that are not Phone OS (e.g. SQL Server, Visual Studio, System Center) would create versions of their products that run on something without the Microsoft name in front. OK, so maybe not Android, but at least extend the coop-etition with Apple to the iPhone.

  4. Tom Marbut says:

    i like the android framework but it does have some issues with security…

  5. hello, thank you for this amazing information. Therefore, I would like to ask for your permission to add some of this information in my blog. Of course, I will provide a link to your blog, as a source of my mentioned information.

  6. Loved some points that were made here. Nice work.

  7. Great info, thanks for useful article. I’m waiting for more

  8. Cameron says:

    Great post. What was the name of the Gartner report you cited?

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