Microsoft's solution to Gmail syncing row: use Outlook

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Microsoft makes push for Gmail users to "upgrade" to Outlook after Google cuts off inbox synchronisation

Microsoft has told Gmail users who are unhappy with Google's decision to end support for Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) to "upgrade" to Outlook.com.

Google recently announced that it was ending support for Google Sync, which effectively hobbles the collection of Gmail in mail clients for Windows Phone and Windows 8, with calendar support and push emails affected. Customers who pay for Gmail services will still be able to use EAS.

People currently using Gmail for free are facing a situation where they might have to degrade their mobile email experience by downgrading to an older protocol

The announcement from Google raised eyebrows because it meant that from the end of next month it will be impossible to set up new devices using Google Sync and Exchange ActiveSync for free Google accounts.

Google will continue to use other protocols for syncing calendars and contacts for Android and iOS, but they are unsupported in Windows Phone, Windows 8 or Microsoft Outlook.

In its announcement, Google said it offered similar syncing "access via IMAP, CalDAV and CardDAV, making it possible to build a seamless sync experience using open protocols" - but that's not the case for Microsoft platforms, where mobile users would suffer.

Microsoft has shot back by telling Gmail users to set up a free Outlook.com account to get better control over email by forwarding Gmail messages to an Outlook inbox.

"People currently using Gmail for free are facing a situation where they might have to degrade their mobile email experience by downgrading to an older protocol that doesn't sync your calendar or contacts, doesn't give you direct push of new email messages and doesn't have all the benefits of Exchange ActiveSync," the company said in a blog post.

"If you want a better email, especially on your phone or tablet, it's time to join the millions who have already made the choice to upgrade to Outlook.com."

The company outlined how users could set up a default forwarding service from Gmail and link contacts with the new Outlook account.

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