A friend of mine just got a new job. Let’s rephrase that. A friend of mine just got a new career.

He got his Realtor’s license and has begun this new journey where he needs to efficiently manage calendars, contacts, and email like he never has before.¬†Armed with an iPad 2, a mid-2009 MacBook Pro (10.5.8), and a Galaxy S3 he showed up at our door in frustration that he couldn’t get all of his devices to talk.

The first piece of the puzzle was finding out where he had data. He wanted the calendar on his iPad, but he wanted the contacts from his Galaxy. He was using the Gmail app on both his Galaxy and iPad. I was quickly able to find out that his Calendar was stored on iCloud. Guess what doesn’t support iCloud? Any non-Apple device and any out-dated Apple device made before late 2011.

So iCloud is not going to work on two of his three devices. Enter Google services. Why Google Services? A) It’s free B) I wasn’t going to migrate his email C) It’s such a heavyweight in the contacts/calendar/email space that everyone has to support them.

Between navigating the non-standard apps on his phone, creating multiple calendars, migrating his data, disabling iCloud / crappy Samsung apps, and a brittle setup on his old computer; it took about an hour and a half to get everything to the best way his devices could support.

This means push everything on his phone, but it means a poll situation on his iPad and computer. So why does he have to poll for new items every 15 minutes? That’s because Google is dropping support for the push protocol called ActiveSync. Also because Apple doesn’t want a Google product to have a first rate experience on their devices. Google’s dropping ActiveSync and moving to CardDAV/CalDAV which Apple only supports using the polling method.

So here’s the rub. Apple makes their money when you buy their devices. They give you a great experience when you use their services (iCloud). If you want to ever use another device, be prepared for headaches. Google makes their money by selling ads against your usage patterns. They give away their services to sell you out to advertisers. Them dropping ActiveSync means they can collect more data about you. Again, if you aren’t paying for it, you are the product being sold.

My point is that you should think about the long term effects of where you store your stuff. You may be saying to yourself, “I will always use Apple products.” and that’s just fine. But most people probably said something along those lines in 2006 before the iPhone. “I will always use a Nokia phone.” You never know when a game changer comes along and shatters what you thought was possible. You’ll be locked into last year’s best thing because moving your information is either impossible or extremely painful.