BlackBerry Launches Business Cloud Services for Office 365
It’s been almost a year in the making, but BlackBerry Business Cloud Services for Microsoft Office 365 has officially landed, bringing the troubled smartphone brand and Microsoft’s cloud productivity cornerstone closer together.
A quick history lesson: It was first announced that Research In Motion (RIM), manufacturer of the BlackBerry, planned to bring free BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) support to Office 365 forebear Microsoft BPOS back in March 2011. In October of that same year, RIM launched an open beta, noting it had dubbed the support BlackBerry Business Cloud Services for Microsoft Office 365 (that promised BPOS support never materialized, to the best of my knowledge).
RIM hosts the cloud solution itself, linking the Microsoft Exchange Online messaging system at the core of Microsoft Office 365 with the customer’s BlackBerry smartphones, giving users synchronized e-mail, calendars, contacts, tasks and memo pads across platforms. And administrators get the ability to manage BlackBerry devices across platforms, even as users get self-serve security options such as the ability to wipe their device remotely in the event of loss.
Intriguingly, RIM is offering value-added migration and premium support services for BlackBerry Business Cloud Services. But now that it’s an official, real, solid product, I think plenty of Microsoft cloud partners are going to find their own ways of monetizing those kinds of offerings themselves.