Microsoft BPOS and Office 365 Get Free Blackberry Enterprise Server

Matthew Weinberger

March 17, 2011

2 Min Read
Microsoft BPOS and Office 365 Get Free Blackberry Enterprise Server

The Microsoft BPOS cloud productivity suite (and its forthcoming Office 365 successor) are getting a mobile e-mail boost with the announcement that RIM’s BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) will be included free of charge for new and renewing customers. For Microsoft cloud service resellers, that can provide an extra boost to the value proposition of the suite.

Microsoft is able to offer BES for free because RIM itself is going to begin offering a hosted version of the service later this year, and Microsoft Online Services has plans to license it, according to the official blog entry. And Microsoft says with this price break, any phone that uses ActiveSync can now connect to Exchange Online (a key part of the BPOS/Office 365 products) for free.

More than a price advantage, Microsoft says cloud customers gain more agility with BES. Rather than wait for Microsoft to upgrade their BES services, BPOS customers will have new features as soon as RIM adds them. And BlackBerry users will be able to use the self-service portal to secure their own devices. By that same token, cloud administrators can search, deploy, and provision new BlackBerry devices on the BPOS control panel.

Existing Microsoft Online Services customers shouldn’t fear that they’re losing out the deal – Microsoft is promising that the company will share more information on how to take advantage of free BES later this month.

There’s very little doubt that mobile device integration is moving from “value added service” to “commodity.” Even Intermedia is letting its partners offer ActiveSync for free with hosted Microsoft Exchange deployments, as we heard at this week’s Intermedia Partner Summit. And BPOS rival Google Apps never charged to push e-mail to smartphones.

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