Deal will put email, calendar and organiser info on BlackBerry devices via Microsoft Exchange Online
Research in Motion (RIM) and Microsoft have announced a deal for cloud-based Office 365 services to be pushed to BlackBerry devices.
BlackBerry Business Cloud Services for Microsoft Office 365 has now entered an open beta in 30 countries, RIM said. The service will enable enterprises to deploy and manage Office 365 services on BlackBerry phones.
Services on offer include access to Microsoft Exchange Online email, calendar and organiser data. IT admins will be able to provision, manage and secure BlackBerry devices from a web-based console, the companies said.
Users will also be able to do their bit when it comes to security by resetting the password or even remote wiping the device if it’s lost or stolen. Users can do this via an online console.
The new service will also include BlackBerry Balance technology, which separates the content on the device into work and personal content but presents it in a unified view, if the worker is connected to the organisation’s BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES). RIM says this will improve security for mobile workers.
The Balance platform can restrict access to enterprise data from within social networking apps and can also wipe all business information without touching the personal information.
VMware recently demoed similar technology at its VMworld event in Copenhagen.
"BlackBerry Business Cloud Services will help accelerate how BlackBerry customers can realise the full benefits of the best productivity experience across the PC, browser and phone with Microsoft Office 365," said Julia White, senior director of Microsoft’s Exchange Product Management Group. "This new service delivers valuable enhancements to Office 365 while preserving the cost and business agility benefits the cloud offers to organisations of all sizes."
RIM has had a tough time of it recently – it suffered a worldwide service outage earlier this month.
The outage lasted nearly four days and impacted services in EMEA, South America, the US and RIM’s homeland of Canada. The company blamed the disruption on a core switch failure and has offered users free premium apps as it begins to make amends.
However a survey carried out by CBR revealed that nearly 20% of BlackBerry users were already thinking of switching before the outage occurred and a further 34% are now considering doing so. Well over half of those were looking at Apple’s iPhone or iPad as an alternative.