BlackBerry maker RIM's long-planned BlackBerry Business Cloud Services for Microsoft Office 365 hit general availability yesterday, giving BlackBerry smartphone users access to Microsoft Exchange Online from their devices and enabling users to manage BlackBerry deployments in the cloud.
RIM first hinted at its cloud partnership with Microsoft last March while showcasing its upcoming BlackBerry product roadmap at a mobile and cloud event. The beta for BlackBerry Business Cloud Services for Microsoft Office 365 launched in October.
The new cloud services give managed service providers, systems integrators, carriers, resellers and other partners the ability to manage BlackBerry deployments on behalf of their customers in the cloud, RIM said.
According to RIM, the service is free for current mid-sized and enterprise Microsoft Office365 or Exchange Online customers and works with BlackBerry smartphones on business and consumer data plans. RIM said the service is available in more than 50 countries.
In an entry on the Microsoft Office 365 blog, Microsoft said the new BlackBerry-Microsoft cloud services offer integration within the Office 365 Administrative Portal for management; wireless synching with Microsoft Exchange Online e-mail, calendar and organiser from BlackBerrys; BlackBerry Balance, a service that separates and secures work and personal data and content on a BlackBerry smartphone; a web-based console for provisioning, managing and securing BlackBerry smartphones; online self-service security functions that let users reset device passwords and remotely lock or wipe devices that are lost or stolen; and BlackBerry security and encryption.
BlackBerry Business Cloud Services for Microsoft Office 365 is one of the main components for RIM's cloud strategy.
"We continue to build upon the end-to-end BlackBerry solution for our business and government customers with both on-premise and cloud-based solutions, a range of technical support options to suit any size organisation, and a growing ecosystem of apps and services for users," said Alan Panezic, RIM vice president of enterprise product management and marketing.