Blackberry Cloud Services Beta Announced
For most enterprise customers, a big missing piece for a move to Office 365, specifically Exchange Online was not being able to have Blackberry devices fully integrated. Well that is now there is one less roadblock for a company to move to Office 365, Blackberry has announced that their Cloud Services have entered the open Beta stage, https://www.blackberry.com/beta/businesscloud/. This is a Beta and should be treated as such; Blackberry is planning to have it fully available in January 2012.
A little background on this; Microsoft did not initially have BlackBerry available when BPOS launched. What Microsoft did to fix this was to deploy Blackberry Enterprise Services (BES) within their datacenters and manage and maintain the service. This allowed customers to utilize Blackberry devices with BPOS. But what Microsoft found is that Blackberry and BES was not a core competency and the maintenance and overhead of managing this took them away from core BPOS administration. Microsoft also changed $10 per user per month to use the BES service with BPOS.
So earlier this year Microsoft announced that the current BES BPOS customers would be getting the service for free and that Blackberry was working on a separate cloud service that would integrate with Office 365.
My company Catapult Systems is in the process of getting into the Blackberry Beta and once I have had a chance to check out the service I will blog about it.
UPDATE: Wiki page about the Beta has been created on the Office 365 Community site, http://community.office365.com/en-us/w/administration/826.aspx