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RIM Releases BlackBerry Service for Office 365

Business smartphone maker Research In Motion has rolled out its cloud-based service for BlackBerry devices that works with the Microsoft Office 365 suite of services.

RIM's BlackBerry Business Cloud Services for Microsoft Office 365 enables synchronization and management, using Microsoft ActiveSync to connect a BlackBerry device with hosted Microsoft Exchange. Contacts, e-mail and calendar application data can be synched up via Microsoft's cloud. Another key end user feature is self-service security access that allows employees to reset their passwords and remotely lock or wipe their devices in case of loss or theft.

The main administrative feature is a Web-based console for provisioning, managing and securing BlackBerry devices. Some other features of the service should present opportunities to channel companies.

"Managed service providers, systems integrators, carriers, resellers and other partners can also use the cloud service to manage BlackBerry deployments on behalf of their customers," RIM said in a statement.

An element aimed at both the end user and IT pro audiences is BlackBerry Balance. RIM describes this feature as presenting a unified view of work and personal content on a BlackBerry, while keeping the content separate and secure.

RIM released a beta of the service in October and indicated that it would be available in January. A similar BlackBerry service for Office 365's precursor, the Business Productivity Online Suite, originally cost $10, but RIM made the service free a year ago, promising to do the same for Office 365.

In an interview with RCP last month, Tom Rizzo called BlackBerry support one of the most common customer requests for Office 365.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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