Last fall, RIM committed to making its Blackberry services for Microsoft Office 365 generally available by January 2012. On the second to last day of the month, RIM announced the new offering is now generally available.
BlackBerry Business Cloud Services provides mobile access to email, calendaring and organizer data with Exchange Online. The RIM-hosted version of the service is taking the place of the Microsoft-hosted BlackBerry Enterprise Service for Office 365 Standard users. (Microsoft will continue offering a Microsoft-hosted version of BES for Office 365 Dedicated users only.)
The new RIM-hosted service is available for free for current medium-sized or enterprise subscribers of the Office 365 suite or standalone Exchange Online. The service works with BlackBerry smartphones on business or consumer data plans.
Microsoft made Office 365 generally available in late June 2011. The new Blackberry service went to beta testers in October 2011.
BlackBerry Business Cloud Services includes the following features, according to RIM's January 30 press release:
- Wireless synchronization with Microsoft Exchange Online email, calendar and organizer data from a BlackBerry smartphone
- Support for BlackBerry Balance technology, which presents a unified view of work and personal content on a BlackBerry
- A web-based console for IT administrators to provision, manage and secure BlackBerry smartphones from anywhere
- Online access to employee self-service smartphone security functions, allowing users to \reset a device password or remotely lock or wipe a device in the event of loss or theft
- Integration with the Office 365 administrative portal