BlackBerry Alert: RIM Rolls Out Free SMB Server Software
Research In Motion today introduced free server software aimed at smaller businesses that want smartphone security without paying enterprise-level costs associated with mobile management software. RIM's free server software for syncing BlackBerrys with Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Windows Small Business server is also aimed at helping mobile IT staff meet the surging demand to support personal smartphones in the enterprise. RIM (NASDAQ: RIMM) introduced BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) Express today at Mobile World Congress saying that the software is being provided at no cost to address two key market opportunities. One is the obvious financial advantage for smaller companies that want enterprise-grade security but don't necessarily need all of the advanced components. Second, RIM wants to assist mobile managers burdened with increased employee requests to connect their personal BlackBerry smartphones to their corporate infrastructure. BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express works with Microsoft Exchange 2010, 2007 and 2003 and Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2008 and 2003 to provide users with secure, push-based, wireless access to e-mail, calendar, contacts, notes and tasks, as well as other business applications and enterprise systems behind the firewall.
Calling All BlackBerry OS UsersPerhaps most important for mobile enterprise managers, the new server software utilizes the same security architecture found in BlackBerry Enterprise Server.
"BES Express is based on and shares the DNA of our certified, end-to-end premium solution, version 5," Tom Goguen, vice president of product management at RIM, said during a press conference. The slimmed down version of BES comes at a time when RIM has been more aggressively courting the consumer market in its fierce battle with competing rivals in the mobile device market, namely Apple, whose iPhone has been making inroads in the enterprise. "We've seen explosive growth, it's been just stunning in the past year, and it turns out those consumers go to work, and want to sue their BlackBerrys at their jobs, and companies are looking for cost-effective ways to connect BlackBerrys brought to work to the corporate infrastructure in a secure way," said Goguen. With BES Express, users will be able to wirelessy sync e-mail, calendar, contacts, notes; manage e-mail folders; schedule appointments; forward calendar attachments; edit Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint; access files stored on the company network; and use mobile applications to access data behind the corporate firewall.
For mobile IT staff, the pared down software offers support for 35 IT controls, including the ability to remotely wipe the smartphone and to reset passwords. It is also certified for use with VMware ESX, according to the company. BES Express will be available as a free download at the RIM Web site in March.