RIM has announced a cloud-based service designed to allow mid-sized firms and large enterprises to provide access to the Microsoft Office 365 productivity suite on BlackBerry smartphones.
The RIM-hosted BlackBerry Business Cloud Services offers access to Microsoft Exchange Online email, as well as calendar, contacts, tasks and memos. IT administrators will be able to provision, manage and secure BlackBerry handsets using a web-based console.
BlackBerry Balance technology will also be integrated into the cloud service, allowing users to view work and personal content. Self-service security features will let employees reset a device password, or remotely lock and wipe a device if it is lost or stolen.
Alan Panezic, vice president at RIM, explained that the service is designed for business and government users.
"We have been working together with Microsoft and select customers through an early access programme, and we are pleased to now launch an open beta for the service," he said.
Microsoft Office 365 customers can sign up for the BlackBerry Business Cloud Services beta now.
Companies signed up to Microsoft Office 365 Midsized Businesses and Enterprise plans can use the service at no extra charge. It will work with BlackBerry smartphones on business and consumer data plans.
RIM will no doubt be hoping that the Office support helps rebuild enterprise confidence in its services, after a global outage brought communications to a halt earlier this month.
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