BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) has fired a salvo across Apple’s bow by taking its popular enterprise server software into the “cloud” and integrating with it Microsoft’s upcoming Office 365.
RIM’s plan to move the enterprise server, which has traditionally been a physical server located within a company’s firewall, into the cloud (the Internet) is about providing choice, says Rory O’Neill senior director of business marketing in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region at RIM.
He says many businesses are looking to move these kinds of services out of their own networks and start paying for them on a per-use basis.
According to O’Neill, the enterprise server in the cloud product will have the same capabilities as the traditional on-premises solution, only it will now be managed from a Web interface.
Alongside the cloud offering, the company has announced an extended partnership with Microsoft that will allow users of BlackBerry smartphones and the upcoming PlayBook tablet computer to use the upcoming Office cloud-based suite, known as Office 365.
Entry-level access to Microsoft’s cloud package will be free for BlackBerry customers that have an enterprise account with RIM.
RIM’s cloud integration with Microsoft will help its much-anticipated PlayBook compete effectively with Apple’s iPad in the business market.
The Canadian company has a long history of managing the security and use of smartphones in the corporate world, and a partnership to bring services like Microsoft Exchange to its tablet should prove helpful.
O’Neill says the PlayBook should hit SA shores soon. “Watch this space,” he says. — Candice Jones, TechCentral