RIM launched the BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express today, a free service that lets users wirelessly and securely sync their BlackBerry with Microsoft Exchange or MS Windows Small Business Server. This new offering is targeted at SMBs that want a slightly watered down version of BES. The press release says it is also targeted to consumers, but I’m having a hard time understanding what consumers will be able to take advantage of this.
There are millions of new BIS customers using BlackBerrys but they don’t have servers to install any of this software. I’m not sure why RIM thinks this is going to benefit them. On the other hand, I do think this is a great announcement for SMBs that don’t have enough employees to merit a full BES purchase and still want the basic functionality.
- Wirelessly synchronize their email, calendar, contacts, notes and tasks.
- Manage email folders and search email on the mail server remotely.
- Book meetings and appointments, check availability and forward calendar attachments.
- Set an out-of-office reply.
- Edit Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files using Documents To Go.
- Access files stored on the company network.
- Use mobile applications to access business systems behind the firewall.
Lets hope RIM does something to address the purely consumer side with something like this.