Office 365 Blackberry Beta Available

Microsoft Office 365, their updated online services offering, added many new features over the previous version known as BPOS. The big changes included using the 2010 servers (rather than 2007, making Office Pro Plus available as a monthly subscription and removing Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) functionality.

The latter wasn’t as well received as all the other changes and was due to RIM (Research in Motion, the developers of Blackberry) taking charge of that piece of the infrastructure. BPOS has just changed to offering the BES functionality free of charge and business continuing on that platform (while they prepped their existing infrastructure such as upgrading from Office 2003) can still use the Microsoft provided BES functionality. Companies taking up a fresh Office 365 subscription and/or upgrading from BPOS to the new offering however, are not able to take advantage of hosted Blackberry Enterprise Server at this current time…from Microsoft or RIM.

This has kept a number of customers from migrating over to Office 365, especially as RIM stated it won’t be available until December 2011! There is now good news and bad news:

Bad News: RIM now say it will be January 2012

Good News: There is now a beta of the service available

To get the beta service up & running:

To enable your Microsoft Office 365 for BlackBerry service:

  1. An administrator must login to http://portal.microsoftonline.com and click on Setting up email on mobile phones under Resources
  2. Click Enable Hosted BlackBerry® services from Research In Motion®
  3. Agree to the information sharing agreement
  4. From the Microsoft Online Services Admin Overview, click Manage under Hosted BlackBerry® services from Research In Motion®
  5. Once the open beta is live you will be able to configure and activate desired BlackBerry devices

Once that is done, and you click on “Manage” in your Office 365 portal, you will be redirected to:

http://www.blackberry.com/beta/businesscloud

to nominate your company for participation in the beta.

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