Press Release: RIM Introduces BlackBerry Server Express

By Kevin Michaluk on 16 Feb 2010 01:49 am EST
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BlackBerry Server Express

Press Release

RIM Introduces BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express

Free New BlackBerry Software for Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Windows Small Business Server Allows Companies to Empower All Employees with Wireless Access to Their Corporate Email Without Compromising Security or Manageability

WATERLOO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 16, 2010) - Research In Motion (RIM) (NASDAQ:RIMM)(TSX:RIM) today introduced BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express - free new server software that wirelessly and securely synchronizes BlackBerry smartphones with Microsoft Exchange or Microsoft Windows Small Business Server.

The new BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express software will be provided free of charge in order to address two key market opportunities. First, the software offers economical advantages to small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) that desire the enterprise-grade security and manageability of BlackBerry Enterprise Server but don't require all of its advanced features. Second, more and more consumers are purchasing BlackBerry smartphones and the free BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express software provides a cost-effective solution that enables IT departments to meet the growing demand from employees to be able to connect their personal BlackBerry smartphones to their work email.

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 email, calendar, contacts, notes and tasks, as well as other business applications and enterprise systems behind the firewall. Importantly, the new server software utilizes the same robust security architecture found in BlackBerry Enterprise Server.

"Today we are announcing an exciting new offering that further expands the market opportunity for the BlackBerry platform," said Mike Lazaridis, President and Co-CEO, Research In Motion. "In a marketplace where smartphones are becoming ubiquitous, BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express significantly raises the bar by providing a cost-effective solution that allows companies of all sizes to support enterprise-grade mobile connectivity for all employees without compromising security or manageability."

With BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express connected to Microsoft Exchange or Microsoft Windows Small Business Server, BlackBerry smartphone users will be able to:

  • 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

For IT administrators, BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express also offers the following:

  • Runs on the same physical or virtual server as the Microsoft mail server or on its own server. BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express is also certified for use with VMware ESX
  • Over 35 IT controls and policies, including the ability to remotely wipe a smartphone and enforce and reset passwords
  • A Web-based interface that allows remote administration and makes it easy to install the software, connect BlackBerry smartphones and apply usage policies

BlackBerry Enterprise Server v5 continues to be the recommended solution for deployments that require additional security policies, monitoring features or high availability. BlackBerry Enterprise Server also continues to be required for certain other enterprise solutions such as BlackBerry Mobile Voice System (for bringing desk phone functionality to BlackBerry smartphones), BlackBerry Clients for Microsoft Office Communications Server and IBM Lotus Sametime (for enterprise instant messaging), IBM Lotus Connections (for enterprise social networking), IBM Lotus Quickr (for document sharing and collaboration), and Chalk Pushcast Software (for corporate podcasting).

BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express is expected to be available as a free download in March. For more information, visit www.blackberry.com/besexpress.

Reader comments

Press Release: RIM Introduces BlackBerry Server Express

63 Comments

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So what does this mean for us regular consumers? I could use some of these features in class like better e-mail syncing along with calendar/notes/task syncing. Am I going to have to pay that extra $5 a month like people were saying earlier or am I reading this article correctly saying it is completely free?

I hope Crackberry is going to write up a post that kind of explains how all of this will affect the average BIS user :) Thanks

HOPEFULLY, we'll be getting this set up for the CrackBerry staff so that we may be able to give you a better then anyone else, hands on look at it. That way it makes more sense to everyone as to how it affects them. Stay tuned, plus we'll try and break down for everyone in a follow up post as well.

Right...well I'm glad I woke up to read this tweet at 2am about RIM's HUGE announcement that the average consumer could really care less about. Oh well, small businesses enjoy...

Maybe later today RIM announces their new, not-shitty browser?

didnt know press releases were done so early, great job crackberry.com .Now all im waiting 4 is the 9650 official press release (fingers crossed)

RIM's comparison chart (http://na.blackberry.com/eng/services/business/server/express/Comparison...) only lists IM support as "Web-based (like Facebook®, MySpace®)" for the BlackBerry® Enterprise Server Express whereas IM support for other servers such as BlackBerry® Service from
your Wireless Provider is listed as "Web based (BlackBerry® Messenger, AIM®, Yahoo!® Messenger, Windows Live™ Messenger, Google Talk™ and ICQ®)." Does this really mean that other IM services including BBM wouldn't work on Enterprise Server Express or did they just rush this comparison chart out the door?

BBM falls under social networking support :)

It looks like they swapped the cells when adding it, bottom should be on top and vice versa.

...but otherwise not very exciting. Just a relaunch of Professional Software for free but with access to network files and attachment editing. If you have an Exchange server I don't think the $99/CAL cost really held you back.

Problem I'm in now is that I already have BES w/ only a dozen users only using basic features (BESX would be sufficient). Do I scrap it to save the $99/CAL for future users or keep it for the features I'm not using?

BES Express is supposed to run alongside the Exchange Server, not on a client (be it Mac, PC or whatever).

If you don't connect to an Exchange server, you're SOL. If you do, this is actually fantastic news.

So, If I interpret this correctly, this announcement has basically no impact on BIS or the millions of consumers who are using BlackBerry.

What I think is interesting that this still follows an on-premise strategy whereas you are installing the software on your own servers.

Wouldn't it be awesome if RIM offers BES functionalithank you for contacting us. for BIS user? Wait, that's what we are waiting for right?

Really RIM? This was your big announcement? As a small business we can already outsource BES services from several providers. Why would we run our own servers?

How about supporting Activesync for BIS users?

Yet another disappointing announcement from RIM! They just don't get it!

For me, this is maybe better than ActiveSync support. I have SBS 2008, and had been mightily disappointed by the (complete) lack of support.

Now, my phone will connect directly to my server for my mail, contacts, calendar, and for whichever documents I want to make available. For me this is totally AWESOME news (especially since I won't have to pay for it!).

It also opens up the opportunity for me to recommend SBS 2008 to my consulting clients, with Blackberry as their mobile solution.

In the Comparison Chart:

Free software and CALs
Up to 75 users on the email server or 2000+ with dedicated server(s)

I'm I reading this right? Does that say it supports over 2000 users if BESX is installed on it's own server?

Is this some kind of April Fool's joke? Yawn, roll eyes. RIM just does not get it. The big growth market right now is the consumer market who is on a BIS account. RIM invented wireless syncing of calendar and contacts but you have to have an expensive BES account. If you are a consumer with a Berry, you have to sync the contacts with a cable. How archaic. If you have an iphone or Android phone, you can sync your contacts and calendar wirelessly with mobile me or Google. Mobile Me costs $70 a year and th Google Sync is free. I am sick of syncing my Outlook to my Berry with a cable. I am getting an iphone or an Android phone next. These companies offer wireless syncing and push email. The RIM OS is long on the tooth and looks like DOS. Good bye you dinosaur!

Well, it's true but on the other hand you can sync your BB with Gmail too using Gmail Sync. So it's same as Android isn't it?

I know, RIM just doesnt get it. Its crazy that you have to cable your BB in order to get your calendar and corporate e-mail. Its really sucks. I wish there was some sort of free option available to set up in your own IT department that would sync everything, without having to cable anymore. Not a full BES, but like a BES Lite version that doesn't cost much.....hmmmmmmm....we can dream can't we.

As someone who came from the iPhone, let me give some input as to the differences. The iPhone did activesync to my exchange server quite well, however the data on the device was not encrypted (even thought it tells the exchange server it is). Also, the email viewing is better on the iphone (this may change when the the BB goes webkit).

However, managing multiple email accounts on the iPhone was the biggest PITA I've ever experienced. I have 4 email accounts on my phone. Trying to figure out which one just got an email or switching between them was a minimum of 4 or 5 steps.

Also, I switched because I was sick of Apple having complete control over what software was available for my phone. Sure, I could have jailbroken it, but why introduce potential problems. With the BB I can go through appworld to get RIM "approved" apps or get it straight from the developer.

Android is much better in this regard but developers I talked to on my favorite apps weren't committing to the platform because of the time required to check the apps across all different hardware.

So while I'm not saying "don't switch," just know it isn't so clear cut. Especially when you can wait for BIS 3.0 coming soon which gives you gmail bi-directional sync (read an item on the web, it gets marked as read on your BB).

In the end it's all personal preference, very much how I like my E46 more than I'd like your E92. The E92 has more bells and whistles but the E46 does what it was made to do in a better way (IMO).

im actually loving this announcement...first off i can now move from the $45 verizon bb plan to the $30 one and save myself like $180 a year.....second off i can install this at work and we can connect all our bb users for free...before we had to use $100 licenses every time....so what if it is an add on software, if its free then im willing to do a little work to have instant email rather than every 15 minute email

Well played i say

Thank you for this, I agree as well... I would like it if I could get my work e-mail on my BB, but they have BES, if they would start offering something like this it would be great, I know I'd sign up.

I'm glad to hear that people were wrong when they said this would not support Exchange 2010 (since it would only be BES 4.1.6).

Sorry to come off as ignorant. I'm one of those people who had an IT company who did it all thru their corporate BES over the years. Now I've started a new company and am figuring it all out for myself!

My website is powered by google apps and all of their "syncing" solutions suck! Would I have to but a Microsoft Exchange Server to be able to do this??? What would the cheapest option for that be???

Thanks in advance guys!!

You would need an exchange server. Honestly, if you're just one person it's probably best to get a hosted exchange account. If there are a few of you then get your own hardware.

The "cheapest" thing to get is Windows Small Business Server 2008 (Standard or Premium). For less than the cost of exchange alone you can get Windows Server 2008, Exchange 2008, SQL Server 2005 all in a nicely integrated package. It really is great for businesses without on-site support.

Like I said though, it all depends how many people you are working with.

Sure, RIM has shifted to a new focus by marketing the Blackberry to the consumer market, but that doesn't mean that a corporate sync solution such as this means that they are out of touch! It just means that they are trying to get more corporations hooked on the original (and IMHO) coolest feature of Blackberrys....the ability to sync contacts, email and calendar wirelessly and collaborate with other corporate users.

I am experimenting with the current Blackberry Professional Server product which is the product which will be replaced with BESX. It is slick, polished, integrates well with MS Exchange 2007 and its use provides insight to the corporate raison d'etre of Blackberry use.

/ES

This is a great announcement for SMB's as it can certainly save some coin by not having to pay the per user fees for BES licenses. Sadly I know that can be a sticking point as my previous employer was cutting back berry's because of that! I am sure they would be willing to toss this on the system for people now.

On the flip side it doesn't help those of us on BIS and/or who's companies are big enough that there is no way they would install this for us. Some of us also don't prefer to have to use google products for everything. Come on RIM, throw us a bone!

Nevermind, went to the site to answer my own question:

"works with any Internet-enabled BlackBerry data plan or a BlackBerry enterprise data plan."

If you get your mail from an MS Exchange server, this is WAAAAAY better than the Desktop Redirector. There's less lag, and you don't need to keep your computer on.

Essentially, instead of being fed from your PC, this new software allows your BB to connect directly to your Exchange, where it will instantly (and wirelessly!) sync e-mail, calendar, tasks, and contacts.

IF you connect to an Exchange server, that is. If you don't, then this announcement doesn't do much for you...

I am glad to see RIM has brought back the BES Express, which looks like it even has HTML support for email which was one thing I was not impressed with when I downloaded the Professional Software. I look forward to getting this setup once it is released.

This is an important move for RIM to keep small-to-medium businesses. It was getting harder to justify the $500-$1500 annual fee for Enterprise Server when you were just using it sync mail. Now that the software will be free, there is less of a case to move to ActiveSync.

I was really hoping for a cloud-based solution to sync mail, calendar, and contacts with my BB, similar to Apple's MobileMe or how Google Sync works on the iPhone and WinMo (no plugin required). Instead I am still stuck using crappy plugins to sync my calendar and contacts. RIM really dropped the ball on this one.

This product is meant for enterprises running an in-house Exchange Server, not for people using BIS or wanthing to sync their Google Mail or whatever. This is RIM's answer to business that are wondering why they're paying RIM money for a sync function that's already built into Exchange. I know this doesn't help those without their own Exchange server, but it's great news for businesses.
Now that being said, I'm concerned is still falling behind Apple, Google and now even Microsoft when it comes to the actual device OS. At some point users are going to want some of the "cool" factor that these other phones have, and Blackberry is starting to look dated.

This is great news for smaller businesses (or prosumers) looking to get into BES.

As a BES admin in an enterprise but have personal devices for my wife and I as well (for the prosume side of me). I will be deploying this in a VM in the RackSpace cloud with the Google Apps Connector (once it is supported by Google). With this setup I can also drop my personal lines down to only BIS since I won't be running BPS any longer.

I am very excited about this and believe many other users will be as well.

I was having email from my job pushed to my BB until they went to a new type of service. I keep asking why I can't get my email sent to my phone again, and they said it was a security issue. I'm hoping this will take care of that issue and I can get my email pushed again.

This is what small business owners have been wanting for a long time. BES options with BIS so they won't have to pay so much...RIM lives up to their name.

I don't see the issue, consumers have BIS letting them communicate.

The folks who complain about RIM really don't understand the ecosystem and infrastructure at all.

RIM moved AWAY from email hosting with the release of BIS 2, Apple has moved where RIM moved away from and despite the success of the iPhone, user aren't flocking to MobileMe for the email service.

Consumers HAVE their OWN email accounts elsewhere that they wanted their device to integrate with, that is what BIS does and does it well.

The advantages of the RIM infrastructure are too great to express in this reply so I will refrain.

To the posters recommending Google Sync: I use Google sync for the wireless sync of my calendar. Google sync is not an option for contacts as I use Outlook. Google sync for contacts works with their contact manager in Gmail which is pretty basic and does not sync with Outlook. I don't want to use the Gmail address book as my Contact Manager. It has no bells and whistles. Also, with the Gmail address book, you can't import a PST file, only CSV. My contacts in Outlook all have pictures which do not get transferred over to Gmail when you import by CSV. Been there done that.

Then please do tell what you would recommend RIM do for the 1% of users in your situation.

You either need Exchange with BES(X), Google Apps (BIS/BES(X) and/or Sync) or MobileMe to get you working OTA.

No device manufactured can help you if your contacts reside in Outlook only and not in the cloud if you want OTA sync. You can use BDM to sync Outlook to the device over Bluetooth/USB.

I see many folks stating that this will not work for them when this announcement was simply not designed for them.

No, this has nothing to do with average consumers and most consumers aren't going to be excited about it, but this means loads for small businesses and people, like me, that run their own Exchange Server.

This is pretty much a relaunch of the former BlackBerry Professional Software, which hasn't had an update in almost a year.

I'm a single Exchange user that runs a personal server at home, and I use BlackBerry Professional Software (cut down version of BES) to get my calendar/contacts/settings to sync OTA.

It works well now, but it's lacking in two features. It doesn't support HTML email and doesn't support Windows Server 2008. My Exchange Server runs on Server 2008, so I have to run a virtual server running Server 2003 to get BPS to work.

I couldn't tell you how disappointed I was to hear that BPS was being discontinued, as I thought I would never be able to get HTML emails on my Exchange account and that I would continue having to keep Server 2003 around as a virtual server for years to come.

Plus this is completely free for up to 75 users when installed on the mail server or 2,000 users when installed on a dedicated server. BPS only allowed for one free license.

SMBs make up a huge percentage of RIMs userbase. So, this is good news.

I can't believe all the comments from whiney BIS users that this announcement isn't about them. Not EVERYTHING is about BIS, and RIM continues to dedicate substantial development efforts to BIS. For the small business arena - development has been nil since Blackberry Professional stopped getting any love.

Us small business users on BPS haven't even got HTML email yet! Since I'm going to go right out and speculate that this will probably get us HTML email reception, and that alone makes it fantastic news.

*Yawn*

Would've been better if Research in Motion (RIM) has re-launched BlackBerry Unite!... Except without all the bugs and a little more love.

I thought this announcement would include some BIS overhaul so it supports IMAP folders like every other smartphone ever created that allows retrieval of email.

This is more of the same old nonsense. Two thumbs down.

This is great news, but what I want to know is, will exchange email messages be sent and received as quickly as they are on a device with a bes plan on a bis plan device with this new software?