Friday, July 07, 2006

RIM Targets Hosted Email for SMBs

Unstrung writes that Research In Motion (RIMM) "released a new, hosted version of the BlackBerry Exchange Server directed at service providers serving small to medium-sized businesses."

Jack Gold at J. Gold Associates said, "There is no doubt there is pent-up demand for BlackBerry and wireless email among small and medium-sized businesses. The issue to date has been how they would implement it."

Remarking on RIM's entry into the managed-services market, Daniel Taylor at the Mobile Enterprise Alliance said, "Today, the hosted email services from companies like Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ ), MailStreet, and 4Smartphone offer support for a range of devices, including Symbian, Palm, Windows Mobile, and BlackBerry. It's good to see RIM finally announce a managed service offering."

Carmi Levy at Info-Tech Research Group thought the "availability of the BlackBerry server as a hosted service should also provide a boon for wireless carriers." He said, "The new service opens up a new revenue stream opportunity for wireless carriers, which can now deliver BlackBerry service to small companies that previously would not have considered themselves eligible."

Taylor warned that "As users select the newest devices available, IT will be pressured to provide multi-platform support for mobile email, and managed services provide an easy way to give users what they want. In that context, RIM's hosted offering doesn't go far enough to provide what IT managers want either in terms of managed services or heterogeneous device support."