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RIM links with Microsoft for cloud services

When its network is up, that is

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RIM has begun a beta of BlackBerry Business Cloud Services, a system designed to manage its users' devices remotely and allow access to Microsoft Office 365 applications online.

The open beta, available in 30 countries, will see RIM hosting the service that lets users synchronize data with Microsoft Exchange Online’s email, calendar, and organizer data. It’s available free for Microsoft Office 365 Midsized Business and Enterprise plan subscribers, and works with Blackberry business and consumer plans.

For IT admins. the service allows for remote management of handsets via a web console, letting them reset passwords and lock down devices. Partners and resellers can also handle this for firms who can’t afford the luxury of an IT department or handle a BlackBerry Enterprise Server.

"BlackBerry Business Cloud Services is an easy and cost-effective way for businesses and government agencies to extend Microsoft Office 365 to BlackBerry smartphones and manage the deployment in the cloud," said Alan Panezic, vice president at RIM in a statement. "We have been working together with Microsoft and select customers through an early access program and we are pleased to now launch an open beta for the service." ®

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