After hinting at the affair for over a year, BlackBerry Business Cloud Service for Microsoft Office 365 was revealed to the world this week. A much needed move for the once primo of smartphones -- arguably losing steam to its Apple contender -- the new package deal forms a joint and efficient union between the two companies, making mobile offices all the more proficient, and even more reason to stay permanently attached.

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A Match Made In Heaven

Rumors of the partnership have been a flutter since 2010, but the more substantial dialogue came in October of last year, when Research in Motion (RIM) announced it would receive applications to participate in its Open Beta Program, with an anticipated official launch date set for January. After three months in Beta mode, the formal release came this Monday. Available at no extra charge to medium-sized and enterprise subscribers, Blackberry for Office 365 eases business processes for Blackberry users, allotting smoother access to programs with improved functionality. Overall, the principal development is a broader phone sync with Microsoft Office programs, including calendar, tasks and contacts, in addition to mail. Additionally, Blackberry will offered increased security provisions for better protection of assets.

Specific highlights include:

  • Access to device management features, including groups, user accounts, and other admin-ish essentials
  • Enhanced wireless messaging capabilities
  • Better Blackberry messaging practice
  • Encrypted and protected data transmitted between BlackBerry smartphones and Microsoft Exchange Online.

In a press statement, Alan Panezic, Vice President, Enterprise Product Management and Marketing at RIM commented, "RIM is pleased to launch BlackBerry Business Cloud Services for Microsoft Office 365. This new cloud-based option allows customers to cost-effectively support mobility across their organizations and easily manage and secure their BlackBerry deployments.”

Time to Make It Official?

The news comes with a generally positive reception from the techie peanut gallery, or at least the ones who have the privilege of enjoying the stacked advancements. Most are commending the partnership, even suggesting Microsoft should buy out the mobile company. As TechCrunch points out, the name itself -- uniquely binding the two brands as one -- was surely the work of a Microsoft hand.

Furthermore, the potential acquisition has been talk of mobile industry insiders for awhile, due to the close-natured relationship between the two companies. The only minor gripe about this new upgrade seems to be that it's solely available to business and government organizations, causing ‘less important’ customers to feel neglected. Apparently, there was reason to believe those on the small business plan would also share in the wealth of greater management capacity.

Perhaps, in due time.