BlackBerry eliminates monthly licence fee.
BlackBerry users will no longer have to pay the $16.95-per-month licence fee required for each device connected to Microsoft Exchange Online sold by Telstra T Suite from July.
The licence fee effectively more than doubled the price paid by BlackBerry users for Exchange Online, which cost $9.95 per month. It also made it twice expensive as a competing product, Google Gmail, which has offered free syncing for BlackBerry users since 2009.
While BlackBerry users could receive emails from Exchange Online, the licence was required to sync calendars and contacts. The licence also gave IT departments the ability to manage BlackBerrys, such as deleting data from stolen devices.
Telstra notified customers by email late last week that the Hosted BlackBerry for Microsoft Exchange Online service, a central component of Microsoft’s Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) and the upcoming Office 365 suite, would be free for Microsoft Exchange Online subscriptions from 1 July.
Customers would be moved over to the free subscription from 21 June, according to a customer email shown to BoxFreeIT.
Telstra said there would be no disruption to users of the BlackBerry service during the transition.
The telco added that it would not be possible to order or cancel any Hosted BlackBerry for Microsoft Exchange Online subscriptions until 1 July.
RIM replaces Microsoft service with its own
Telstra’s announcement came three months after BlackBerry maker RIM revealed it had agreed to host a free BlackBerry enterprise service integrated with Microsoft’s Office 365 online productivity suite.
The RIM-hosted BlackBerry enterprise service for Office 365 would replace the existing Microsoft-hosted BlackBerry enterprise service used for BPOS customers.
The RIM-hosted service would offer a feature set similar to BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express. It would initially be available for Microsoft Exchange Online for Office 365 on a subscription basis starting at $0 per user per month (plus a BlackBerry service plan), the company announced on its blog.
Microsoft would change the price of the current Microsoft-hosted BlackBerry enterprise service for Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) – Standard from US$10 per user per month (plus a BlackBerry service plan) to $0 per user per month (plus a BlackBerry service plan). The enterprise service included BlackBerry wireless sync with Exchange Online and smartphone management and controls.
Administrators using the RIM-hosted service would be able to keep corporate data separate from personal data on BlackBerry devices; group users for easy management; create and manage more device policies; change device passwords and settings; and locate and manage multiple BlackBerry users at once with extensive search criteria.
In addition, employees would gain more self-service options for their BlackBerry smartphones. For instance, they would be able to reset their password if forgotten, and remotely lock their device or wipe their device’s memory if the device is lost or stolen.