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It’s a bold new world for Research in Motion today. The company has announced it will be bringing its popular BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) to the iPhone, iPad and Android, thanks to its purchase of device management company Ubitexx.
The news is a sign that RIM is well aware it’s no longer king of the enterprise smartphone domain. Now instead of altogether abandoning BES — the company’s IT management software that manages e-mail, calendars, and more — to accommodate users with non-BlackBerry platforms, IT departments can stick with what they know. And in the end, RIM can still have a slice of the enterprise pie.
The news follows on the heels of word that BlackBerry Messenger will make its way to other platforms as well.
RIM made the announcement today at its BlackBerry World conference in Orlando, where the company also showed off its new BlackBerry Bold Touch and new operating system.
With Ubitexx’s expertise in tow, RIM says it will be able to speed up the development of its cross-platform BES, which it expects to release later this year. Ubitexx’s software also manages Microsoft and Nokia devices, so it’s very likely that RIM will try to bring BES support to Windows Phone once it settles iOS and Android access. Since Nokia is set to give Windows Phone 7 a major push by the end of this year, RIM definitely can’t ignore Microsoft’s devices much longer.
According to RIM: “Overall, as is largely understood in the enterprise market today, organizations can expect a range of security, manageability and controls depending on different device platform capabilities, with some devices further limited by the design of their operating system.”
So basically, the company is still keeping some features exclusive to BlackBerry devices, especially those that are dependent on BlackBerry hardware. Some examples, according to the official press release for today’s news, includes: “RIM’s industry-leading push technology, network and data usage efficiency, behind-the-firewall access to enterprise applications and systems, and many of the over 550 IT policies available through BlackBerry Enterprise Server.”
While RIM has struggled to keep its devices competitive with the iPhone and Android, supporting other platforms with a popular service like BES will definitely let the company take advantage of its competitors’ success.