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Google Kills Gmail App for BlackBerry

Google said it is pulling support for the native Gmail app for the BlackBerry, a move not likely to be popular among users of that smartphone. But it doesn't mean Google is walking away from providing connectivity to the BlackBerry for enterprises users.

In a brief blog post on Tuesday, Google said it will no longer support the Gmail App for BlackBerry effective Nov. 22. Users can still run the existing app but it will no longer be supported, Google said. It will be available for download for the next two weeks. Google said BlackBerry users can still access their Gmail through the mobile Web app via the device's Web browser.

Even with a declining share of the overall smartphone market, the BlackBerry still has a sizeable chunk of business users that plan on sticking with the device. For users of Google Apps for Business, the company continues to offer support for the BlackBerry Enterprise Server, through a connector that provides synchronization. It would behoove Google to continue support for that connector if it wants to see more enterprise wins.

So far, Google has had mixed success on getting those huge enterprise wins. While its partner CSC has struggled to bring a large chunk of the city of Los Angeles online two years after winning that contract, it looks like Google is on the cusp of a huge win with General Motors; the auto giant is reportedly looking at Google Apps for up to 100,000 employees. Gartner also recently said Gmail is now viable for enterprises.

While not at the top of the list for those considering Google Apps or Office 365, BlackBerry support is important, especially among government users.

Also, Microsoft's lack of BlackBerry Enterprise Server integration with Office 365 at launch this summer did not go unnoticed by customers and partners, many of whom have said they would delay upgrading from the older Business Productivity Online Services (BPOS) until the BlackBerry support was made available.

Research In Motion two weeks ago released the beta of a service that will link the BlackBerry service to Office 365. As long as Microsoft continues to provide enterprise support for the BlackBerry service through Office 365, I can't imagine Google will kill off its own connector any time soon.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on November 09, 2011 at 11:59 AM


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