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BlackBerry Cloud Service for Office 365 Available

Research In Motion today announced general availability of free cloud services for using and managing BlackBerry devices with the Microsoft Office 365 suite.

The struggling business smartphone manufacturer released a beta of the service in October and had promised to make it available in January.

Formally titled the BlackBerry Business Cloud Services for Microsoft Office 365, the main feature of the service allows for wireless synchronization between a BlackBerry device and Microsoft Exchange.

Another key end user feature is self-service security access that allows employees to reset their passwords and remotely lock or wipe their devices in case of loss or theft.

Some other features of the service should present opportunities to channel companies. "Managed service providers, systems integrators, carriers, resellers and other partners can also use the cloud service to manage BlackBerry deployments on behalf of their customers," RIM said in a statement.

The main administrative features is a Web-based console for provisioning, managing and securing BlackBerry devices.

An element aimed at both end user and IT audiences is BlackBerry Balance, a technology RIM describes as presenting a unified view of work and personal content on a BlackBerry while keeping the content separate and secure.

A similar BlackBerry service for Office 365's precursor, the Business Productivity Online Suite, originally cost $10. But RIM made the service free for BPOS a year ago and committed to making an Office 365 version free, as well, when it shipped.

In an interview with RCP last month, Tom Rizzo called BlackBerry support one of the most common customer requests for Office 365.

Posted by Scott Bekker on January 30, 2012