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RIM Offers Cheaper Wireless Push E-Mail To SMB Market

With BlackBerry Professional Software, smaller companies can get enterprise-grade wireless access to e-mail, contacts, calendars, the Internet, and intranet applications.

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion on Monday began offering new business software for small and midsize companies that want affordable wireless e-mail on their smartphones.

The new offering, called BlackBerry Professional Software, contains the core functionality of the BlackBerry Enterprise Server used by larger companies to enable "push" wireless e-mail on BlackBerry smartphones. But the software is tailored for smaller companies with up to 30 users and costs $499 for five users or $849 for 10 users.

As a comparison, the BlackBerry Enterprise Server Software v4.1 for Microsoft Exchange, IBM Lotus Domino, or Novell GroupWise costs $2,999 for one user license or $3,999 for 20 user licenses. RIM also offers the Small Business Edition of the BlackBerry Enterprise Server for $1,099, which includes five user licenses.

RIM's other products and services for small and medium-sized businesses consist of the BlackBerry Internet Service, a hosted service that integrates up to 10 e-mail accounts; the BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express, a version of BlackBerry Enterprise Server that's free with the purchase of BlackBerry smartphones; and the Hosted BlackBerry Enterprise Server, wireless e-mail software that's installed and managed by carriers and service providers.

With BlackBerry Professional Software, smaller companies can get enterprise-grade wireless access to e-mail, contacts, calendars, the Internet, and intranet applications in a secure way, according to RIM.

"We specifically designed BlackBerry Professional Software to provide a more simplified and affordable solution for small and medium-sized businesses, while maintaining industry leading performance, security and control," said Mike Lazaridis, RIM's president and co-CEO.

Some key features of the software include integration with major e-mail systems like Exchange and Lotus Domino, simple installation with technical assessment, a simplified interface for easier management, advanced security, and BlackBerry Mobile Data System support for extending internal applications to employees' BlackBerrys. Additionally, the software can be installed on the same sever as a company's e-mail system, eliminating the need to purchase additional hardware and operating system licenses.

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