Wait, what? Microsoft has Blackberry Enterprise Server hosting services? Since February of last year Microsoft has been a Blackberry certified partner and offers Blackberry Enterprise hosting services as part of their Exchange Online service for an extra $10 per month per person. However, now that extra fee has been waived and the Blackberry server hosting is now free as part of regular Exchange Online and BPOS hosting services. Previously if you got an Exchange hosting account from Microsoft, and you wanted to also connect any Blackberry devices, you would have had to find some third party that would host the Blackberry Enterprise Server and set up a connection from that to your Exchange server. Having it all from one vender certainly makes things easier.
Mary Jo Foley notes that the end-date for this service is June, 30 which is around the time that Microsoft’s new Office 365 Exchange/Sharepoint/Office hosting service should be available. We’re not sure if Office 365 will also offer Blackberry server connectivity as part of a normal subscription, but chances are that it might.
Microsoft has been showing some curious behavior in their approach to competitors recently and this seems to be another example. It’s certainly a stark contrast to the predatory style of competition that Microsoft and Apple had been known for many years ago.