RIM says it will open up BES

BlackBerry maker to provision, secure and manage Android, iOS devices

In a move that could make enterprises rethink their fledgling mobile device management strategies, Research In Motion has said it intends to finally expand the renowned capabilities of its BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) to other mobile platforms.

RIM made the announcement this week at its BlackBerry World conference in Orlando. The company said its support of devices running Apple iOS and Google Android OSs would come about by its acquisition of Ubitexx, a little-known MDM company based in Munich. The Ubitexx acquisition was also announced this week.

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For enterprises that have been agonizing over how to get their arms around provisioning, securing, tracking and managing the mish-mash of mobile devices invading their offices, the RIM announcement could be music to their ears. Many organizations have struggled with wanting and needing a RIM BES to manage and secure their BlackBerry device populations and then needing at least one other multi-device mobility platform to handle the rest.

Will the RIM MDM solution fit the bill? RIM already has the street cred it needs with its long-proven BES solution. But it is using Ubitexx's software, ubi-Suite, as the engine for software distribution, device and policy management, security and controls. Enterprises will need some experience with the forthcoming product to determine if the new multi-platform solutions are, indeed, of RIM BES caliber.

Some BES features will remain exclusive to BlackBerry devices. Some examples, according to RIM, are RIM push technology and many of the over 550 IT policies available through BES.

In another getting-with-the-program announcement, RIM also said it has shipped BlackBerry Balance, announced earlier this year. BlackBerry Balance enables partitioning corporate data from personal data on a single mobile device -- a key capability coming into vogue as users increasingly decide they don't want to carry both a personal device and a business device.

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