Research in Motion, the company behind the popular BlackBerry device, has announced that from March, it will be offering a free version of its BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) Express software suite to small and medium businesses.
The BES software suite, which is available along with free client licenses, is a server software that allows customers to sync their BlackBerry smartphone devices with Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Small Business Server.
The announcement was made by Canada based RIM’s Chief Executing Officer Mark Lazaridis, who also added in his keynote speech that the company was coming up with new features to offer with the paid version of the BlackBerry Enterprise Server which will include video conferencing, "enterprise-class social networking", fixed/mobile convergence and PBX integration.
RIM also said in an official statement that it was trying to help IT departments within an enterprise to meet employee demand for connecting personal BlackBerry devices to corporate email systems.
Lazaridis, highlighting the various features offered with the free BES, said that the software had the same security structure as the paid version and will also include support for email, calendar, contacts, notes and tasks, and other business applications.
RIM is emulating Microsoft which has often in the past given away restricted software like MS SQL Express, in a bid to lure in customers and encourage them to migrate towards a bigger, more complete environment. But one they will have to pay for anyway.