UPDATED: Microsoft has confirmed this report with a post on its Office 365 Blog. Check out full details here.
BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion (RIM) and software giant Microsoft are expected to this week announce a free version of Microsoft's hosted BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) for Exchange Online hosted e-mail customers.
The hosted BES product itself is not new, but the free pricing would be; BES for Microsoft Exchange Online currently cost $10 per month, according to a post on ZDNet.com, but it will reportedly soon be free to Microsoft's Exchange 2010 Online customers, at least for the time being.
Exchange 2010 Online is Microsoft hosted Exchange e-mail offering, and the BES product enables users to employ BlackBerry smart phones for on-the-go access to Exchange e-mail, calendar, tasks and more. And admistrators get RIM's industry-lauded BlackBerry security and device management features.
Few additional details are currently available, but RIM has scheduled a "BlackBerry for Business" media webcast for Thursday, March 17, at 2PM EST, during which time the product will very likely be officially announced, along with more specifics.
I'll be sitting in on the webcast, and I'll post any additional noteworthy details on the free hosted BES for Microsoft Exchange Online 2010 ASAP, assuming the webcast does prove to be related to this rumored announcement.