Thursday, May 04, 2006

when is free not really free?

so...

thanks to its recent legal troubles

and mounting pressure from ms and palm devices...

research in motion has finally decided to offer a version of its blackberry enterprise server aka bes for free.

now...before anyone starts dancing & skipping about this news...

there are a whole host of caveats & conditions.

primary among these:
  • only 1 client license is included; additional licenses for additional devices cost $99 per.
  • only 1 copy of the software per mail server.
  • hardcoded max of 15 licenses; upgrade to full version costs $2800
so...basically...

even tho some write-ups have loudly trumpeted the value of this package at over $3000...

it isn't.

not by a long shot.

at the most basic level, the express version is nothing more than the small business version that is currently available, as proven by note #2 on the first link above.

since the current small business version costs $1100, but includes 5 licenses...

at most, the value of bes express is $600 then, give or take.

but in a much larger sense, even that "savings" disappears in a hurry.

and here's why:

any installation of blackberry enterprise server, when done correctly...

as in, a solid install that will run dependably, and stay running...

can take a long time, potentially over 8 hours.

that is not an insignificant investment of time & money, particularly for small businesses, who are the intended target of this offer according to rim themselves.

seriously...

1 license?

that's almost insulting.

now, your friendly neighborhood happyfunboy has installed & used both blackberry & windows mobile, including devices running wm 5.0...

and connectivity is just one of several areas where windows mobile devices totally kick the ass of their fruit-flavored competition.

assuming that one has completed the proper planning for using either a self-signed or 3rd-party ssl certificate...

connecting a windows mobile device to an existing sbs server takes, on average, less than 15 minutes.

don't believe me?

check out the recorded archive of crown jewels #3...

wherein yours truly actually connects & configures a windows mobile 5.0 ppc to sync with an sbs server, including installing a self-signed certificate, live during the demo portion of the webcast!

now let's see....

8+ hours versus 15 minutes?

not only that...

but blackberry's support documentation has always insisted that bes must be installed on a server separate from exchange.

here in sbs-land...that's asking someone to kiss another $2K in hardware and os costs goodbye...

just for the privilege of using a blackberry.

now, i believe there's some info floating around the community outlining how to install bes on sbs.

but if it's not supported by rim, then if a problem arises...

that install, and you, would be given a kiss-off by the folks at rim's t-support group.

personally, i'm not a fan of kludging together non-supported solutions for customers, especially when it's something like connectivity for mobile devices, which need to run like clockwork, with no muss & no fuss, 24x7.

seriously...

you don't even have to be a cpa to see the value proposition of windows mobile from the perspective of infrastructure costs alone.

but stay tuned folks...

your friendly neighborhood happyfunboy will be posting up even more reasons that windows mobile decimates blackberry...

once he's able, that is.

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