RIM Kills Projects: BlackBerry Unite & BlackBerry Professional Software to Get the Axe Soon

These two bits of news are proof that RIM needs to learn how to take a great idea through to its execution. Both BlackBerry Unite & BlackBerry Professional Software were promising offerings that fell victim to how RIM implemented them causing them to be doomed to failure… All I have in me is a tearful goodbye and good riddance. See those happy workers in the picture below? They were not so happy once they installed Unite…

unite_header_image

RIM just let it be known to carriers that BlackBerry Unite will reach End Of Life come the beginning of July. They are not going to release any new versions past version 1.0.3 and will cut off customer support in 2010. BlackBerry Unite is a free PC application that allowed small groups like a family or small business to share contacts, calendars, & media. It was a great idea that RIM had but was plagued with problems from the beginning. It installed a new browser on your device which broke many things. It also added an IT policy that you could not remove without wiping your device. All in all they had a great idea that that was doomed to failure due to RIM’s crappy execution of a great idea.

Another niche piece of BlackBerry software that will reach End Of Life soon is BlackBerry Professional Software (BPS). The idea behind this package was to offer a low end BES solution for small companies. Once again it was a great idea but RIM went into this with a bad plan. BPS turned into the forgotten stepchild of BES. BPS would get updated months after each BES update and many times is never upgraded at all. It lagged behind in features and really had no purpose other than being a 1/3rd of the price of BES.

BPS left a bad taste in the mouth of everybody who purchased an installed it. RIM would have been better served by just releasing a license of BES that was limited to 5-30 devices with a few other limitations but using the same BES install. Either that or offer some sort of hosted BES that will work with your internal Exchange server. Creating another product was just a waste of time, energy, and customer goodwill. It looks like BPS will be getting the axe as soon at BES 5.0 is released according to our sources.

So what do you think? Will you miss BlackBerry Unite? How about BlackBerry Professional Software?

15 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. That’s too bad. I was one of the few that loved Unite! Does anyone know a good solution for a shared calendar that will update devices upon changs/additions?

    Cheers,
    Plat

  2. Unite 1.03 is functional, the only problem with it now, it won’t install properly on 4.6 you have to install download manager and remote devicd management using the apploader from unite.alx
    Other than that
    Paging device
    Remote wipe
    Remote lock
    Remote password
    Remote owner info
    Shared calender
    Shared contacts

    All work, I say keep unite, axe support if anything…

  3. I like BPS and I will tell you why. Not many people knew this but you could download and use BPS Express for free with one valid BB Pin. I was able to set up a few “free” BPS for a few people and they loved it for giving them what BIS couldn’t do. If you wanted to add on other people (up to 9 more). They just had to buy CALs (like any BES user has to). In the end I made a few buck off of it and my side-customers are happy. It was a bummer that 4.5 never came out for it (but the customers never knew about it, so no biggee).

  4. This is very sad to hear about Unite! I was one of the lucky few who installed v1.0.0.0.0.0.0.0 and got badly burned by it. Version 1.0.3 was good and I had really hoped a 2.0 version would finally make it widely useful application. RIM should be commended for providing for free an app that lets you access your computer harddrive and documents from your BlackBerry. Who wouldn’t want that?

  5. I am an IT consultant for mainly small businesses. We have less than 20 people in the company, and we use BPS. We can’t justify a BES mainly because I am the only person on our BPS, so a 1 man BES is just not going to fly. The fact that RIM wouldn’t patch BPS for HTML e-mail was bad enough, but this is ridiculous. I have clients using this who do know about OS 4.5, and who are asking for HTML e-mail. I guess RIM wants me to tell them to take their business elsewhere?

    I plan to get in touch with my RIM contacts, as I find this unacceptable. If you all want BPS/Unite! to stick around, I suggest you do the same…

    • I just got off the phone with RIM. Their official comment is that they are a publicly traded company and cannot make comments about upcoming releases, updates, and the like. My point was that many public companies release product roadmaps, so where is yours for BPS. I was pretty much shut down.

      I’m not happy at all. I just spent two + hours getting this hodgepodge working properly (poor instructions) and now that it is up, I have no HTML email for my 4.5 devices “and” potentially no future. I’m very close to removing it all and going back to BIS and simply poking SSL/IMAP holes in my firewall–OR buying Windows Mobile/Iphones instead since Microsoft Activesync supports both without expense or hassle. Thanks RIM. Nice work.

      • Unfortunately, I didn’t get anywhere either. I’m due for an upgrade, and my Sprint 8830 WE is getting a little long in the tooth. I’ve been trying to hold out for the Niagara/Tilt/Whatever, but I’ve seriously been considering jumping ship lately. The latest WinMo and even Palm devices are looking more and more appealing. I’ve been running OS 4.5 for a year now (I had many beta versions), and still don’t have HTML email because I’m using the neglected BPS.

  6. What a load of crap. My company was in the process of recommending BPS to its customers for the few Blackberries they had, because they weren’t about to pay $3K for BES plus licenses but wanted synced calendars/contacts and remote wipe capabilities. We were already running it ourselves and we love it. Now RIM pulls these shenanigans. Why would they screw the small business segment like that? BPS was the perfect platform to get people into a BES type setup with a seamless transition path to the full product.

    Well, screw them – my next phone will use ActiveSync and that’s what I’ll be recommending to my customers in the future. As an added bonus they won’t have to pay extra for the license and extra for the BES data plan.

  7. I got my first crackberry back in 2004 (Nextel 6510), and have been a fan ever since. As posted above, we use BPS in house, as well as recommend it to our SBS customers (which is the majority of our customer base). Perhaps I was just being stubborn before, but now that BPS is being killed off, it has helped to open my eyes to the alternatives out there. There is a good chance I will be moving to an ActiveSync-enabled phone as well, and will likely stop pushing BlackBerry to our customers. Although I’m sure they make loads more off of the BES than BPS, I still think this is a poor move on RIM’s part…

    I voiced my opinion on the matter to my distributor (Ingram Micro), and apparently I’m not the first to complain to them. If we rally together and complain enough, then maybe….yeah, who am I kidding, RIM won’t care.

  8. Well BPS won’t stop working…it just means no future development for the BPS line. Before BPS, I was using a free version BES Express (free for one license just like BPS). I am betting that RIM will have another similar “Free/add-on” product like BES Express and BPS.

  9. I used BES Express on a test Exchange server in my basement for a few months, then installed BPS on a server in our office. I’m still the only person on the BPS, but we have 2 other BlackBerry users that were going to get CALs so they could use it. Between BlackBerry’s expensive data plans and lack of SBS support as of late (regardless whether they come out with a BES 5.0 Express or not, BES is on 4.1.6 MR4, and BPS is still on non-HTML 4.1.4), it’s going to be hard for me not to switch to a Windows Mobile platform…

  10. I have to admit, I never read the licenses, but at my private test-station BES 4.6 ran just fine with an BPS License. And I’m sure, BES 5 will offer something like BPS or BES Express. So I really don’t see any need to complain about the lack of support for BPS. Anyone know if this is against the licenses?

  11. The CALs are all the same. Whether you call it a BES, BPS, or BEs Express, the CALs are universal. The way I read this, I was under the impression that the non-enterprise version of the BES was being killed. If the BPS is simply being replaced by BES 5.0 Express (or whatever it would be called), then I think we are all whining about nothing.

    There use to be a SBS edition of the BES, which later turned into BPS. Obviously they didn’t kill off their SBS line, just renamed it, but this article gave me the impression that the SBS line was being killed. Either way, some valid points were made (like the delayed SP’s, etc). I realize I can continue to use my BPS indefinitely, but without the possibility o new features, why wouldn’t I switch to a different mobile solution now?

  12. I use BES at work and Unite! at home. Although Unite! could use a few additional features (like recurring scheduling), I use it mainly as a “parental control” tool for my kids. Along with the ability to remotely wipe the device in the event it is lost/stolen, I can control some of the primary funtions of the unit. This is a huge “motivational” aid when dealing with my kids all while keeping my family on a common platform since I’m their tech support for stuff like this.

  13. From the rumors I have been hearing it looks like rim will be following up with some solution for SMB but I am not sure what yet

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