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RIM updates its server software

Research In Motion announces BlackBerry Enterprise Server version 3.5, designed to be easier for IT departments to use.

Research In Motion announced on Monday the latest version of its server software, aimed at making it easier for IT departments to manage and deploy the company's software and service.

RIM has software and services for servers and handheld devices that allow large businesses and their employees to wirelessly access e-mail and corporate data. The new version of the server software, BlackBerry Enterprise Server version 3.5, is meant to work better with a customer's existing technology so that deploying and managing RIM's software is easier and more effective on a PC and a BlackBerry handheld device.

The version of the software that works with Microsoft Exchange is available, and support for Lotus Domino is expected early next year. Exchange and Domino are in essence e-mail server applications used by large businesses.

RIM has been the leading company in the battle to provide businesses with two-way wireless communications, but rivals Good Technology, Palm and Microsoft have been stepping up their efforts. In addition, slower-than-expected sales and delays in several product launches have staggered the Waterloo, Ontario-based company. Last week, RIM said that sales for the current quarter and rest of the year will fall short of earlier estimates.

The company continues to focus on the corporate market with new software as well as wireless synchronization software, according to RIM vice president Mark Guibert.

"We're moving to wireless synchronization more and more," said Guibert. "We have it working in the lab already, and it's just a question of when carriers can support a rollout of that feature."

That feature is in the offing, though not immediately.

"Full wireless synchronization is not in place, but that's where the market is headed and RIM is expected to add that to its service and software," said IDC analyst Alex Slawsby.

With version 3.5 of its server software, RIM is focusing on creating a secure wireless connection between a device and a server, which will make it easier for application developers to create programs that transmit data. RIM has also stepped up management capabilities for IT managers to let them delete data on a stolen or lost device.

RIM also announced on Monday that it has expanded its agreement with NetIQ to provide advanced management tools for the new BlackBerry Enterprise Server v3.5 for Microsoft Exchange.