During a presentation that Alec Taylor, vice president, software, services and enterprise marketing for RIM gave Thursday, cloud applications have become "core to RIM's strategy." Taylor also claimed that RIM is "positioned to lead in mobile cloud services."
As part of its push into the cloud, RIM said it has formed a partnership with Microsoft to offer Web-based office applications, which include SharePoint, Exchange, and Lync. RIM said BlackBerry and soon-to-be launched customers will be able to use Microsoft Office 365 over the cloud free of charge in the middle of the year.
RIM says its announcement with Microsoft represents one example of many new cloud services it will offer its users. But corporate posturing aside, what does RIM's push into the cloud mean for the small business user? That mostly remains to be seen, but I know what I would like to see.
A major peeve I have always had with my BlackBerry, as well as with any other kind of Android, iPhone, or smart phone device for that matter, is how hard it is to share data with workstations, whether tethered directly to a PC or to a LAN. Sure, you can use BlackBerry's sync software to share data with PCs, but it is clunky, to say the least. Being able to use a BlackBerry or RIM's upcoming Playbook to seamlessly share data and access applications over the cloud with different PCs and devices as easily as you can between PCs on a LAN could make RIM's devices exciting again.
I also would love one day to be able to use a BlackBerry for all of my computing tasks over the cloud, whether for storage, office, or any other application. That way, I could work anywhere and everywhere with nothing but my mobile device.