BlackBerry Takes to the Cloud in Bid to Attract Small Businesses

BlackBerry Ltd. is heading for the cloud.

The Canadian smartphone maker said its core mobile device management service, known as BES12, will now be available for users who don’t want to run it off computers in their offices.

The new offering targets small and medium-sized businesses as well as departments of larger companies that might manage their own smartphones, Chief Operating Officer Marty Beard said by phone. “It’ll have a significant impact on our ability to attract a lot more buyers that are interested only in the cloud model,” he said.

BlackBerry has traded on its reputation for security to sell its products to governments and corporations in regulated industries, who often require software to be run on-premise. Beard said the cloud product is cheaper to set up while maintaining the company’s high standards for security.

The move fits into BlackBerry’s plan to broaden the range of customers for its products. The Waterloo, Ontario-based company has worked to make its technology compatible with phones made by other providers and signed deals with Google Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. to integrate those companies’ mobile business tools into BES12.

Beard declined to comment on when the cloud product would increase revenue, but said it would be available in late March at a per-device charge of $23 to $90 a month, depending on the level of support services.