Micrsoft and RIM launching new FREE hosted Blackberry service

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ZDNet ran a blog posting, which is now confirmed by Microsoft, that they will be launching a free hosted BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) offering.  Microsoft will host the servers and they are betting it will also be covered on a webcast RIM has tomorrow.

We have exciting news for Microsoft Online Services customers. We are in the process of updating pricing for Hosted BlackBerry Service for Exchange Online to make this service available free of charge.  Starting today, BlackBerry mobile e-mail for new Exchange Online customers is now free through our Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS).  For existing customers, we expect to be able to provide more information later this month on how you can take advantage of this change.

The service will be hosted, licensed and supported by RIM who have committed to offer their new BlackBerry cloud based service for Exchange Online starting at $0 per user per month.

With Lotus launching LotusLive Notes Hosted BlackBerry just a short time ago (read my live blog posting), this will be another layer in the battle for places comparing the two offerings.