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cstavro

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This is an open letter to Kerio regarding the discontinuation of the Blackberry Connector in the next major release of Kerio Connect.

I have also forwarded this letter via email to sales<_at_>kerio.com.

I don't expect to change the world but if I remain silent I have no right to complain when the world changes without me.

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Dear Kerio,

I wanted to give you a bit of background as to why I selected Kerio as our mail server and speak to your decision to discontinue Blackberry Connector support in the next major release of Kerio Connect.

I am Director of Technology for a small company in Canada and when we were in the market for a mail server, I pushed hard for Exchange. For better or for worse, we are a Microsoft shop and Exchange is pretty much ubiquitous with email in the Microsoft world. Unfortunately Exchange was out of our budget range for such a small company. So I began the arduous search for a decent Exchange alternative and stumbled across Kerio. That was nearly 5 years ago and I have been more or less a happy Kerio user since with one exception, synchronization with our Blackberry devices was not possible via a native sync because BES did not support Kerio. There were alternatives such as AstraSync, NotifyLink and others but they all had downsides which made them undesirable. I ended up resorting to using a BIS setup which enabled decent email synchronization but did nothing for us for contacts or calendar synchronization.

Fast forward a few years and Kerio adds support for BES via the Blackberry Connector. Finally I am able to tell my CEO that yes indeed I can properly synchronize her contacts and calendar so that she is no longer having to play the 'Which one of my devices is most up to date?' game!

Jump to present day as I am reading through the release notes for the latest Kerio Connect update and read plain as day "Kerio Connector for BlackBerry will be discontinued in next major version of Kerio Connect.". I had to read it twice to be sure I read it properly. I immediately jump to the forums to see if this is something that's been coming for a while that perhaps I just didn't know about and I see reference to a blog post from May which outlines Kerio's position on the topic. (www.kerio.com/blog/open-standards-for-mobile-email-%E2%80%9 3-and-kerios-thoughts-on-bes)

With that background in place, I'd like to address your position directly to make sure you completely understand the impact that this decision has upon customers like me.

First let's address your statistic which states that 80% of phones sold in the US are from Apple and Google. That is indeed a very large looking number. I'm not looking to argue the number or your sources for that number at all, but I want you to consider a few things;
1: Based on your numbers, you are intentionally disregarding 20% of newly sold phones in the US.
2: How many phone sales outside of the US are you disregarding?
3: You are deliberately dropping support for all existing Blackberry devices, how many devices is that?

I can understand and appreciate your desire to consolidate development efforts into an 'open standard' such as ActiveSync, but that's incredibly limiting the scope of functionality available to Blackberry devices. For example, ActiveSync is a synchronization tool and does not support any concept of security profiles, you cannot use it to control device functionality in an Enterprise setting. Blackberry devices have the most secure devices available but without BES those features are limited.

Another difference between ActiveSync and BES is that ActiveSync is a polling based/pull system, it is not push based notification/synchronization. The only devices that are truly push based are Blackberry devices. Sure the iPhones and other devices can be set to have 1 minute polling intervals to give the illusion of timeliness, but that has a tendency to drain battery life at an incredible rate. That on its own is one of the single largest advantages that Blackberry devices have over any other.

You defer to third party companies such as AstraSync and NotifySync to help fill the gap, but both of these applications have a number of failures from a Blackberry user perspective. These applications are polling based and are therefore subject to the battery issue mentioned above, but in addition they have their own message applications that need to run on the device. They are not making use of the native (and superior) messaging software that is built in to every Blackberry. This provides an inconsistent user experience and creates additional administrative woes. In addition, there's extra cost for these applications which starts to grate away one of the key selling points of Kerio in the first place, cost effectiveness.

I think it's pretty apparent that you are banking on RIM failing in the mobile world which is fine for you to do, but they're still here today and there's a lot of people that depend on that and as far as I'm concerned you are dropping support of a superior functionality.

I realize I am nowhere near being one of your largest customers and I don't expect you to make major development decisions based on my opinion alone, but the reason we chose Kerio in the first place was because we felt you were a good fit for enterprise-level functionality for smaller companies at a cost effective price point. If you discontinue Blackberry support however, smaller companies like myself will be forced to look elsewhere for a more relevant solution.
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gmaoret

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Subscribed!

[Updated on: Fri, 13 July 2012 11:59]

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Tech1UAE

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I wonder how much of this has to do with RIM and not Kerio...
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hbianchi

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I 100% endorse cstavro post: Kerio is loosing the "service" point of view. I also adopted Kerio 5 or 6 years ago, after a hard discussion with execitive officers (which were fond of Exchange, but there were no budget for it). About 6 months ago, I completed the effort to have a BES connector installed and running, and while I was testing it, with my own BlackBerry, I noted the statement of Kerio to discontinue the BES connector: so, I never put the BES Support on live operation. It is a mess, because our company have about 150 BB devices and we will not get rid of them since a few years. So, I will continue not having full BB support.
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Pavel Dobry (Kerio)

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Yes, Kerio Connector for Blackberry is going to be released with Kerio Connect 8.0 and we are going to support it with this version (and its service releases).
We will support existing BES and BESX 5.0.x releases. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee support for any upcoming (if there will be any) BES major update.

We do understand that Blackberry support is important for many of our customers. Unfortunately, with lack of support from RIM and lack of documentation for BES interface we feel that the solution with closed-source, proprietary, middle-ware software does not bring the level of service we want to deliver to our customers.
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perennialdesign

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You made a lot of Kerio customers happier today Pavel.
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perennialdesign

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@hbianchi - Be careful with the amount of handhelds you deploy using KCB/BESx. You referenced 150+ -I read in a tech note for KCB, Kerio doesn't recommend support more than 50 devices.
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hbianchi

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thanks for the warning. I will take it into account.
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freakinvibe

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Take note that SP4 for BES 5 has just been released. It will be interesting to see if that works with KC 8.

The successor of BES 5 has also been released, it is called BDS (Blackberry Device Service) and it is based on Active Sync rather than MAPI, so it might be easier in the future to get that working together with KC.

Dexion AG - The Blackberry Specialists in Switzerland
https://dexionag.ch
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McIrish

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hbianchi wrote on Tue, 25 September 2012 17:40
thanks for the warning. I will take it into account.


Let me make it even more clear. When we switched our company from Exchange to Kerio, I had to move our 80 Blackberry users over. When I got to 35, KCB crashed and I had to start all over again. I had to do this cycle repeatedly until I was informed that KCB cannot support more than a couple dozen Blackberry's. They were going to change from Firebird as their database, which they thought would help. I went through two months of total IT hell and ended up having to move all but 25 Blackberry users over to iphone and android devices. It cost us a fortune. I don't trust KCB. I only have three users on it now and the rest use Astrasync, which is a poor option. I'm hoping to have everyone off Blackberries before the end of the year. If had known it was all going to go so poorly, I would have stayed with Exchange. I do love the simplicity of Kerio but with 200 users, I've had too many problems.

So to sum it up. If you have more than 25 Blackberries, I would NOT use KCB. The BES server will crash and you will wish you were a plumber. Smile

Oh, one more thing so I'm clear. I am still using Kerio Connect. I have not moved back to Exchange. I'm hoping I don't have to once all the Blackberries are gone.

[Updated on: Mon, 08 October 2012 17:08]

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hbianchi

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Very celar. Thanks
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