Apr 03, 2012

Does RIM's decision to add Android and iOS support to its server software make sense?

We all know that RIM has fallen on tough times lately, and while it is losing its traditional place as "the" choice for business, it still enjoys a mostly deserved reputation as a company that takes enterprise customers and security seriously. So I can't help wondering if adding support for iOS and Android devices is not erasing the one real arrow the RIM has in its Blackberry quiver. How can RIM hope to survive as a mobile device provider if it removes the main thing that differentiated it from the competition?


SSpade, I think that it is an add-on to BlackBerry Enterprise Server, so it may be targeted at existing BlackBerry enterprise customers.  In that light, it does make some sense.  You allow existing customers to keep supporting BBs while recognizing the reality that Android and iOS is dominant, and adding support for them that still requires you to retain BB Enterprise Server.  At this point, I think that is about as close to having your blackberry cake and eating it too as RIM is going to get.  


It does seem to be a surrender to BYOD by RIM, and if BYOD become the standard, which seems to be the trajectory at the moment, I don't see what there is to motivate anyone to choose a Blackberry.  The whole raison d'être for BB is that it has strong encryption, remote management and a secure proprietary email client.  Making other manufacturers' devices easier to secure does seem counterintuitive.  On the other hand, the picture is changing, and you can already remotely manage Android devices through MS Exchange/Activesink.


Perhaps RIM is going to blow our collective minds with their new hardware, and there will be a mad rush to buy them that puts the iPad 3 to shame.  Or not.  But not being a Blackberry user (or messaging admin at work), I'm not sure if the BlackBerry Mobile Fusion is the same as their BlackBerry Enterprise Server software, or if there is overlap between the two.    

It strikes me as a desperate attempt to grasp at any straw available. As you pointed out, RIM is really in a bad situation. This move underscores that other products have displaced RIM's so RIM is desperately trying to latch onto those products to try and keep its place inside of enterprises.

I don't think it will make much difference at this point. RIM's fate was sealed a while back and nothing they do now can really save them. They had their time and now they are slowly but surely fading away.
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