Once the darling of the business world, RIM’s BlackBerry phone platform has seen a continous erosion of its dominance in the corporate world since Apple’s iPhone first arrived on the scene in 2007. Two recent articles in PC World and CNET underline RIM’s continuing struggle to remain relevant in an iPhone/Android world.
According to those that have seen it, RIM’s impending release of version 10 of the BlackBerry OS will put the company’s phones on par with its competition, but at the cost of incompatibility with the existing Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) infrastructure installed in just about every business that supports them.
On top of this huge stumbling block, retailers are pulling back their commitments to BlackBerries, according to one analyst, signaling a general lack of confidence in the strength of the platform and brand.
What this means for you:
If your company has standardized on BlackBerries for its employees and you have a decent investment in technology and resources to support it, you should have nothing to worry about in the short term, but should closely evaluate future spending to support this platform. Your 2-5 year plan should look into expanding your communication network to include the other smartphone platforms, if they aren’t already in use in your enterprise. The BlackBerry platform still has numerous strengths, mostly in the area of asset managment, security and reliability, but the older devices lack modern appeal and versatility. Today’s modern employee, especially the younger generations, view their phones as an extension of both their professional and personal lives, and the continued lack of innovation on the platform has eroded their credibility, utility and appeal across the board.
While it’s possible that RIM may work a miracle and come back from the brink of extinction, I rate their chances as highly unlikely.