iPhone OS 4.0 fallout: Is RIM toast?

iPhone OS 4.0 fallout: Is RIM toast?

Summary: Apple appears to have checked off most of the issues enterprise managers have raised over the past several years. Research in Motion and its BlackBerry platform were in the segment first and have the significant share in the enterprise. But Apple's iPhone 4.0 platform can now rock in the enterprise as well as let users have their apps.

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Apple appears to have checked off most of the issues enterprise managers have raised over the past several years. Research in Motion and its BlackBerry platform were in the segment first and have the significant share in the enterprise. But Apple's iPhone 4.0 platform can now rock in the enterprise as well as let users have their apps.

Aside from multitasking, which isn't really an enterprise killer feature, the new OS will let enterprises host, distribute and manage in-house applications, bypassing Apple's current services. Certainly, this is one of the features that has kept RIM running in the enterprise (aside from just coasting along with its substantial installed base).

According to Apple, its "new Mobile Device Management service can be integrated with third party servers to wirelessly configure, query and even wipe or lock managed iPhones." Before this was done through the MobileMe service.

Here are the other enterprise features enumerated by Apple:

The new Data Protection feature uses a user’s passcode as an encryption key to protect mail messages and attachments stored on the iPhone. iPhone OS 4 now provides the option to set a longer, more complex passcode, making iPhone and its data even more secure. iPhone OS 4 allows IT managers to set up multiple Exchange ActiveSync accounts, is compatible with Exchange Server 2010 and includes support for forthcoming SSL VPN applications from Juniper Networks and Cisco.

Many current RIM users want to move to the iPhone, according to analyst company Crowd Science. The survey was about Android vs. Apple smart phone use but RIM users were in the mix.

Nearly 40 percent of Blackberry users continue to prefer Apple's iPhone as their next smartphone purchase, but a third of them would also switch to the Android operating system, according to the second smartphone brand loyalty survey conducted semi-annually via Crowd Science's advanced research platform for online audience measurement. The Crowd Scientists also found Android users rivaling iPhone users in loyalty, with about 90% of each user group planning to stick with their current brand when buying their next phone.

Worse, is the vision problem. Apple keeps offering customers solutions centered around customer values and everyone else talks about slick hardware and touchscreens, in other words, technology.

A week or so ago, RIM CEO Jim Balsillie (or half a CEO depending on how you look at their org chart), said that the company is stronger than ever and everything is fine. Of course, "amazing" hardware is coming in the second half of the year and everything is hunky dory.

And looking at the quarterly results, one can understand RIM's position: Gross margins at 46 percent, net income up from the year-ago quarter and strong international sales.

But after the Steve Jobs' preview show today on iPhone OS 4.0, can any RIM executive or customer think the same way?

Topics: Hardware, Apple, iPhone, Mobility, BlackBerry, Smartphones

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114 comments
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  • Ever hear of inertia?

    The enterprise market is massive, and mass=inertia. We don't change directions on a whim. Considering the heavy investment already in place for Blackberry, any change will come slowly if at all. RIM has ample time to introduce newer models/features. If we do decide to change, Android, Moblin, or Windows devices will receive serious consideration.

    Besides, do we really want to give our mobile users a phone that only works in a few places, has more security holes than the US/Mexican border, and is subject to the whim of Steven Jobs? I think not.
    itpro_z
    • Nicely said.

      I think you covered all the fact associated with this blog!
      John Zern
    • yours?

      "your" mobile users won't care what you IT drones have to say about that.
      they will demand it and you will do it. you're running out of lame excuses
      with iphone os 4.0
      bannedfromzdnetagain
      • IT drones

        In most companies, worth their salt, IT doesn't make the policy that says they don't support Iphones, its the legal department. Once legal has cleared it and the extra cost to add support for it has been taken care of, IT will set up your Iphone for you at which point the company will most likely reserve the right to view any information on the phone whenever they feel like as they are the ones supporting it.


        Users can demand all they want, but until the department in a company that makes policies allows it, you're barking up the wrong tree to try and force IT to support it. Of course once it's allowed, then you're welcome to bark at IT all you want if they aren't supporting it like they are supposed to.
        Cyrorm
        • It isn't the legal department at all

          I've never worked at a company where the legal department made technology decisions and I've worked at the likes of Bank of America, Fleet Bank, Mellon Bank, MHS, Gilette and Duracel!

          Believe me, somebody in technology decided on the platforms and then those platforms were put to a test to see which was more viable!

          You want to know why RIM still rules the roost and why Apple doesn't get it? Because RIM has an excellent Policy system that Apple has as of yet to match in their phones! Corporate can lock the RIM down as tight as they can the end users desktop and they like that control so that's all their is to it!
          slickjim
      • Thanks for the laugh

        There are a few of our people who bought iPhones for personal use, and every single one of them complains about the poor service. Blame ATT if you wish, but no one is knocking on our door "demanding" a phone that is pretty much useless in our area.

        One of my kids even has one, given to him as the corporate phone where he works. He has to carry a second (Verizon) phone so that he can actually make calls when he travels. He actually likes the iPhone for games and such, but hates it (or ATT, take your pick) as a phone.
        itpro_z
        • Our Company . . .

          Took another route. They don't purchase phones for us, but they will reimburse "eligible" employees ( read managers and above) up to $100/month for whatever phone they wish to use.

          BUT: They will only support RIM devices, if you want to get your email on your phone. They don't want to have to support multiple platforms, and if you want an iPhone, go right ahead. Just don't expect to get your work email on it.

          Company standards are there for a reason: To lower costs for the company. The more platforms they have to support, the more money they have to spend.

          We're still using lotus notes 6.5, for example, and they just announced 2 months ago that they were going to establish Office 2007 Professional as the new standard, but only on NEW PCs that the company buys. They are not going to upgrade everyone's existing computers with it.
          JLHenry
          • The correct phase is...

            "To lower the cost of IT". Companies have forgot how losses in
            productivity, due to "standardizing" on poor tools for the job at hand,
            impact overall bottom line profits.

            IT is about keeping their job as simple as possible and increasing the
            workload as much as possible to the business units.
            Bruizer
          • I agree

            I am not sure of your meaning, but I don't see standardizing on a business friendly product like the Blackberries to be an example of choosing poor tools for our users. Chasing fads and fancies is definitely an example of a poorly run IT Dept. How many of those clamoring for iPhones at work are thinking more about games than how it fits in with the corporate structure?
            itpro_z
          • IT standardizes on many things more than just phones.

            I have spent about $50K USD over the 10 years (at 3 different very
            large corporations) arguing with IT why:

            1) Excel is a very poor choice to do digital filter design and MatLab or
            DaDisp is a much better choice (and we had the budget for several
            licenses).
            2) VC++ is not a certified compiler for safety critical applications.
            3) Visio does not replace AutoDesk software.
            4) Requirements traceability in Access is not a viable solution.
            5) Why my programmers need something more than TextEdit to work
            on code in labs.

            and list goes on. IT is only concerned with making their job as simple
            as possible and not doing any thought what-so-ever. It always makes
            me wonder the kick back IT departments get from MS to try and force
            business units to use their software even when it is anything but
            appropriate. DSP design in Excel??? WTF?

            When it comes to Tech, IT can't navigate themselves out of an MS box
            yet alone understand what they are doing. Most of IT is so amazingly
            clueless about the business units they are serving it is laughable.
            Bruizer
          • Fads and fancies?

            are you serious? what constitutes a legitimate tool? Was the blackberry a
            fad and fancy when it was introduced? How sad is it that you work in an
            environment where your employees are looking for gaming devices.
            Rather short sighted I would say.
            JimJensen3
          • Business friendly, but is it User friendly?

            In one business I know of--one of the largest in the world--the
            company offered free Blackberry devices to members of its IT
            department. Almost universally, they were declined as being too difficult
            to use for what was demanded of them. In every case, they chose a
            basic cell phone and relegated all email and calendar functions to their
            laptop computers as quicker, easier and more reliable. Even the few that
            took the Blackberry offered use it almost exclusively as a cell phone and
            ignore all the other features. To me, that says a lot.

            No, they didn't take iPhones, but several of them have suggested that
            the company accommodate it.
            Vulpinemac
          • Corporate standards exist . .

            in areas other than IT, so my original statement stands.

            We standardize what type of diesel we purchase for our units (and we're the number two buyer of diesel in the country, behind the US Government). We Standardize on Idle times and speed settings in our units to reduce costs and increase safety on the road.

            And as for IT, It might work for YOUR company to change what it's buying every few days (although I'm having trouble seeing how that is a boon even to small companies), but we're so large that we get massive cost savings merely by making one overall contract, be it MS or IBM, and having everyone use that. At our size, you CAN'T upgrade every time someone comes up with a new version of something. It would be literally hundreds of thousands, if not a couple of million dollars to upgrade everyone to Office 07 . . .
            JLHenry
          • How about a company that still uses Win2K?

            The neat thing is... the malware writers have migrated away, making IT's
            security efforts that much easier.
            Vulpinemac
          • We do a bit of both

            Some of our people have corporate phones, while others use their personal ones. We have the Blackberry Enterprise Server, so our corporate phones are all BBs. It would be an unreasonable burden to try to support multiple platforms, so we standardized on the BBs.

            For users with other devices, we forward their email to their personal account. That of course only works for incoming mail, so they are limited if they use their own phone.

            Just curious, buy why would you standardize on Office 07 just as it is being phased out for Office 2010? We upgraded some of our departments to 07, but now are waiting for 2010 for any further large deployments.
            itpro_z
          • Don't look at me . . .

            I'm not in the IT group. Considering we're still on Notes 6.5, I think most of it is due to:

            1) Testing. Nothing gets approved without thorough testing by the IT Dept. (how they test . . I don't know.)

            2) Cost. As large as we are (the account I work for ALONE is about a 1/4 Billion dollars/year gross profit), I'd have to guess that overall cost of upgrading is prohibitive. Managers such as myself are still on 2003 professional, with no plans to upgrade us (unless my laptop goes south . . . hmmmm ;) ). We'll probably be on 07 for a few years and update to '10 just in time for the next version of office to come out . . .

            And due to Sarbanes/Oxley, they want to keep TIGHT control over WHERE corporate emails go. That means keeping us on the ranch so to speak in Notes . . . .
            JLHenry
    • Inertia is the correct word

      The article used the word "entropy", which makes me wonder what grade
      the author got in high school physics.

      BTW, I'm not agreeing or disagreeing with your point, just showing
      appreciation to you for using the right word.
      Marcos El Malo
      • words

        momentum would also have been acceptable
        ncted
    • Correct.

      Blackberry is the tool of choice for a number of reasons and will remain so.

      Incidentally, since the iPhone isn't even the top selling consumer smartphone brand in the US I'm not sure where David is pulling his figures from. It's probably the same dark place he pulls the rest of his stuff from.
      Sleeper Service
    • You should give your colleagues ...

      ... the device that they determine will be best for them to do their
      jobs. Being paternalistic and condescending is not part of IT's job.

      Basing decisions on past investments is poor business planning. It's
      what's called the "sunk cost fallacy". You've already spent the money on
      your BES infrastructure. The cost will exist whether you stick with
      Blackberry exclusively, fold in support for other platforms, or abandon
      Blackberry altogether. Therefore, using that cost as a basis for deciding
      on what platforms to support is irrational.
      RationalGuy