As consumers flock for iPhones, the enterprise still needs BlackBerry

As consumers flock for iPhones, the enterprise still needs BlackBerry

Summary: While the BlackBerry outage has hit enterprise confidence, end-user consumers can still escape, but enterprises have little choice but to stay put.

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With Apple's next-generation mobile operating system firmly making its mark on end-users, iMessage features as one of the more prominent features of iOS 5. Though, little is really known about the application's back-end security and encryption features.

Compared to its nearest competitor, BlackBerry Messenger, just as little is known about its encryption methods, only that "it is" and that even governments cannot crack it.

But amid the disruption to BlackBerry services last week, the 'BlackBerry mass exodus' has not prevailed as many had expected. Nevertheless, the outage has pushed some high-profile businesses and enterprises into looking for alternatives to the BlackBerry, as the company still faces heavy scrutiny after the global disruption.

Without doubt, the very core of the BlackBerry service is its highly encrypted messaging capabilities and government-grade security. While Research in Motion leads in both instant messaging and email, Apple only scores a single point on the secure instant messaging front.

Enterprises therefore have little choice but to stick with the seemingly 'unreliable' service -- rather than invest in brand new contracts, data plans and mobile hardware, in efforts to break away from the BlackBerry manufacturer.

(Image via Flickr)

But with the iPhone 4S launch, nearly one in four people who arrived at Apple stores worldwide told Reuters they were replacing their BlackBerry phones, along with other rival handsets.
When Apple released iOS 5, iMessage broke onto the scene as the rival encrypted messaging service. iMessage will not replace the BlackBerry secure enterprise email service, but as it is infrastructure-dependent and iPhone's email solution is only network-dependent, many are looking at the iPhone as a viable replacement.

iMessage, Apple's mobile instant messenger, built right into iOS 5, still centers around secure and encrypted messaging -- just as BlackBerry Messenger as its nearest rival does.

BlackBerry Messenger users can currently only communicate over the service to other BlackBerry users. Equally, Apple iOS 5 users who take to iMessage can only communicate with those on other iOS 5 devices.

But marketshare figures show, though BlackBerry has a wide spread of phones, it commands only a fraction of that compared to iOS powered devices. With the recent iOS 5 release, within a month or two we shall see iOS 5 dominating the BlackBerry mobile operating system in global share figures.

With a greater reach of customers set to use the new iMessage service, it could within the coming weeks take the crown from Research in Motion, which had BlackBerry Messenger as one of the center-pieces to its younger, consumer market.

Though Apple has yet to release -- if it ever will -- a secure and encrypted email service, for now iOS 5 users and those on corporate trials can use iMessage only as a slimmed-down secure communications' option.

Having said that, iMessage still relies on Apple's infrastructure being maintained and not going down. While it has recently been reported that iOS and Android phones could not be crippled like how the BlackBerry was, due to the separation of infrastructure, iMessage still replies on Apple's back-end systems to function.

As Apple moves forward with its new iOS 5 software, in spite of BlackBerry's global outage last week, the temptation to rush and switch providers is clear across industries. Enterprises still have secure email messaging with BlackBerrys, while Apple can only provide secure instant messaging.

Consumers, for reasons of security, privacy and encrypted messages, can and should make the jump should they wish to. But enterprises and business cannot afford, for sake of retaining their industry secrets and countering corporate espionage, to move away from their BlackBerry service until an equal or greater service hits the market.

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Topics: Mobile OS, Apple, Operating Systems, BlackBerry

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19 comments
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  • RE: As consumers flock for iPhones, the enterprise still needs BlackBerry

    Size of email is a big concern for enterprise as well. BB email are pretty easy on the corporate data plan.
    Ididar
  • Enterprises like SAP have tens of thousands corporate iOS devices and they

    ... have perfectly secure encrypted mail on them.<br><br>Why you think the mail service has to be provided by Apple? Just because RIM did the same thing?<br><br>Not necessary at all; with 93% of Fortune 500 companies deploying or testing iOS devices, it clearly apparent that the lack of Apple-backed mail corporate service is <b>irrelevant</b>. Companies have their own mail servers or use Google's, Amazon's, Microsofts' (and so on) mail corporate plans.<br><br>iOS perfectly supports encrypted electronic mail, so it is enough for SAP, General Electric, and all the others corporate customers.
    DDERSSS
    • RE: As consumers flock for iPhones, the enterprise still needs BlackBerry

      @DeRSSS,
      "with 93% of Fortune 500 companies deploying or testing iOS devices, it clearly apparent that the lack of Apple-backed mail corporate service is irrelevant."
      If I'm not wrong, the 93% comes from the iPhone latest event. What I found interesting is that Apple don't give details on how they got those numbers or how are distributed. For example, if every Fortune 500 company had 1 iOS device, it would mean a 100% of penetration. Same as the 93% of companies deploying or testing.
      And there is a big difference of Apple consumer way of working vs the BB enterprise way. For example, does Apple have an application to manage 100's or 1,000's of iOS devices or do I have to go to a third party application? Can I remove the company data from the phone without making a complete swipe and erasing his persona data?
      I'm not saying that the iPhone is a bad phone, but there are many things the BB do better in the enterprise than the iPhone...
      dvm
      • For now, there is no way to separate personal and corporate data on iOS ...

        @dvm: ... devices. However, if workers are allowed to have personal data on a corporate iOS device (very rare due to obvious risks for the company) they are informed that this could only last until their devices are in use. So in this area BB is obviously more advanced (though corporations do not care that much about personal data of its workers on corporate property, so it is not critical at all, though desirable).


        As to managing hundreds and thousands of devices, Apple has the software. Corporation can manage, setup, update multiple devices, and can have Intranet-based servers with internal applications, and many other features that used by SAP and others who deployed tens of thousands, thousands of iOS devices.

        Anyway, BB is definitely on its way out of corporate business. However, it is very inertial segment, so they can hang for quite some time. Even more: there is always possibility (though not really high) that RIM will release a breakthrough product that will change the trend back to their favour; so lets see.
        DDERSSS
      • RE: As consumers flock for iPhones, the enterprise still needs BlackBerry

        @dvm<br>Allow me to point out this article. A smart move on RIM's part if you ask me:<br><a href="http://www.zdnet.com/blog/btl/blackberry-bes-goes-cross-platform-lets-it-manage-iphone-ipad-and-android/48099" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.zdnet.com/blog/btl/blackberry-bes-goes-cross-platform-lets-it-manage-iphone-ipad-and-android/48099</a>
        TBone2k
      • RE: As consumers flock for iPhones, the enterprise still needs BlackBerry

        @DeRSSS,
        "As to managing hundreds and thousands of devices, Apple has the software."
        I haven't seen it. Can you post information of that management application?

        "Anyway, BB is definitely on its way out of corporate business. However, it is very inertial segment, so they can hang for quite some time. Even more: there is always possibility (though not really high) that RIM will release a breakthrough product that will change the trend back to their favour; so lets see."

        Agree with you, plus I don't see anything on their roadmap that would change that course. Let's hope both of us are wrong, because I won't like to see BB going completely down.
        dvm
      • RE: As consumers flock for iPhones, the enterprise still needs BlackBerry

        @TBone2k,
        I remember from that article, but I haven't heard from that application recently. Maybe the future of BB is enterprise mobile management, something they have extensive experience.
        dvm
      • As to management application: it is not on AppStore, it is only offered to

        @dvm: ... corporate clients. There no way to buy it or test it without approaching Apple's corporate sales.

        In recent years, Apple hired quite a few people who run corporate sales (though, of course, nothing much comparing to giants that focus their entire business on that). They help with mass account management software and in-house push-type distribution of applications for iOS from local corporate AppStore.
        DDERSSS
    • RE: As consumers flock for iPhones, the enterprise still needs BlackBerry

      @DeRSSS,<br>"There no way to buy it or test it without approaching Apple's corporate sales."

      Are you telling me that I don't have access to those tools? With BB I have access to BB Enterprise Server and Microsoft provides System Center. I'm not expecting an App store kind application, like you mentioned. I'm talking about a true business/enterprise management application. Where, at least, I can read of it (if it exists)?
      dvm
  • RE: As consumers flock for iPhones, the enterprise still needs BlackBerry

    Hmm not that secure:

    http://www.darknet.org.uk/2009/07/uae-telco-etisalat-installs-spyware-on-users-blackberries/
    Alan Smithie
    • RE: As consumers flock for iPhones, the enterprise still needs BlackBerry

      That article is about how the UAE goverment installed spyware on user's devices. Not much users can do about that. The security of the device is different than the security of the message transport.
      TBone2k
    • RE: As consumers flock for iPhones, the enterprise still needs BlackBerry

      @Alan Smithie

      Did you not read the article it clearly stated that it was an upgrade that was downloaded and not even tested by RIM. There is another article out there that Europe's Intellegent Agency MI-6 was enlisted to crack RIM's unbreakable code and until this day they have yet to crack it..
      Rdotwill
  • Enterprises dont have to rely on Bberry for security

    article spreads fear and doubt. I know very few people that use BB messenger. Most are using open messaging solutions, such as yahoo or gmail chat.

    as for secure email, you can use things like Good, so that the main mail processing takes place in the enterprise. Blackberry was the secure solution of the past, not sure if they will be the solution of the future. No one likes the associated costs of using their hardware to run something as simple as sending an email.
    tiderulz
    • RE: As consumers flock for iPhones, the enterprise still needs BlackBerry

      @tiderulz

      BES is not just a means to send secure email, if that is all your using it for it's a waste of money. BES is an enterprise grade MDM which provides a host of uses for large mobile deployments and no Apple does not provide anything like this. They rely on Mobile Iron/Good Technology both are the same if not more expensive then BES. Even better RIM now provides a 100% free MDM for those with no budget / small MDM needs.
      MobileAdmin
  • RE: As consumers flock for iPhones, the enterprise still needs BlackBerry

    RIM should concentrate on what they did best - make sure their business service is reliable. Trying to imitate other makers (in the consumer market), after the fact is a waste of energy.
    Wilson72
  • RE: As consumers flock for iPhones, the enterprise still needs BlackBerry

    The idea that corporations have to stick to Blackberry is nonsense. Lots of companies are making iPhones available, including the big Canadian-owned consulting company I work for.
    datrappert
  • RE: As consumers flock for iPhones, the enterprise still needs BlackBerry

    The Mail clients in the iPhone (and the iPod Touch, and the iPad) is just like every other IMAP client -- it can support encrypted protocol to both the incoming and outgoing servers. Those servers may be that particular company's servers, or a service provider servers. Who knows, Apple's own iCloud e-mail service might (very likely) use encryption as well.

    With iOS, you are not locked to one particular e-mail provider -- with all the consequences of that -- like single place to spy on all your correspondence.
    danbi
  • RE: As consumers flock for iPhones, the enterprise still needs BlackBerry

    My company is part of a Fortune 500 organization. BB has been dropped. We have a choice of iPhone 4S or a couple of Androids. Bye, bye RIM.
    bethere@...
  • RE: As consumers flock for iPhones, the enterprise still needs BlackBerry

    blackberry next blackout solution:
    http://www.aslpin.com/?r=site/buzz2
    aslpin