RIM moves to higher mobile ground with BlackBerry Mobile Fusion: Is it too late?

RIM moves to higher mobile ground with BlackBerry Mobile Fusion: Is it too late?

Summary: The new plan for RIM revolves around focusing on what it does best for mobile device management software---asset management, configuration, security policies, group administration and centralized management.

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Research in Motion on Tuesday outlined plans to launch BlackBerry Mobile Fusion, enterprise software designed to manage a bevy of mobile devices including the iPhone and Android smartphones.

With RIM's smartphone share taking its knocks, the company can't afford to rely on selling a complete mobile stack---BlackBerry device, BlackBerry Enterprise Server and RIM management software----any more. BlackBerry Mobile Fusion will be available in March 2012.

The new plan for RIM revolves around focusing on what it does best for mobile device management software---asset management, configuration, security policies, group administration and centralized management. The challenge for RIM here is obvious: There are multiple mobile device management software providers and the BlackBerry Enterprise Server doesn't have the lock-in it once did.

Simply put, RIM is entering a very crowded market.

RIM appears to be trying to thread the needle between the bring your own device movement and selling its BlackBerry stack of mobile hardware and software.

How will this turn out? Here are three scenarios:

Best case: RIM's focus on security and enterprise management puts it at the top of the mobile stack. RIM brings its security and enterprise management knowhow to a bevy of devices. RIM's enterprise foothold gives it a leg up. Middle-of-the-road case: RIM's BlackBerry Mobile Fusion effort is a bit late, but manages to keep the company relevant even as it fades on smartphones. Companies loyal to the BlackBerry Enterprise Server naturally gravitate to Mobile Fusion. Other CIOs, however, look to other mobile device management suites offered by Sybase, Good and a bevy of other players that include Microsoft and Google.

Worst case: BlackBerry Mobile Fusion is viewed as a Hail Mary pass that comes too late. Technology executives begin to wonder why they need RIM as a mobile device management middleman when employees aren't bringing BlackBerry devices to work.

It's unclear how this BlackBerry Mobile Fusion effort will pan out. All of the cases outlined above are likely to have an equal probability of actually happening.

RIM's move does remind me of a Clayton Christensen talk about innovation. Christensen, a Harvard professor, outlines innovation conundrums through the years. The common theme in multiple examples is how companies cede the lower ground in a market to move upstream to higher margin products. If you follow profit margin religion, you're likely to outsource and give up on tough markets. The higher ground always looks better. The issue is that companies eventually run out of headroom and nothing is left. See Smart Planet: Clay Christensen: 5 observations on innovation

It's a bit of a stretch to argue that RIM is ceding the device market in a bid to move up the mobile stack, but the writing---beginning with Mobile Fusion---may be on the wall.

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Topics: Mobile OS, Hardware, Mobility, BlackBerry, Security

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  • RE: RIM moves to higher mobile ground with BlackBerry Mobile Fusion: Is it too late?

    The Blackberry tablet does not have enough free apps nor does it have enough apps. If they would take care of this problem they would sale a lot more Playbooks. I have one and that is the down fall of it
    hgenec@...
    • RE: RIM moves to higher mobile ground with BlackBerry Mobile Fusion: Is it too late?

      @marinegene@... I don't think your the market target for this product. Your comment on the article is just... off.
      SinfoCOMAR
    • Please show me another tablet that can run Android (all flavors) and DOS

      simultaneously in Real-Time while idling in the native BBX?<br><br>@marinegene@... <br><br>Give it some time. People do not yet appreciate the depth and elegance of the one and only QNX Real Time Operating System.<br><br>More here at PCWorld: BlackBerry Playbook Gets Rooted, Hulu Comes Along for the Ride: <a href="http://forums.pcworld.com/index.php?/topic/132273-blackberry-playbook-gets-rooted-hulu-comes-along-for-the-ride/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://forums.pcworld.com/index.php?/topic/132273-blackberry-playbook-gets-rooted-hulu-comes-along-for-the-ride/</a><br><br>With true full emulation one can do anything!<br><br>[i]~~~~~~~~~<br>The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.<br>~ Eleanor Roosevelt, 1884-1962, American Humanitarian and Former First Lady of the United States[/i]
      WinTard
  • RE: RIM moves to higher mobile ground with BlackBerry Mobile Fusion: Is it too late?

    RIM hasn't been able to compete well against Apple and Google because of software. High taxes on electronics in Canada chased all the creative Canadian engineers to the USA. So now their strategy is to double down on software? Who is going to bite on that one?
    zato_3@...
    • RE: RIM moves to higher mobile ground with BlackBerry Mobile Fusion: Is it too late?

      @zato_3@... Have you not been following RIM? There problems have nothing to do with high taxes in Canada. It has more to do with bad management, ignoring changes in the market, playing Russian roulette with a new strategy every 6 months. putting out new expensive phones that will not update to new OSes, Waiting too long to update their awful browser and 100 other missteps. On top of all that they had to buy QNX because BOS was so behind all of their competitors then it has taken them longer to merge then anyone expected. RIM's failure is classic example of bad management.
      owlwise@...
  • RE: RIM moves to higher mobile ground with BlackBerry Mobile Fusion: Is it too late?

    Yet another flamebait from Larry the Anti-RIM blogger. I'd love to know what RIM ever did to ZDNet .. you guys not getting seed devices?

    The appeal is a number of corporations already have BES so adding another server that supports other devices (be in BYOD or corporate expansion) is on the mobility plans for everyone if not this year, definately next year. RIM would provide a total solution vs. having to do an RFP across all the noted vendors. At the moment we use Good Technology for iOS/Android but with a CAL cost around $150 it's a no brainer to look at RIM's solution if it perfoms similar and has a lower cost.

    All these other platforms are limited by the API they extend for MDMs. Considering Android supports 4 EAS policies and iOS a good amount it will come down to support and pricing.
    MobileAdmin
  • RE: RIM moves to higher mobile ground with BlackBerry Mobile Fusion: Is it too late?

    When RIM was using the 4. Admin tool I might have considered this, now with the neutered admin in 5, at least for reporting, I wouldn't want my other devices in there.
    tyates007
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