RIM: BlackBerry's future lies in social networking

Co-chief executive Jim Balsillie has said an enterprise social-networking revolution is on the way
Written by Natasha Lomas, Contributor

The secret of the BlackBerry's success is security, according to RIM's co-chief executive Jim Balsillie, but social networking is its future.

Speaking during a session on mobile services at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Balsillie said having security validations worldwide, and features such as built-in firewalls and the ability to remotely lock and wipe devices, are key.

Balsillie warned: "If you don't address this, you don't get to be accepted by the organisation."

Echoing Vodafone chief executive Arun Sarin's words from an earlier keynote, Balsillie said carriers have come to a fork in the road that will see them either become pipes or platforms. They must therefore provide a managed service to users, seamlessly integrating web services and desktop applications onto handsets. "This is not a concept. This is a reality," he said.

And change is afoot elsewhere too, according to Balsillie, who said a B2B social-networking revolution is coming that will bring networking benefits to the enterprise and also help drive data usage. "Once social networking becomes a B2B phenomenon — not unlike IM and texting — I believe every single social-networking user will want a data plan," he told the Mobile World Congress audience.

Balsillie added that some of the largest companies in the world are considering giving all their employees BlackBerry devices. "Just ask a CIO," he said. "They want everyone to be a mobile worker."

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