For years Blackberry was the biggest name in mobile business solutions. Some of the first and best smartphones were Blackberry devices, which were once ubiquitous in the business world. When the iPhone came along in 2007, it did not seem at first to be a serious threat to Blackberry’s mobile enterprise hegemony. The years since have proven otherwise. First the iPhone and then Android-based smart phones have gained an increasing hold over the business world. This, coupled with a string of questionable business decisions, has left Research in Motion, Blackberry’s parent company, staggering as their market share (and stock price) declines steeply.
Nevertheless, Blackberry has retained some advantages over iOS and Android devices in the business world, especially in the eyes of corporate IT departments, who value some of the security and customization features offered by Blackberry devices.
This morning, RIM announced it was developing Blackberry Mobile Fusion. The goal of this software is to allow the same level of security and configuration control over iOS and Android devices as IT departments currently have over Blackberry devices. The software, currently in pre-beta release, scheduled for closed beta in January and release in March, is RIM’s acknowledgement of the fact that iOS and Android devices are extending farther and farther into what was once Blackberry’s playground. As more and more people bring their iPhones or Android phones to work, IT departments are finding it harder and harder to juggle security and configuration solutions. With the announcement of Blackberry Mobile Fusion, RIM effectively cedes the ground lost to iOS and Android while simultaneously attempting to maintain a presence in the business world.
The question remains, however, whether this move signals a broader shift in RIM’s focus from hardware to software solutions, and whether the move will be enough to save the struggling company.
What do you think? Is this move too little, too late to save Blackberry? Let us know in the comments.