If recent reports are anything to go by we may well soon see the demise of the Blackberry phone as we understand it. They have been losing market share, from a once dominant market position. While there are many opinions as to why RIM have lost the battle with Apple and Google there is no doubt that their lack of a user focus and their almost blind refusal to embrace the app market early on cost them dearly.
As Mobile Marketer and Author Aaron Strout of WCG puts it:
It’s always sad to see a company or technology go away after it has done so much to move an industry forward. Unfortunately for RIM, its lack of innovation and unwillingness to embrace the developer community like the Android and iOS platforms have means these latter two leaders in the mobile operating system space will gain more share as Blackberry fades to black. Microsoft may pick up some additional market share but I’m not convinced that they will ever dominate in mobile like Apple and Android.
I tend to agree with Aaron on the reasons why RIM has failed. I do have a slightly different take on the potential outcomes for the Blackberry market though. The one area that led to RIM’s original dominance was the Enterprise. With an increasing trend for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) in the Enterprise and the leading device being the iPhone enterprise IT departments are having to cope with providing email, calendar and contact access on devices that they don’t officially control. The integration with enterprise systems was one of the attractive things to IT departments. This is where I see Windows and Android having an edge.
The US government has shown an increasing tendency to pick android as an operating system as they can build versions of it to suit their needs including increased security and the ability to lock down devices – this is not true for Apple based devices. Windows has the potential to offer the same integration that RIM originally offered, though it remains to be seen if they will target the enterprise in the same way as RIM did and of course with the shadow of RIM looming they may decide that the consumer market, or their small share of it is a better bet.
The one group that may well lose out in all of this is the consumer. At least those consumers who work in a corporate environment. While BYOD works for those in companies that are more flexible, those that don’t will either be left with no access outside of work or be stuck with an increasingly unsupported environment. IT departments are going to have to decide which platform to buy into or at least whether they will embrace the BYOD trend. There is of course the potential we will see an app for that. There are already some available that will “partition” a users cell phone – even to the point of allowing for two numbers (with the appropriate hardware) and certainly allow IT departments to lock down one part of the phone to prevent important data etc being compromised.
All in all the corporate user of mobile devices faces some interesting changes to their device use if RIM does stop the production of Blackberry devices and the software.
Are you a Blackberry user – which device would you switch to or are you a able to bring your own device to work .