Moving into the enterprise market can take decades. Many, such as Netscape, have failed so dramatically in the attempt that they ceased to exist in the process. After years of driving into the enterprise market, RIM remains dramatically smaller than PalmOne, even though RIM has had a better e-mail solution. And after all, e-mail is thought to be one of the killer applications for a handheld computer. RIM is attempting to penetrate the consumer market, but the progress has been all but nonexistent, suggesting that it is easier to move up than down in these respective markets.Click here for an analysis of the increased uptake of phone-type smart devices and the leadership gap its creating in the market for unwired PDAs. Im increasingly becoming convinced that the consumer PC marketbe it handhelds, PCs or accessoriesis a necessary foundation if you are going to make a play for, and sustain, a corporate market in the same class of products. IBMs ex-CEO listed "getting out of the consumer market" as his biggest mistake: a mistake that reduced the IBM PC company to a fraction of the market share enjoyed by Dell and HP, which both stayed in that segment. Logitech, which remains firmly locked into both market segments, is considered the dominant player in its segment of PC accessories. Right now, RIM and Danger are both moving from total solutions vendors to technology vendors. My sense is that the one that gets both consumer and business first will own the market, and it may turn out that the consumer segment is more important than the business segment once again. If that is true, then Danger is the company to watch, and RIM should do the watching. Good Technology could, by partnering or merging with Danger, become the element that makes the difference. Then again, Danger is currently hampered by manufacturing-resource issues. Were the company to get a solid, branded hardware manufacturer as a partner, it likely would merit attention. Watch this space: Things are about to get really interesting. Rob Enderle is the principal analyst for the Enderle Group, a company specializing in emerging personal technology. Full disclosure: One of Enderles clients is Microsoft as well as Advanced Micro Devices, Dell, Gateway, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, Transmeta, VIA and Vulcan. In addition, Enderle sits on advisory councils for AMD, ClearCube, Comdex, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, Microsoft and TCG. Check out eWEEK.coms Desktop & Notebook Center at http://desktop.eweek.com for the latest news in desktop and notebook computing.
Of course, we should remember that Palm and a little company called Microsoft started close to the user. Both companies established their dominance there before moving to the enterprise. This gave them a strong base and resulted in their becoming powers in the consumer segment before they became true enterprise vendors.