As BlackBerry smartphone competitors Apple and Google close in, JPMorgan Chase considers alternative mobile e-mail devices.
Research In Motion, maker of the business-friendly line of BlackBerry
smartphone devices, may soon have to start making even more room for competitor
Apple and its iPhone, according to a Bloomberg report
. Banking giant
JPMorgan Chase & Co. is testing Apple devices for employees who may want to
use them for e-mailing, providing an alternative to BlackBerry devices for the
first time, according to two unnamed sources quoted in the article. Google
Android-based devices are also reportedly under consideration.
"This phenomenon is very new, and we expect it to put increased
pressure on RIM's performance," Pierre Ferragu, an analyst at Sanford C.
Bernstein, told Bloomberg, noting a survey the company did in August that found
cost savings and employee preference represented the two biggest factors
companies considered when making the switch. "BlackBerry isn't the only
alternative to offer employees mobile e-mail."
Bloomberg also reported Swiss bank USB AG
is also considering allowing employees to use the iPhone. Company spokesman Jean-Raphael
Fontannaz told the magazine the decision is likely to take some time to make. "There
are certainly quite a few employees that have private iPhones, and as a bank we
have to ask ourselves if that could be an option for us," he said.
As the smartphone wars heat up again, Microsoft is also jumping into the
fray with a bizarre PR stunt
pulled ahead of the launch of Windows Phone 7, its mobile OS. Some employees on
the company headquarters' campus held a mock funeral for the iPhone and
BlackBerry, complete with procession, bagpipes, dancing to Michael Jackson's "Thriller"
and Darth Vader on a motorcycle. Windows Phone 7 is reportedly set to launch
According to a Gartner research report, however, Android-powered smartphones
are the ones to watch: Android-based devices could outnumber BlackBerry
smartphones and iPhones by the end of 2010, and match Symbian sooner than
expected, the report projected. The worldwide mobile operating system market
will be dominated by Symbian and Android, as the two OSes will account for 59.8
percent of mobile OS sales by 2014.
"The worldwide mobile OS market is dominated by four players: Symbian,
Android, Research In Motion and iOS," said Roberta Cozza, principal
research analyst at Gartner. "Launches of updated operating systems-such
as Apple iOS 4, BlackBerry OS 6, Symbian 3 and Symbian 4, and Windows Phone 7-will
help maintain strong growth in smartphones in 2H10 and 2011 and spur
innovation. However, we believe that market share in the OS space will
consolidate around a few key OS providers that have the most support from CSPs
and developers and strong brand awareness with consumer and enterprise
Gartner also predicted that by 2014 open-source platforms will capture more
than 60 percent of the market for smartphones. Single-source platforms, such as
Apple's iOS and RIM's OS, will increase in unit terms, but their growth rate
will be below market average and not enough to sustain share increase. Windows
Phone will be relegated to sixth place behind MeeGo in Gartner's worldwide OS
ranking by 2014.