RIM's Struggles: 10 Reasons the Enterprise Is Backing Away From BlackBerry

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2012-01-30

RIM's Struggles: 10 Reasons the Enterprise Is Backing Away From BlackBerry

Research In Motion has been going through an exceedingly difficult time over the last several months. Its mobile market share is dwindling; its former co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie nearly ran the company into the ground; and it brought in a new CEO to help turn things around. All the while, it has watched its core market-the enterprise-start to slip away as an increasing number of companies back away from BlackBerry smartphones and turn to iPhones, iPads and, even in some cases, Android handsets.

So, what happened? And why is the enterprise suddenly resisting the purchase of RIM devices when over the years it had a dramatically different view on things? Unfortunately for RIM, the reasons are numerous. By the look of things, the company doesn't have a plan in place to address them all before the enterprise market slips away entirely.

Read on to find out why the enterprise is turning its back on RIM and BlackBerry devices. And why the company's new CEO Thorsten Heins doesn't seem prepared to address those troubles.

1. Security is no longer the chief concern

For a long time, security was the main reason enterprise customers stuck with the BlackBerry. They reasoned that RIM's services, including built-in data encryption, would keep their networks secure, and that made them reluctant to switch. However, Apple's iOS platform has proved extremely secure, making RIM's argument that it's the only company offering secure mobile services to enterprise users a bit harder to believe.

2. Outages matter

Last year, RIM suffered a multiday outage of its email and messaging services. The mistake was enough for many enterprise IT decision-makers to wonder if the BlackBerry maker could be trusted. Email and messaging is an essential business application, and it has to be available 24/7. Even a single instance of downtime is enough to damage the credibility of a mobile application service in the enterprise.

3. Tumult at RIM

If the enterprise can't stand anything, it's uncertainty. And at RIM right now there is an awful lot of uncertainty. Companies aren't sure what Heins will do to turn things around in the coming months. There is also the question of whether RIM will be bought out. It's a real issue. And it's something that's pushing some companies to vendors that have a more stable corporate environment right now.

4. Pricing is a concern

RIM's BlackBerry devices aren't exactly the cheapest handsets on the market. In fact, there are many cases in which companies can find a better deal on Android-based handsets than on their BlackBerry counterparts. Over the years, that didn't matter much, since RIM's devices were the best. But now, with more appealing devices available and tight budgets, it matters quite a bit.

Consumerization of IT Is Outflanking the BlackBerry


5. Consumerization is a factor

Oftentimes, when the issues of BlackBerry adoption are brought up, consumerization is left out. But in 2012, it will prove to be a major concern for RIM. Consumerization is bringing devices like the iPhone and Android handsets into the enterprise, and there isn't anything RIM can do about it.

6. Productivity is what it's all about

At the end of the day, productivity means more to companies than anything else. Although the BlackBerry has historically been a productivity powerhouse, it's being beaten by the iPhone because of employee familiarity with that device. Businesspeople have the iPhone in their daily lives now, which they bought for personal or business use. They know which apps are best to use and are comfortable with the touch display. What's more, iOS delivers far better application and browser support. From a productivity perspective, it's hard for enterprises and their employees to choose a BlackBerry over an iPhone.

7. App development

Although application discussions typically revolve around marketplaces where users can download programs, in the enterprise, it's much different. For corporate customers, having the ability to develop proprietary applications designed for internal use is extremely important. Luckily for those folks, Apple's software development kit is ideal for that, and its software affords companies many more opportunities. Although RIM offers a development kit, it pales in comparison to Apple's. And that's a real problem for the BlackBerry maker.

8. Apple is making a push

When Apple first launched the iPhone, the company didn't seem all that concerned with appealing to enterprise users. But over the last couple years, as more features have been added to iOS, that has changed. Apple is now heavily engaged in attracting enterprise customers. And so far, it appears that effort is working quite effectively.

9. RIM was once the only show in town

Back before the iPhone launched, RIM's BlackBerry devices were the only enterprise-focused handsets that companies wanted. Compared to all the others, the BlackBerry was far superior. But nowadays, RIM has stiff competition, and the company has been unable to come up with new features or services to stay ahead of the latest smartphones. RIM was once the only show in town that mattered; now, it's lost in the crowd.

10. RIM seems less committed

There was a time when RIM cared only about the enterprise. But as the BlackBerry PlayBook showed, the mobile firm seems far more committed than ever to appealing to consumers as well. For IT decision-makers, that's a real issue. Today's CIOs want companies that care about their needs and don't try to be two things to two different market segments. RIM would be far more successful if it focused solely on enterprise users. But it doesn't. And it's losing ground because of that.

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