Research in Motion and its ubiquitous BlackBerry devices have long been the reigning kings of enterprise mobility, though tiny cracks are beginning to show in the company’s coveted business market.
Enterprise device management software providers such as Good Technology and MobileIron are scrambling to seize the advantage against the Canadian company, which commands the bulk of smartphone installations in the business workplace.
First, it’s good to take a step back to view the current smartphone environment, where RIM is seeing a softening demand. The company said June 16 it earned $4.9 billion in revenue for the first quarter of fiscal 2012, down 12 percent from the previous quarter.
Net income also declined, and RIM curbed earnings per share for fiscal 2012 to be between $5.25 and $6, a marked decrease from its prior call for $7.50 EPS. In addition, company executive have announced about 2,000 layoffs.
“The shortfall in the United States is primarily related to the age of the BlackBerry portfolio,” RIM Co-CEO Jim Balsillie said during the company’s earnings call.
Translation: The BlackBerry, once super popular for consumers and business workers for messaging, is losing out to smartphones such as Apple’s iPhone and Google Android handsets.
These newer smartphones have big, bold touchscreens, speedy processors and hundreds of thousands of applications from which to choose. Worse still, RIM’s next-generation Blackberry OS 7 and the Blackberry Bold 9900/9930 devices received a tepid reception from reviewers earlier this year.
These devices are expected to arrive this September, but few anticipate that these BlackBerry smartphones will help boost RIM’s sales or cut into iPhone and Android’s growing market share.
Already, BlackBerry’s market share is starting to suffer. For the quarter that ended in June, RIM’s U.S. smartphone market share declined to 20 percent, or almost half as much as Android handset share and behind the 28 percent iPhone commanded, according to market researcher Nielsen.
RIM executives declined to comment for this story.