Monday, February 13, 2012

The BlackBerry to iPhone migration, are App's better than Security

Posted by Ray Nicolini

The competitiveness between Apple and RIM has always gone the way of pleasure over business. RIM has always had a competitive advantage over all other smartphone makers in that its security features are second to none. The problem always seemed to be with RIM's inability to connect with the everyday consumer who was looking for a phone that could run all the cool apps their friends were playing. Although this has changed over the past few months it's still an area that all smartphone makers want to capitalize on.

In addition to security, connecting with the corporate enterprise level market was also an advantage that RIM had. In fact, it may be RIM's biggest edge over anyone else in the smartphone market. RIM has been riding the wave of enterprise domination for a long time now. The question now is has that wave crashed?

Over the past week a new disturbing trend has started that should leave anyone who appreciates BlackBerry devices, wondering what's going on. More and more organizations are migrating from their BlackBerry devices to Apple's iPhone. To some this may seem like no big deal, but lets take a look at the big picture here. The first problem that arises is that these organizations are not small.

According to the New York Times Halliburton, one of the world's largest oilfield services companies has dropped BlackBerry as their primary device used with in their organization. This makes 4,500 BlackBerry devices replaced for iPhones. In addition The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration , ( NOAA) also announced that they to would be moving their 3,000 BlackBerry users to iPhones. That's 7,500 BlackBerry devices gone in one week. Lets not jump the gun and sound the alarms just yet, there are reasons for this sudden shift.

Application Development

Application development has always been a dry area for RIM's BlackBerry. For the longest time there really wasn't a passion to develop applications for a BlackBerry device. The good news is that over the past year RIM has made some really good progress in this area. While all of that is good the problem is that organizations like apps just like the everyday consumer does. If a device has an application that can run either their proprietary software or boost their productivity they are more likely to go to that device. The key here for RIM is to continue to encourage development for BlackBerry and continue to provide developers with the tools and support that they need to develop high quality apps.

A Peaceful Coexistence With Microsoft

Lets face it, the vast majority of organizations use Microsoft products to perform their day to day office activities. So the ability to integrate seamlessly with Microsoft products is a big plus. Organizations like the plug and play approach of Activesync against their Exchange servers. They like the ability to run a Micrsoft Lync application from their mobile device. The good news is that RIM has already take steps to address this issue with the recent announcement of BlackBerry® Business Cloud Services for Microsoft Office 365.

A Poor Decision By Organizations

So what does all this mean. It means that once again more organizations are sacrificing flexibility and productivity over security. Some would argue if that is even a big deal. One only has to wait until the first major security breach is announced, because some corporate executive wanted to download the app that changed the color of their fonts, but was really a hidden key-logger. Lets not forget the immaturity of management tools for the iPhone, BES far more mature and robust than any other solution on the market today.

Again, CIO's and CEO's need to be asking themselves whats most important for their organization. Are the bells and whistles from the iPhone really worth moving from the durability and security that the BlackBerry has to offer? Is amusement over security really an ideal trade off?
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