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RIM Just Lost a Soul Mate

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Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) just can't catch a break. Then again, luck finds doers -- and RIM hasn't done much to deserve a break lately.

The latest nail in the BlackBerry platform's coffin comes straight from the Pentagon, where RIM's smartphones have long been the only approved communications gadget. Top-secret information deserves top-notch security, and only RIM's product would do. It was a big deal when a handful of BlackBerry 7 devices were approved for Defense Department use last spring, for example.

If corporate IT bosses were RIM's best friends, the military was its soul mate.

But that just changed in a hurry.

The Defense Department just commissioned a new system to support Android and Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) devices on military networks. The new solution must support "at least 162,500" non-BlackBerry smartphones and tablets, and could be expanded to reach 8 million devices in the end. If the network can manage and connect BlackBerry devices, too, that's a bonus -- but it's not an absolute requirement.

Losing the Pentagon's absolute trust means losing a major selling point -- perhaps the last one RIM had left. The company can no longer claim to blow the competition's security features away with a quick nod toward the banks of the Potomac.

The BlackBerry 10 platform upgrade is RIM's last hope. But that solution keeps getting postponed, allowing Apple and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) to steal more mindshare every day. Maybe even the recently launched Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) Windows 8 software has time to gain a foothold before RIM takes another swing.

And by then, it'll be far too late to make a difference.

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Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares of Google. Check out Anders' bio and holdings, or follow him on Twitter and Google+. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Google, and Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Apple, Google, and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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Read/Post Comments (3) | Recommend This Article (1)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On October 30, 2012, at 2:31 PM, HabsSuck wrote:

    you do realize that US goverment represents less than 2% of RIM's customer base.

  • Report this Comment On October 30, 2012, at 3:59 PM, TMFZahrim wrote:

    @HabsSuck, that's true -- but the real problem here has nothing to do with raw unit numbers. From the article:

    "Losing the Pentagon's absolute trust means losing a major selling point -- perhaps the last one RIM had left. The company can no longer claim to blow the competition's security features away with a quick nod toward the banks of the Potomac."


  • Report this Comment On October 31, 2012, at 11:35 AM, infektu wrote:

    Good luck with this move, indeed. Or goof luck.

    Calling the US govt a "soul mate"... uninspired :-)

    And what, InfoThatSucks calling somebody, anybody, a "troll" ?!?

    What will this world come to...

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