In the enterprise smartphone market, Research In Motion
The Waterloo, Ont.-based company, which makes the BlackBerry smartphone, faces increasing competition in the enterprise market from Apple's
"I think BlackBerry has some work to do; it's certainly not a slam dunk anymore," said Bill Morelli, analyst at IMS Research. "For all the shots taken at Apple for its rigid control, now banks and enterprise customers are looking it as a viable because it's secure and stable. It does create issues for RIM. Plus lots of enterprise folks don't want to pay for devices for everyone, if they can do some custom coding, have people bring in their iPhones or whatever smartphone they use, they'd gladly partially supplement the cost. It takes a lot of headaches away."
A recent report from Bloomberg said both Bank of America and Citigroup are letting their staffs use iPhones instead of BlackBerrys. In a recent quarterly earnings call, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer said up to 80 percent of the Fortune 500 is testing or using the iPhone for some level of corporate deployment. Oppenheimer mentioned Aviva and Novardis as a few examples of this adoption.
A representative from AT&T said 40 percent of its iPhone sales are going to business consumers.
"We've definitely talked to Fortune 1000 companies who say they support the iPhone," said Ken Dulaney, a Gartner analyst. "Doesn't mean the BlackBerry is going away, people still like the QWERTY keyboards, but I would say there's been a significant impact in North America on the Blackberry."
It's not just iPhones horning in RIM's territory. Analysts say phones running on Android's operating system also pose as a viable threat in enterprise.
"If you look at handsets like the Droid Pro, which Verizon is carrying, Motorola
Even Dell, which until recently hadn't even been in the smartphone space, has gotten in on the action. The company recently announced its switching its 25,000 employees from BlackBerrys to their own Venue smartphone, running on Windows Phone 7 and later, Android. The company said it will offer a bundle package to get other companies to adopt the Venue as well.
Yet, analysts like Morelli say RIM's time is not completely up. He is confident the company is aware of its problem and is continually addressing it.
"RIM still makes a good device. There are legit people who still like the QWERTY keypad. There is a high end-to-end security solution. They have the BlackBerry enterprise server, which is very secure. Now they are going to have pitch aggressively. They have to do work on the device side to make it more appealing. They're still in catch-up mode in terms of getting a more appealing browser and user interface, but I wouldn't count them out. They have smart guys focused on this in Waterloo," Morelli said.
Charles Miller, an analyst at Security Evaluators, and the first person to have a public exploit against the iPhone back in 2007, says both the iPhone and BlackBerry are fairly secure devices. However, the BlackBerry is better when it comes to configurability.
"BlackBerry has fine grained controls that an administrator can push out over the air to BlackBerrys that control every aspect of the device. These policies control such things as what applications are and can be installed to how the device is configured. iPhone has some support for these types of policies, but it is not as fine grained," Miller said.
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