The fact that Research in Motion's BlackBerry gradually is losing its hegemony over the enterprise-the subject of this commentary by CNET's Marguerite Reardon-should come as no surprise to anyone, lest of all company executives in Waterloo, Ontario.
I've written about this as recently as September, when a comScore MobiLens reported a shrinkage in RIM's market share. That trend continues. Reardon suggests that the original simple rationale to go with BlackBerry, strong security and management, is giving way to a landscape in which IT has no choice but to support all the devices employees bring to work. Fortunately, BlackBerry-like support increasingly is available on the other operating systems. Reardon writes:
With Apple's OS 3.1 and Google's Android 2.2, the software platforms now each offer enough security features built-in to satisfy most enterprise requirements. And this is coupled with support from companies like Good Technology, which offers message encryption and server architecture similar to what RIM offers. The main difference is that the Good technology allows companies to support multiple mobile platforms, including iPhone and Android, along with traditional Windows Mobile, Symbian, and Palm Treo devices.
Clearly, the best advice for RIM is to accept that this was inevitable no matter how good its product is. The world of fancy iPhones and Androids wasn't going to bypass the office.
Gartner provides the specific numbers. For RIM, they may seem dire when looked at in isolation. But they may seem reasonable within the context of the inevitablity of sharing the stage with other entrants. RIM's overall markets share will fall from 19.9 percent in 2009 to 17.5 percent this year, 15 percent in 2001 and 11.7 percent in 2014. As I wrote in the earlier post, that's offset by the growth of the overall size of the market. It also is important to note that these are overall numbers for phone sales. It's not clear how the percentages play out in the enterprise.
Though it's important for analysts, journalists and other observers to carefully track the de-emphasis of BlackBerry in the enterprise, the fact that it's happening already is part of the accepted common wisdom. Cameron Sturdevant does a nice job, internationally or not, of pointing that out in the lead of a piece at eWEEK when he writes that "Android-based handsets and tablets are next up on the consumer-to-enterprise conveyor belt."
Sturdevant has something encouraging (or, in the case of BlackBerry, vaguely encouraging) about how each operating system is positioned in the enterprise. He writes that Windows Phone 7 is "certainly a contender for a successful push into the enterprise" and that the "Droid Pro is among the first Android devices to offer Cisco IPsec VPN connectivity." Sturdevant writes that his interest during the next year-presumably, an indication of where he thinks the greatest enterprise upside is-will be on Android.