BlackBerry, as the lead sentence in this eWeek story points out, is not having a good week.
The biggest news is that the company has had worldwide service problems. The piece says that issues have cropped up, according to a statement Research In Motion had provided to the Wall Street Journal, "in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, India, Brazil, Chile and Argentina."
That's a lot of territory. At the same time, eWeek, Reuters and other sites report that Jaguar Financial Corp., a Canadian merchant bank, is calling for a shake-up. This could take the form of a sale, company breakup and/or management change, according to Reuters.
The big two in the smartphone race are Apple and Google. The race generally is considered to be for third place. The two leading candidates are BlackBerry and Microsoft, which has made a big splash in recent months with its Windows Mobile 7/Windows Mobile.
Microsoft, of course, can boast its ability to link most efficiently and seamlessly to its productivity applications. RIM has its own ace up its sleeve, at least as far as the enterprise is concerned: It has written the book on smartphone security and management. It is, at least according to IT World, way ahead of the pack:
In terms of corporate deployment, RIM's BlackBerry is still the platinum standard for IT teams to manage, an area in which iOS- and Android-devices are considered to be very poor performers. There's a lot of reasons for this: the BlackBerry Enterprise Server is great for local and remote management and security policy implementation. And BlackBerry devices have enough hooks inside that cellular carriers can sell pre-configured devices in bulk to corporate accounts.
The story details the shortcomings of iOS and Android. The piece suggests that the Google entry is a bit more advanced than the Apple product, but both are way behind BlackBerry.
Better management and security isn't sexy and certainly won't single-handedly solve the problems generated by international outages and an angry and powerful merchant bank. But it could help Blackberry - whoever owns it and whoever runs it - for businesses to continue using it over the long term. After all, the BlackBerry was cool before smartphones were, well, smartphones.