RIM Still Enterprise Champ, but the Competition Gets Tougher


The highest profile news during the past few weeks has been about the Palm Pre and the iPhone 3G S. While the usefulness of these devices in the enterprise has gotten some attention, the initial focus quite naturally was on the consumer segment. However, these vendors clearly see the potential of the business market.


This all is no doubt getting the attention of Research in Motion (RIM). For corporate users, RIM's BlackBerry was, is and will be the device of choice for years to come. That doesn't mean, however, that the firm is immune to the impressive upstarts that will try to carve a few points off its market share.


Indeed, it's already happening. AppleInsider reprints an interesting graphic from Piper Jaffray which compares results of surveys conducted during the three iPhone launches. The results, which are more anecdotal than definitive, should get RIM's attention. The firm found that 12 percent of buyers of the iPhone 3G S used it as a replacement for a BlackBerry. That's double the percentage that moved Apple's way at both the initial iPhone and iPhone 3G introductions.


RIM announced its quarterly results last week. NewsFactor reports that the company's first quarter earnings rose 33 percent to $1.12 per share and that sales increased 53 percent compared to the year-ago quarter. PCWorld noted that there were 3.8 million new subscribers during the quarter, compared to 3.9 million during the previous quarter. Despite the fact that this was only the second time that RIM's growth slowed between consecutive quarters, none of the results were catastrophic. Regardless, NewsFactor reports that RIM's stock took an initial hit after the announcement because traders were disappointed that it had not met the high end of expectations set for it. The other spin in the story is from Co-CEO Jim Brasslike, who promises "spectacular" products for the remainder of this year.

One move that may be exciting both to those steeped in unified communications and smartphones is the news that Agito Networks will now support BlackBerry devices. Indeed, this may be one of the big announcements to which Balsillie referred. Agito makes fixed mobile convergence (FMC) gear that toggles phones-and even individual calls -- between cellular networks and less expensive Wi-Fi platforms. Unified Communications Strategies' Michael Finneran says that the move, which is expected to be a boon to the mobile unified communications sector, was not done before because of the proprietary nature of the BlackBerry development environment.