November 6, 2010

Businesses Want Other Alternatives Over BlackBerry Phone

Research in Motion's popularity has slipped recently as pressure from smartphone rivals in the corporate market is starting to heat things up.

Bank of America and Citigroup, along with a group of other financial institutions, have started eyeing other alternatives to the BlackBerry for corporate email.

According to Bloomberg, banks are testing software designed to make Apple's iPhone secure enough for company messages.

Research in Motion's (RIM) BlackBerry smartphones have been a trusted device for bankers, politicians and executives who need a secure email device.

However, the growing population of iPhones and other smartphone devices are pressuring RIM's dominance in the corporate sector.

Companies can save money on purchasing BlackBerry's by having other devices as an option to use.

"If the IT department's security concerns can be addressed it seems to be a win-win" for employers and employees, James Cordwell, a London-based analyst at Atlantic Equities, told Reuters.

Bernstein Research found that 83 percent of U.S. businesses allow employees to use non-BlackBerry alternatives to access corporate email.

PC maker Dell said it was moving 25,000 employees using BlackBerry devices over to its own smartphones as it tries to gain ground in the mobile market.

Dell said the move will save money, but RIM says that the cost of buying, deploying and supporting new devices will not help save costs. 

"We find it highly unlikely that they will actually save any money with this move and far more likely they were looking for a little free publicity," Mark Guibert, RIM's senior vice-president of corporate marketing, said in an emailed statement to Reuters.

"Plus, consider the fact that BlackBerry smartphones are far more efficient with respect to data usage, which means that their monthly service charges will also likely increase," he said.

A RIM executive said the company was still adding corporate subscribers and it continues to lead a growing market.

"We believe the opportunities for both corporate-issued and employee-purchased smartphones are growing and that RIM provides the best overall platform for CIOs (chief information officers) to address both scenarios without compromising security or manageability," RIM's senior vice-president for enterprise and platform marketing, Jeff McDowell, said.

According to industry tracker IDC, RIM's global smartphone market slipped over 4 percentage points in the third quarter.


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