After dominating the enterprise mobile email space with the BlackBerry solution for so many years, RIM is no longer the only serious game in town. Despite a number of false starts, arch-rival Microsoft now appears to have closed the gap, at least in terms of forward looking commitment. In a recent Reg Reader poll, the number of …
Reliance on proprietary backends...
It's the reliance on proprietary backend servers (exchange, domino etc) that will ultimately undo RIM...
They can never compete in the long run against microsoft, who will just bundle functionality with exchange and potentially modify exchange to try and cripple blackberry.
Also, while they do have support for standard IMAP servers, this support is completely half-assed and effectively worthless, i would consider implementing blackberry if it could work with *any* mail service supporting a standard such as imap.
RIM blew it by only supporting the "proper" enterprise
The RIM server only integrates with proper, grown-up enterprise email systems (Exchange, Lotus). Both of which were in danger of sprouting mobile built-in features. By eschewing plain ol' IMAP4, they ensured that any company wanting Blackberries would have to basically install Exchange, and thus their doom is assured.
Pity really, because Windows Mobile is still pretty poor - but it syncs with vanilla Exchange out of the box, so it will fly.
RIM and Exchange push
It's a fair point that Exchange does not require middleware, but to say it's cheaper is not the case. What you save on middleware with Exchange, you spend on expensive touch screen devices that prove to be unreliable! In addition, although MS have got the email and data side of mobile devices working, they have not grasped device fleet management and reporting of device data back to the server side - a key feature in BlackBerry deployment. MS will catch up, but not for some time yet - by which point how far ahead will RIM be???
another one bites the dust
When will the US government prevent microsoft from entering new markets and dominating those markets? Their strategy seems to be one of dominating every industry and reducing competition across the board. Restrictions should be made to prevent microsoft from entering new markets as their intention is simply to prevent other providers from creating the slightest competitive edge in any area.
This behaviour is unacceptable now, microsoft have dominated for to long.
Not the only game in town
RIM and Microsoft are not the only players in the particular game. If you want to use your Blackberry (or Treo or something else) then their are a few other companies - NotifyLink or Seven to name but two. They do mobile email to Exhange\Notes. If you want to use a more standards based approach like IMAP then NotifyLink will talk to any IMAP server. If you want the whole groupware experience then careful choice of your messaging\collaboration server will also get you Contacts, Calendars etc all sync'd nicely to your phone, PDA, Outlook and WebMail.
I would mention names but as I work for one of them that would be crude!
It's all about convergence
Never been a fan of BlackBerry, but it’s only been in the past few months that there’s been any true competition.
Exchange is the lynchpin to corporate communications and by developing a BlackBerry killer (almost) for free (you still need to look at security, such as ISA) they can convince corporate IT heads that the future of communications could truly be achieved if you “bet on Microsoft”. They are finally delivering convergence and with products such as Live Server 2007, they are going to have the market sown up. (Damn!)
With HTC-led equipment (clever technology, small form factor), and device management available from the likes of Vodafone, we can see a path ahead which will also allow us to embrace technologies such as SIP, and a corporate communications solution which finally reflects those cheesy “here is the future” pastiches.
Another case of Microsoft-bashing over common sense
Although Microsoft's dominance in certain areas could be argued to be counter-productive in the competition stakes, I think their entry into the "proper" mobile messaging arena is long overdue. We, like many others, use Exchange because a) it is a fairly decent enterprise messaging product, b) we have Microsoft support expertise in house, c) all of our suppliers have Microsoft support expertise, and d) it works with all of our other stuff which generally happen to be... errm... Microsoft products.
If two products solve the same problem to the satisfaction of our business and one of them is a Microsoft product then we'll choose the Microsoft one. This isn’t blinkered vision – we just choose the infrastructure path of least effort and concentrate on providing service.
They may end up dominating this market, but I think it might be for the right reasons this time. They were neither first to the market, nor did they buy up all competitors in sight. They've developed a good product (albeit behind time) which is competitive. Smartphones that run WM 5.0 are generally more expensive than Blackberrys or standard mobiles, and work in different ways, so if the travelling populous move to MS and away from RIM (who are hardly small fry), then RIM must be doing something wrong and MS doing something right.
Nokia may have the truly strategic platform!
Nokia recently acquired Intellisync which has a Mobile Suite including Push Email and PIM, Comprehensive Device Management, File Sync for corporate documents updated on the mobile device of your choice including tablet pcs and also DataSync for synchonising data from your corporate database applications. It can only be a matter of time before this technology becomes the new corporate standard especially because Intellisync supports Microsoft, Palm, Sony Ericsson and of course all the nice new Nokia Smartphones!
RIM isn't just bloody push email!
The security features on a blackberry are outstanding, software profiles prevent employees installing unwanted potentially dangerous 3rd party unvetted software, the lack of a camera is also seen as a plus for companies where security is paramount. if someone does lose a unit they can be remotely wiped, and wiped, and wiped, i think i recall the data is overwritten 8 times when a command is sent for it to selfdestruct.
The smartcard product available is also very elegant, if your unit is more than a couple of metres from you it locks up.
Even the much publicised 'security-hole' was just a media frenzy - it relied on a chain of events which starts with the very very unlikely scenario that there won't be a company wide software profile in place, ie. users would be able to install software that reaches them through a malicious email.
Compare all this with a pocketpc powered device...
I support both
Working for a large financial company and recently upgrading our exchange environment to 2k3sp2 I will say that windows mobile "works" it's still not really push and the wireless reconcile is a tad slower. My main gripe is you have next to no reporting or management from the exchange gui. The front end tool is merely to issue a kill command. I have to monthly audit device usage / non usage etc with MS you don't get any of that .. yet .. I'm sure it will be part of Exchange 2007 (which we'll likely upgrade to in 2009!) ..
Blackberry on the otherhand is good at what it does .. it's the best email platform that has all the tools you want to manage and deploy. With over 2000 users we're not about to purchase a chunk of WM5 devices that range from $150 - 600, Blackberry is pretty cheap and works. The main driver for WM5 is someone wants the latest gadget or to "work with attachments" I find the WM5 devices unstable and god awful with battery life.
All that said .. MS has made huge improvements and is getting there .. for now we're sticking with BES and deploying WM as needed ..
I will add we had good up and running during the whole "will blackberry be shutdown" bit and they have a nice product with close to all of Blackberry features and some unique to them (pushing the firmware is something RIM needs to get soon)
It depends on your business need, each has it's pros and cons.
Seven do offer imap
The figures I have seem show seven number 2 to rim in number of users
1. Not alot of companies are on exchange 2003 sp2
2. Most IT prefer not to open hole in their firewall
3. MS can not supply real figures as alot of surveys will not be factual $$ count
Also MS exchange has about 150 mil seats Domino has about the same the other 300 mil are made up of imap compatible mail servers..
Apps on Windows Mobile 5 devices
My company has just began switching from Blackberry to Windows Mobile 5. Our top Execs, like the article mentioned, heard about Mobile 5 phones etc... and they wanted them because they like them better as a phone than the blackberry and they went crazy becasue they could finally open attachments, which I still cannt believe RIM cannot do that. We also deployed some of our enterprise apps like Siebel on the phones.
I will warn all the other IT guys that read this, you will have a very very difficult time trying to get the phones to connect to your Cisco IPSec VPN for a few reasons
1) there arent any IPSec clients that work on CE all that well
2) IPSec as too much overhead for EVDO, even just web browsing over the IPSec tunnel took way too long
3) and of course you get drops in signal just like any cell phone
So we found this company called NetMotion Wireless which makes a VPN to work on phones, laptops etc... but when the phone losses its signal the apps will not crash, which Siebel likes to do when it losses the network, it was pretty amazing to see the software work, it saved us a ton of calls from very very upset execs and the high profile users that I know we all just love :)
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