Thursday, 27 August 2009

Yet More Hyperbole About the iPhone

Macleans frets over the threat to RIM posed by Apple's iPhone.

The article misses the point of WHY the BlackBerry is so successful in the Enterprise. It ain't the Blackberry, it's the power of the Blackberry Enterprise Server which is installed into the Corporate network (more commonly known as a BES Server). Apple has NOTHING like this. Can't even compete. RIMs competitors in this area are Good, (which was acquired by Visto, which probably used the funds from this), and Intellisync, which was acquired by Nokia, and for whatever reason are burying the product, as I can't find any information about it.

The difference between these apps is, the RIM BES only works with the BlackBerry. Good and Intellisync work with a variety of devices (though not usually the BlackBerry). This is where RIM has won the marketing battle hands down. Even though Good and Intellisync were (are?) good products that allowed corporations to choose from a variety of mobile devices, RIM managed to convince business to go with a single vendor solution. It wasn't just marketing. When I was evaluating all three, RIM was the only vendor to come to the table on my terms. They were very co-operative during the evaluation, their pricing was good and their product worked. Their whole package was top notch. Sales, Service and Product were all A+ experiences.

And this is crucial for business use. We have a support contract with RIM to support our mobile messaging infrastructure. They help us solve problems right from the Microsoft Exchange server hosting the e-mail, through the BES, the wireless network and then the end device. One call solves all problems.

With the other vendors trying to mix those products? Finger Pointing is the rule of the day. Intellisync will blame Microsoft, the carrier and your iPhone. Call Apple and they plead ignorance as to what Intellisync even is. Call the carrier and they'll try to sell you their service. Call Microsoft and they'll hang up so fast you don't remember dialing. From a support perspective, that kills the deal. If I can't get help diagnosing the problem, I can't fix the problem.

This is why RIM wins. It's not the device stupid, it's the whole package. When one of my users calls with a problem, I have the tools to fix it. If they call me with an iPhone (or windows mobile, or Palm, or whatever) issue? They're on their own.

What has confounded me is Microsoft's approach to the wireless market. If there is any vendor that can provide an end-to-end solution (from server to device) it is Microsoft. They dominate the business messaging world with their e-mail server (Microsoft Exchange), and they have a hand-held product (Windows Mobile). They even have a device management server (System Center Mobile Device Manager). They have all the pieces to compete with RIM on an equal playing field.

But Microsoft has utterly failed to penetrate the market. And honestly I can't even tell if they have tried. I'm not the only one to notice that they don't appear to care.

Oh well, that's to RIMs advantage. As long as RIM continues to innovate and "compete" for mind-share with Apple (and Android), they'll always be around.

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