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Can Research in Motion Stop the Apple and Google Onslaught in the Enterprise Arena?

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If enterprise customers abandon RIM, it might be hard for the company to come back.

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For its part, RIM asserts that the BES is still the most secure device management system out in the market.

"RIM has a longstanding history of providing secure end-to-end mobile solutions for its customers. Security is built into every BlackBerry from the ground up. It is how we think, develop, engineer and deploy our products and services," Jeff Holleran, director of Enterprise Product Management at RIM, tells Minyanville. "RIM's customers have come to regard the BlackBerry solution as the gold standard for Enterprise mobility."

RIM has also released its own heterogeneous mobile device management system, BlackBerry Mobile Fusion, which is compatible with Android and iOS devices. RIM can thus still profit in the software space when companies employ BYOD policies if they choose to use BlackBerry Mobile Fusion to manage devices.

RIM's Mobile Fusion is almost a double-edged sword because if it takes off, it could hasten the demise of the BlackBerry, since companies will now be able to fully embrace iOS or Android devices. However, the introduction of Fusion was a necessary move that RIM had to make, as Tony Bradley of PCWorld pointed out.

BlackBerry Mobile Fusion may accelerate migration off of BlackBerry mobile devices, but it establishes RIM as a leading player for multiplatform mobile device management at the same time. BlackBerry as a mobile OS, and BlackBerry devices may continue to decline into obscurity or oblivion, but RIM can live on by shifting its strategy to that of a software company capable of providing the multiplatform mobile device management and security infrastructure customers need.

Blackberry 10: The Last Stand?

The latest piece of good news for RIM came from a recent survey from Osterman Research, which found that firms with BYOD policies have higher expenses as they need more IT staff to support all the different mobile devices.

As Forbes argued, "the rising IT costs of managing multiple devices will give enterprises pause as they work on moving away from RIM's BlackBerry infrastructure [which] gives RIM a chance to stage a comeback not only from a successful BB10 launch that may change consumer perception about BlackBerry smartphones, but also from its recently launched Mobile Fusion software designed to support multiple mobile platforms."

All eyes will be focused on the new BlackBerry 10 OS come 2013, as it represents RIM's best (and last?) chance to turn the tide. So far, early notices have been positive. One key measure of whether or not the Blackberry 10 will be a success will be whether or not the developer community will be committed to designing apps for the BlackBerry ecosystem. If it isn't, the BlackBerry risks becoming irrelevant compared to the apps-rich iOS and Android ecosystems.

To this end, Holleran told Minyanville that developer sentiment towards the BlackBerry 10 has been "phenomenal," with more than 5,000 developers having attended BlackBerry 10 Jam developer events thus far. An incentive for developers to create apps for its system, he notes, is that "the BlackBerry platform continues to be the most profitable for developers."

Additionally, Holleran stated that average monthly revenue from BlackBerry apps is about $3,853, compared to $2,735 for Android and $3,693 for iOS, while average cost to bring a BlackBerry app to market is $15,181, compared to $22,637 for Android and $27,463 for iOS.

Even with the delays, executives at the Canadian company are confident that their product will wow the world, as they've taken their time to perfect their product. Frank Boulben, the new global chief marketing officer of RIM, told The Australian Financial Review: "We are the clear third ecosystem, and we have a penetration in the enterprise and government market that is not rivaled by these other ecosystems. The mood [of the executive team] is very combative and there is a very strong fighting spirit in the -company right now."

Twitter: @sterlingwong

No positions in stocks mentioned.
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