updated 01:40 pm EDT, Fri September 10, 2010
JPMorgan testing iPhone and Android support
The BlackBerry may be handed one of its more significant losses as insiders said today that JPMorgan and UBS are working to allow Android and iPhone hardware for their workers. JPMorgan is purportedly testing "a few hundred" devices of both varieties to make sure they work well with its Exchange system, Bloomberg said. Under the proposed final plan, staff would have to pay for the phones themselves, unlike the BlackBerry, but could use it for both personal and company work.
The option would be available by the end of the year if the trial is successful. UBS has already confirmed it's following a similar approach but hasn't said when it expects testing to wrap up.
Both deals aren't automatic losses for RIM. JPMorgan employs about 225,000 staff worldwide, only some of which would be eligible to receive a BlackBerry, while UBS has 63,000 employees with similar limits on smartphone use. Either would nonetheless be wounds to the Canadian company's public image, as it has repeatedly tried to position itself as the backbone of corporate use.
The trend has worked against the BlackBerry, with analysts noting much less interest in enterprise adoption and a much greater interest in alternatives, most of which reference the iPhone. Personal demand has often been one of the largest factors, but some companies have also been keen to diversify to avoid BlackBerry outages or other security risks affecting all of their mobile workers at the same time.