updated 10:50 am EST, Fri January 14, 2011
RIM may allow remote admin for non-BlackBerrys
RIM is mulling the prospects of a management tool that would control devices and services beyond the BlackBerry, vice president Pete Devenyi said in an interview following a Boston business event. He hinted that the company's remote administration might extend not just to other phones but to those not using BlackBerry services. Although not stating it by name, he hinted strongly to AllThingsD that it would be a reaction to companies like JPMorgan allowing Android and iPhone use for those who wanted to use something other than a BlackBerry, even if they had to pay for it themselves.
"BlackBerry is and will continue to be dominant in most corporations," Devenyi said. "[But] it's not going to be the only device given the fact that consumers have the choice to bring in their own devices and IT departments are often letting them in. So there's a question there. Do those corporations have to manage those devices differently or is there the possibility that RIM might extend capabilities to make it easier for those corporations to manage those devices as well?"
BlackBerry Connect could already manage some non-RIM devices, but only if they communicated in a method RIM's software could understand. The new approach could let the single platform manage a competing platform even if it didn't use any BlackBerry-related features. It would have to be "done differently" due to the platform changes, the executive said, but it was possible.
Devenyi emphasized that nothing was official and that it wasn't certain. Any plans would be contingent on demand. "If the right thing to do is to extend a subset of those [BlackBerry] capabilities to be able to manage other devices, it's worthy of a conversation," he said.
The statements come as RIM is losing share, both in the US and worldwide, to Apple and Google. Most of its losses are to home users looking for more advanced apps, media and web access, but it has also ceded ground in smaller businesses as more nimble firms could afford or were willing to experiment with changes to the iPhone, Android or other platforms.