updated 11:00 pm EST, Fri February 24, 2012
New CEO must make bold changes, users say
Despite widespread reporting of the company's troubles, Canadian tech firm Research In Motion (RIM) still holds a fairly strong grip in the world of enterprise and corporate IT, with some 70 percent of company-purchased smartphones as a backbone to its other services, software and products. A new study by InformationWeek, however, paints a grim picture: only 25 percent expect to stick with Blackberrys over the next two years.
The report's title says it all: "Can RIM Be Saved?". The survey got responses from more than 530 business IT and technology professionals that shows some remaining fondness for the manageability, corporate focus and security of the Blackberry platform among IT pros, but that users much prefer Apple and to a lesser extent Android devices, which have quickly scaled to embrace enterprise-level security and apps that businesses require.
Without bold moves by new RIM CEO Thorsten Heins, respondents say, the company is unlikely to recapture its "market leader" image or encourage users to stay with -- or switch back to -- Blackberrys. Even the company's most influential fan, US President Barack Obama, has been seen using Apple devices recently.
The survey showed that 67 percent of respondents consider Apple "a strategic partner" for enterprise mobility. RIM and Microsoft were tied for second place mindshare, each being cited by around 37 percent of respondents (users could pick more than one company). Only four percent of the companies considering RIM products said they plan to migrate to BlackBerry Mobile Fusion, despite the fact that it can also manage iOS and Android along with RIM devices.
The long-term prospects look even worse for the company, as only one percent of respondents still view RIM as a market leader that is positioned to grow or increase its influence. For a plurality of users, the troubles and management of former co-CEOs Mike Lazardis and Jim Basillie had been a "significant factor" in the company's quick decline over the past two years. The former CEOs themselves admitted that the rise of BYOD (bring your own device) policies at Fortune 500 companies had created an opening for more "consumer-friendly" devices like the iPad and iPhone to get a foothold in the formerly Apple-hostile corporate world.