Seems even BlackBerry maker Research In Motion can no longer ignore the drumbeat of Android and iOS. This morning, news broke about RIM‘s new plan for BlackBerry Mobile Fusion, a new tool that will allow enterprise customers to support users of both rival platforms.
It makes sense on some level. Indeed, as those competing devices march across the globe, more people are increasingly clamoring for company support of their chosen platforms. Meanwhile, corporate interest in supporting their staffers’ productivity and employee satisfaction has been butting up against the need to lock down company networks. Mobile Fusion can bridge these interests, since it can hook personal Androids and iPhones to the BlackBerry network without any compromise of security. It’s a win-win for these companies as well as their workers.
Unfortunately, it seems the only one who might lose out is RIM, whose dismal handset sales have no doubt lead to this decision. But could this approach just worsen the situation? After all, if BlackBerries are no longer necessary in BlackBerry networks, then where will that leave the flailing product line?
That’s a pretty gloomy scenario. But let’s not forget there’s another one to consider here: Instead of this being a sad sign of a company sinking, it could turn out to be a savvy move for the tech company. If it can keep its corporate userbase happy in an increasingly competitive atmosphere, wouldn’t that help it buy more time for some sort of comeback? Word has it, more QNX-based devices will be ready by early next year. If the company can hold out long enough to see the results from this, it could be an 11th-hour save. It’s an optimistic view, sure, but it’s not impossible in the tech world. Take Apple, for instance. At one time, it too managed to pull back from the very brink of disaster, and we all know how that story turned out.
No matter how you slice it, RIM broadening its support for non-BlackBerry devices is a bold move. Whether that will turn out to be its saving grace or another nail in its coffin has yet to be seen.
Where do you think this could lead? Will the company be able to pull this off and buy enough time to reinvigorate its hardware line? Or is this a last-ditch attempt from a company on its way out?