It may sound far fetched, but could RIM’s recent announcement they will be adding Android and iOS management to the BlackBerry Enterprise Server be the first step in moving away from the handset market?
Corporations have traditionally selected RIM BlackBerry devices because of their management capabilities for IT organizations. That’s not necessarily something driven by the handset itself but the BlackBerry Enterprise Server that is managing them all. As the iOS and Android platforms have matured, a number of Mobile Device Management (MDM) options have appeared that allow managing mobile devices in the field, pushing software updates and enforcing security policies. At the same time, RIM hardware has suffered a number of set backs with both consumers and the business market.
There may be a strategy for RIM to leverage its expertise in device management and refocus its efforts on its core customer base — the IT department. Providing additional tools to the IT folks who are now wrestling with a massive influx of new devices and user demands might be the move that continues to keep RIM relevant to the business world. On a defensive note, those other MDM vendors are doing a good job of managing diverse sets of assets and providing management tools for the business so RIM has to take action to compete.
Don’t expect RIM to walk away from that handset revenue in the short term but as the market explosively changes over the next 24 months there are likely additional opportunities for RIM to broaden their IT focused offerings.