Smartphones

Five reasons why BlackBerry is still winning in the enterprise

While Android and iPhone have all the buzz in smartphones, BlackBerry-maker RIM is still making all the right moves to win in the enterprise.

While Google Android and Apple iPhone are generating all the buzz in smartphones, BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion is still making all the right moves to win over companies and IT departments in the enterprise.

Android devices and iPhones are hot with consumers, and we're seeing more and more workers bringing these smartphones into the enterprise and connecting them to business systems, especially email and Web apps.

However, when it comes to smartphones that do deeper integration with business processes and the devices that companies deploy to their workers, BlackBerry remains the runaway leader. In fact, BlackBerry is actually growing stronger in the enterprise because its former archrival, Windows Mobile, has been floundering for the last couple years and Microsoft has recently decided to focus most of its attention on the consumer market with Windows Phone 7.

Based on my experience using and writing about BlackBerry and what I've seen and heard from developers and CIOs at the Wireless Enterprise Symposium 2010 in Orlando this week, here is why BlackBerry still dominates the enterprise:

1. Open development platform

BlackBerry offers an accessible platform for developers, especially enterprise developers. RIM has a large library of BlackBerry APIs that it makes available and provides deep integration into the OS. The platform itself is based on Java, which has an enterprise bent, mostly because of scalability and security.

RIM also allows companies to deploy BackBerry apps themselves by simply publishing the apps on a private or public Web page, and the apps can be deployed over-the-air (OTA). That's obviously a big benefit over the iPhone, where apps have to be deployed through iTunes or the Apple App Store.

2. Security and compliance

Building the hardware, the operating system, and the backend software (BES) allows BlackBerry security to remain air-tight. BlackBerry also began as an enterprise company, serving banks and governments in many cases, and those enterprises and their IT departments demand solid security before they'll even consider a deployment.

As a result, BlackBerry has grown up with the idea that security is a minimum requirement, and that has prepared it well for today's world with lots of different compliance standards (SOX, HIPPA, etc.). For all of the technical details about encryption, authentication, and data protection, take a look at RIM's BlackBerry security page.

3. Full manageability for IT

It's easy to think that IT loves BlackBerries simply because they've been working with them for a long time and they can control them better. It's also true that RIM has gone out of its way to build the kind of hardware, software, and backend platform that CIOs want and are willing to buy. However, IT's affinity for BlackBerries is mostly because they are easier to standardize and deploy to workers, easier to troubleshoot remotely, and easier to wipe when they get lost.

There are third party solutions bringing these same kinds of functions to iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile, and other platforms, but with BlackBerry much of the functionality is either baked in and/or there are partners that have been bolstering the functionality for 5-10 years.

4. Integration with enterprise software

The biggest reason BlackBerries are so entrenched in the enterprise goes back to No. 1 and the fact that companies can build software to effectively integrate BlackBerries into their business processes and existing systems. RIM also gets a big assist from companies like Oracle and IBM that have provided hooks into their middleware and business software for BlackBerry.

That means that hospitals, manufacturers, sales organizations, governments, and other types of enterprises can put BlackBerry devices in the hands of professionals and field workers and allow them to enter and access data from anywhere at any time. In fact, RIM had an entire awards program at WES 2010 dedicated to companies that have created the greatest efficiencies, saved the most money, or provided the best services with BlackBerry as a part of these types of solutions. They've got lot of great stories that go far beyond anything RIM ever imagined.

5. Integration with business phone systems

Another asset for BlackBerry in the enterprise is its Mobile Voice System, which allows integrate into the corporate phone system. That way, when someone dials an extension it can ring directly to a BlackBerry if the worker isn't at the desk. And if the worker dials from the BlackBerry it looks as if it's coming from the worker's company extension.

At WES 2010 this week, RIM unveiled MVS 5, which adds Voice over Wi-Fi to the solution. RIM's favorite story for how this works is that if you're on an airplane with Wi-Fi (and basically all of them will soon have it) then your BlackBerry can connect over Wi-Fi and you can make and receive calls, with all of those calls acting as if they are coming to and from your corporate extension. A RIM executive said he recently did a 15 minute call this way with no drops and very good call quality. I'm skeptical about that, but this is definitely a feature that will be welcomed by enterprise workers.

But, challenges remain

Despite the strength of BlackBerry's position in the enterprise, there are powerful trends moving against it. Android and iPhone are gobbling up new users and becoming the darlings of global wireless carriers. It's mostly consumers buying those devices, but as mentioned above many consumers are bringing those phones into businesses because the phones themselves are certainly powerful enough to handle business tasks.

Many companies and IT departments are supporting this "consumerization of IT" approach by allowing users to bring in their own smartphones and connect to Exchange and Web apps, and this approach is cutting into BlackBerry's enterprise business.

Of course, in most cases the iPhone and Android devices are not integrating as deeply into the company's business processes and applications. That's where BlackBerry has its stake in the ground. However, what happens to BlackBerry when business applications become Web-savvy and are completely accessible through the browser?

The other side of the coin is that the consumerization of IT may only go so far. Many big companies will always need the control and customization that they get with BlackBerry solutions. In fact, for many of these companies, mobile is becoming more important than ever. It's possible that in the future many of them could quit deploying computers to field workers and just deploy highly-integrated smartphones. If that trend picks up steam, then BlackBerry is in the pole position for a big win.

So those are the two trends to watch when it comes to BlackBerry. 1.) Does the consumerization of IT continue to gain momentum? 2.) Will enterprises start deploying smartphones in large numbers as the primary computing devices for field workers?

The other thing BlackBerry needs in order to keep pace with iPhone and Android is a couple flashy new smartphones that generate buzz among consumers. Think about how Android finally started generating momentum with the Motorola Droid, the Nexus One, and the HTC Incredible. BlackBerry needs something with that kind of mojo. The BlackBerry Storm initially had the hype, but it turned out to be a dud and actually hurt the brand. That kind of flop can't be repeated. BlackBerry still needs some consumers on its side. If the consumerization movement does take off, RIM needs at least some of those consumers to choose BlackBerry.

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

68 comments
misterjohn
misterjohn

I am a consumer - only a consumer. I use an iPod Touch for portable work [language learning, armchair surfing at home, lifestyle management, email (various accounts), quick information about cinema releases, news feeds, BBC website, weather, etc.. My friends has bought a Blackberry. When we are away from a wi-fit connection, and we need to research information on the web, we have to use his Blackberry. Oh dear. Tiny, tiny, unmanageable keyboard. Tiny, tiny screen. Clumsy, mistake-ridden navigation onto and via Google. From a consumer point of view, I'm afraid personal experience says Blackberry has an enormous, enormous hill to climb.

asirvent
asirvent

I think that Blackberry is actually winning the battle because of its open architecture. They are like the "Open" Mind in smartphones comparing with the Linux legend. The time that Android and Iphone leave the door open, they will gain the battle for sure. At that time RIM should reconsider its strategy about the screen-touch and presentation style in order to survive to the "cosmetic and fancy" touch of the other smartphones. Thanks and Best Regards. Alberto G. Sirvent Buenos Aires, Argentina

CisfRjsii
CisfRjsii

Ps: I would`t Trade mine for anything - Nor would Our President ... Blackberry Storm 9530 - A Brilliant Tool! Cisf(c)tm.Rjsii: 1984-(R)-2084 Computer Interface Systems (R) First

FormotusGlen
FormotusGlen

Here's what companies want: - Custom solutions without custom coding - Design once, run on any phone - No server installation or maintenance - No mobile browser dependency Sound about right? Check out Formotus at: http://www.formotus.com. We currently work on Android and Windows phones, but other popular platforms are on the roadmap.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

While they rule the day now, they will find themselves out of the market if they don't start taking their phone interface seriously. They really need a real touch screen phone (the Storm doesn't count as it was a piece of crap...it might have been fixed, but it is too late for it), a better more intuitive interface, and getting rid of the stupid way they manage storage.

techrepublic
techrepublic

Whilst this may be perceived by some as an "old" topic we have to understand the driving force behind any IT decision. Apple clearly make a beautiful device but despite what some people have said a Blackberry *is* inherently more secure than an iPhone. Yes some items can be managed through Exchange but you cannot completely clear a device in the same way you can with a RIM device. Ultimately, for me, the decision is based on security. Whilst Apple may be selling the iPhone into business it is typically based upon the choice of someone much higher in the organisation. The the CEO wants and iPhone, he gets one. However, if data leakage causes losses for the business, who it blamed and pays with their job. The IT guy. With respect to look and feel, the Blackberry mail application does look a bit dated but it works. Style over substance or information is king. Most of the time we just want details of a message because that is more important.

todd_dsm
todd_dsm

This makes the supposition that your company has an exchange server... Once you give up this pacifier and move to an open-source solution (like Zimbra) you'd be surprised how much easier it is to connect and manage phones on the network, any network. In this scenario you gain many things, flexibility in connecting the phones, bullet-proof AV/Anti-SPAM, and an MTA that's scalability is only limited by the hardware. Despite what even Zimbra's website says, with a little technical expertise, I haven't seen a phone that doesn't work so far. Oh, and the MTA begins with a free download. Add in a certificate and only allow connections via IMAPs(port 993) and SMTPs(port465) and you've all of a sudden you have a greater level of security over a public network. The only thing you give up with the free version is the PUSH that exchange provides. If your users can wait for the 'once/60 seconds' that any mail client will query the IMAP server, even BB, your life can become infinitely more simple. If you pay for the full-blown package then you get this feature back. If you can't make the argument with your users that a 60 second wait could save the company 1000's of dollars you simply have to explain it to your CIO; he/she should understand that kind of argument and refine a new top-down policy. As a 10-year windows/exchange engineer I can assure you that this is far less trouble than working with exchange. And your server won't fall over - ever. In this scenario the iphone is the most flexible and controllable of all phones. Don't forget Apple designed the last 2 versions to work directly with an exchange server. There are many tools to manipulate it but you have to make the investment to read the documentation. With the saturation of virtualization there's no good reason not to at least eval and test this combo to see if it will work for you. If you can't get as far as even accepting the idea maybe it's time to re-evaluate an empty loyalty to your current solution. This mindset would be the equivalent to using (say) Yahoo as your search engine, simply because that's all you've ever used - and hey, it's not like some new upstart can do any better...is it? As in all things change comes from individuals. The net effect in savings for your company in time, energy, and money could be vast. It's worth a look also to rid your self of some unnecessary admin over-head. I've been using this solution for a while now and in the last 18 months that I've been migrating my clients to Zimbra I've only performed minimal user maintenance, not server maintenance. It integrates in a few minutes into a Windows AD environment by providing a hostname/UN/PW to point it at AD. All with very happy mobile users.

Pooh1952
Pooh1952

Its the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA)

alon.ronen
alon.ronen

What about the BB messenger? In my opinion (and I'm WM user for 7 years now) is the winning reason - having a close messeging network that doesnt have the 'degrading' of SMS and is much more 'immediate' than emails. I wish I could install BB OS on my WM only for that reason. Does anybody knows the fate of the BAS? Alon

cloyd42
cloyd42

The happiest day of my past year was replacing my BB with a Droid. Taking the battery out of a BB multiple times a day, that wretched pearl button and that incredibly tiny display will not be missed. Most of my coworkers have also dumped their company-supplied Blackberry for various iPhone or Android phones.

rpanderson53
rpanderson53

my issues are the major outages that occurred that RIM sort of sidestepped, like google mail outages. there is no perfect answer - RIM got in the door first and that means alot and they targeted corporation vs iPhone and Android which came out as consumer devices then added corp capabilities like Exchange support, etc

cerberus_uk
cerberus_uk

An obviously biased view! 1) Apple apps are more desirable, powerful and usable. Many companies are now building iPhone apps - The same can?t be said for Blackberry. 2) I agree in principle however, I have not read of any companies having any security breaches using iPhone? 3) iPhones can be managed using native Exchange server and can be easily wiped remotely. 4) Blah ... 5) Integration with Cisco is smart agreed. Let?s see how long it is before similar functions are available on the other platforms. The research I?ve read indicates that actually more companies new to the smartphone market are opting to buy none-Blackberry solutions and you take a look at Blackberry?s focus on the consumer market now. This article feels like it was written in 2007/8.

cerberus_uk
cerberus_uk

An obviously biased view! 1) Apple apps are more desirable, powerful and usable. Many companies are now building iPhone apps - The same can?t be said for Blackberry. 2) I agree in principle however, I have not read of any companies having any security breaches using iPhone? 3) iPhones can be managed using native Exchange server and can be easily wiped remotely. 4) Blah ... 5) Integration with Cisco is smart agreed. Let?s see how long it is before similar functions are available on the other platforms. The research I?ve read indicates that actually more companies new to the smartphone market are opting to buy none-Blackberry solutions and you take a look at Blackberry?s focus on the consumer market now. This article feels like it was written in 2007/8.

Alfred DeRose | Tego Interactive
Alfred DeRose | Tego Interactive

Jason, Apple doesn't need the iPhone to be an enterprise device - and possibly, they don't care. At least not much. Yes, they continue to make make an effort to appease those who point out it's flaws but Apple dominates the smartphone market despite those flaws. At the end of the day, I think Apple would be just as happy to let you keep your Blackberry for work and sell you an iPod touch for everything else.

animoid
animoid

Isn't the Raspberry device out very soon? Builds even further integration with business.

neilb
neilb

You say you're skeptical about voice quality of calls over WiFi. Well it can work, but of course the wired back haul needs enough bandwidth. From my home, or my office, I can make VoIP calls over WiFi from my mobile phone. Because both locations have sufficient bandwidth there is rarely a problem with call drops or call quality. On the other hand, although some of our trains are equipped with WiFi - near everyone is trying to use it - the connectivity is variable and I wouldn't want to rely on a call using that. As to calls using this method from aircraft? Well, I'd be interested in the available bandwidth before I thought about using it. Regards Neil

mattohare
mattohare

It's one thing to say they've been on security from the start. What, if any, breaches have they suffered? How did the recover from them?

justin.latter
justin.latter

To be honest, we are on the consumerisation side of the fence. A lot of our workers are happily connecting to exchange, it takes a matter of moments to set up, and push email often arrives at their handsets before their desktop PCs. iPhones are a big thumbs up in our view.

SerrJ215
SerrJ215

Also don't forget the fact that they have better sync software then the Iphone, for all there apps I spent 5 hours trying to get one to sync with Outlook 2007 today and it still dosen't work right. It make me feel so much better that all I need to do is connect my Samsung Jack to my laptop and active sync does the rest.

Miz Marks
Miz Marks

Can you set a distinguishing ring tones to calls forwarded from your job so you can 1. choose not to answer or to answer professionally, not with "Yo, who dis??"

alexisgarcia72
alexisgarcia72

from a bussiness perspective, I can be more fastest with a regular keyboard, I don't need touch screen in my device.

todd_dsm
todd_dsm

There is only secure and not secure: IMAPS: 993 SMTPS: 465 128-bit AES Certificate. Only companies holding state secrets need more security than that. If your company is selling lawn darts - don't sweat it. This is enough. The varying degrees of 'more security' are not worth mentioning. BB doesn't hold the patent on email encryption. If you need that simply put up a gateway to en/decrypt messages. There must be a dozen ways to get this done with open source software. Download Djigzo for example. Install it on an old 1386 box that you were going to throw out anyway and test it. Security costs time, but only costs money when necessary. I gotta say, remotely locking the BB is kinda sexy though. I was not aware of that. But, again - this is really only valuable with state secrets. If your company is selling Axe handles you are over-paying for the unnecessary.

alexisgarcia72
alexisgarcia72

The new BES 4.17 and BES 5.0 allow rich email in the email client in the BB. BB is highly secure. With BES your messages are encrypted, not with BIS. You can wipe your BB miles away. You can lock your device, You can do a wireless sync, a wireless backup, a fully incremental sync with exchange objects like any other sync app. BB is the leader and will be for years if they continue to provide such kind of service and benefits. One CIO was traveling in our company, he lost the BB. Via BES I wiped and locked with a warning message. Remotely, the CIO purchased a new BB, and he perform a Wireless Enterprise activation in seconds. After 3 minutes, the 3G network allow him to have the new device up and working WITH THE SAME settings and preferences of the old one. JUST AMAZING!

eclypse
eclypse

found that it was more expensive than Exchange and you had to pay per mailbox per year. Plus, they did not support Blackberry (which is what we got stuck with) very seamlessly at the time, either. And believe me, I had absolutely NO desire to EVER have a Microsoft Exchange server anywhere near my datacenter (Notes and Groupwise were even more expensive, tho). We liked Zimbra, but we were perfectly happy running Sendmail and UW-IMAP and using Thunderbird (or in my case: PINE). Thanks to Blackberry forcing you to use proprietary email systems and no one else having anything worth looking at when we got stuck with the Blackberries, we are now an Exchange shop. Ugh.

travis.duffy
travis.duffy

have to ever worry about battery pulls with a droid. The battery life is so bad it's dead before it needs to be pulled.

rpanderson53
rpanderson53

Actually when the first two generations of iPhone came out Apple heavily lobbied companies to adopt the iPhone as a corp device. Even though it lacked corp capabilities and security , then of course they hold tight on price which in the end stalled alot of companies, and where the carriers were willing to discount RIM and other smartphones.

vinizio
vinizio

It would be interesting to know what is the brand of the smartphone you both are using. Thanks Vinicio Aizpurua Miami, Fl

Tony1044
Tony1044

I've been a long-term BlackBerry user. Circa 6 years now. Earlier handsets - ugly as anything, but remarkably tough and reliable. Newer handsets - much prettier, but much less longevity (I had the flip - build quality was non-existent which was a shame because I liked it, I've gone through three bolds in 7 months because the rollerball keeps failing (and they're kept in the wallet). The latest iteration of BES Express is a great idea - I can have all three of my company handsets on there now, but it was a pain to set up (and I've worked for Microsoft as an Exchange specialist) - why can't RIM and the carriers offer a 'proper' BES service rather than BIS? Even consumers want to have a diary and 'proper' email synch. Apps - there are some really good, and free, ones out there now but still not enough and even corp users want a bit of chill time occasionally. I bought my wife a 1st gen iPhone and truly loathed it because of its lack of features but I have to admit they (Apple) have done well in playing catch up and iPhones are still much trendier than anything offered from RIM - you may think that's not such a big deal in the corporate world but I remember when we were first given a BlackBerry - it was almost like a reward for where we'd got to within the company and a status symbol. Yep, even corp types and techie types want 'cool' occasionally. I would love to see a proper touch-screen BlackBerry with a 'proper' browser and out of the box BES support from my carrier. Something that could genuinely rival the iPhone? Well actually, right now, I'd settle for a reliable handset from RIM...and that, I think, could be the killer right now.

Witchfinder
Witchfinder

For our customers who are using a mix of BlackBerry and iPhone devices, from a management point of view the iPhones are far easier to deploy. They just work. BES is an additional layer of complexity to go wrong, and it frequently does. I can understand why large companies (the kind who might have 50+ mobile users) find BES attractive, but if you're working with, say, 20 devices then the iPhone makes much more sense.

alexisgarcia72
alexisgarcia72

BB with BES can sync every single settings via wireless. Not only calendar, notes, tasks, memos, etc but every single detail. You can sync and backup everything from bookmarks, fonts, colors, volume, wallpapers, themes, etc via wireless. An Iphone cannot do that.

mocoffee
mocoffee

From what I have seen, BB sync issues have been about signal strength. Check your BB Options, Status for the 'dBm' value. Lower is better and there is a sync threshold as I recall of 90dBM or better. Try synching from a higher elevation or nearer the cell tower. Ensure the BB is fully charged if the user has lots of existing email. I don't have enough experience with iPhone to vote yeah or nay regarding integration. Personally, I find them easy to use and configure and the big touch screen is great. Hoever, the SMBs I worked with, which both hosted their own Exchange servers, did not try to integrate iPhones. They just allowed both devices. I did integrate the low-end (read no cost) BES server into one SMB but it took considerable time and deciphering of the BES documentation. I would like to hear someone with experience with integrating BOTH BBs and iPhones with Exchange speak up about pros vs cons, especially with regard to ROI & support and especially if they switched from one to the other.

travis.duffy
travis.duffy

The Blackberry is also winning in the enterprise due to them having a physical keyboard(other than the storm). Typing on a touch screen keyboard sucks

blarman
blarman

is a decent browser. I don't understand why they don't partner with Firefox or Opera to get a slim version that will run on the Blackberry, as the existing browser is pitiful.

bob
bob

I like my Blackberry, but the iPhone and every other phone I have used display email so much better. The iPhone and other devices have browsers that actually work well. As a former BES administrator for my organization, I liked the BES security, but unless Blackberry can improve the look and feel of the email client and browser, I would jump ship to an iPhone in a second if my organization would buy me one. (I would buy it myself, but they don't allow personal devices on our network)

mhiland
mhiland

I don't understand why we keep having the same discussion everyday: Is the Apple XYZ a business device? RIM continues to serve business people because that is their primary objective and target audience. End of story. Apple and Google produce consumer devices. End of story. Almost... If developers can create apps that are useful to business users, then there are business applications for the device - but this is a result of the development community and NOT a result of Apple's or Google's strategy. If no one developed an app for either the Blackberry or iPhone, Blackberry's would be business devices and iPhones would be cool phones that get crappy reception. Can't wait to have this same discussion about the iPad v. HP Slate....

Bob Raffo
Bob Raffo

Jason - I believe the market is cost driven. For organizations that have made large investments in deep/complex system integration, changing platforms is cost prohibitive. For organizations (especially SMB) looking for lower cost mobile messaging - why spend money on the BES infrastructure? I'm not sure where the stats come from that show RIM gaining ground, but I don't see that in the SMB market. If anything - I see SMB turning to iPhone - if MS got their act together they could win big. As far as voice to mobile goes - most voice systems have a call forwarding (or follow me feature) and companies that can't afford a system that can do that - probably don't care. Oh BTW - I have a windows mobile device and run Skype for WiFi calls - I can call forward my biz line to my Skype number - low cost and very easy.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

They want iPhones because they are cool, not because they are useful. Hopefully we'll see RIM design a more modern interface soon.

JCitizen
JCitizen

to typo it when you are thinking "hippo" everytime you write it! HA! :D

Alfred DeRose | Tego Interactive
Alfred DeRose | Tego Interactive

To answer your question, I'm a former Blackberry user now on iPhone for both personal and work use. If I were to guess, I'd say Jason is maybe a Blackberry user. Is this what you were getting at? If you were suggesting some bias, I don't think my comments were pro-Apple at all but rather neutral and hopefully logical. I've posted an article on why I feel this way. If your interested, feel free to check it out (http://tegointeractive.com/2010-04/417/does-apple-need-iphone-in-the-enterprise/) but this is the bulk of it. In short, I don't think Apple loses (much) by not owning the enterprise market and therefore doesn't care (much). Here is why.. Integrated devices are what mobile operators call those devices that incorporate functionality other than voice and text messaging - what most of us refer to as smartphones. In a recent Q1 2010 earnings call, Rick Lindner, AT&T CFO called ID users "high quality customers". Why? Overall, ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) was up nearly 4% in the quarter for AT&T, driven mostly by an increase in data plan usage. That's significant. More importantly however is that ID users generate an average ARPU of $90 - an amazing 1.7 times that of standard customers. Understand that only 50% of AT&T's post-paid customers currently have data plans and you begin to see that why operators want iPhones and other smartphones on their networks. This particular group of users can impact mobile operator bottom lines in a significant way, especially when coupled with a two year service commitment. Since ID users in general are so attractive for operators, the question of iPhone or Blackberry from an operator point of view is neutral at best. In fact I would say from a raw profit perspective, the iPhone is a strong favorite because there is no longer any revenue sharing agreement with Apple. Despite RIM's take, operators would however suffer by not offering Blackberry since the Enterprise segment is very important. Apple doesn't comment publicly on this, though it is suspected that contrary to the Mac side of the business, they make more money on iPhone app sales than on hardware sales. In other words, the margin on the iPhone hardware is less than the revenue generated through purchases from iTunes and the App Store over the life of the iPhone. Now couple that with the introduction of iAd and the revenue that will be generated through in-app ad sales. Apple would make little if anything on Apps or ads in the enterprise since most companies restrict the employee's ability to make unauthorized purchases on their phones. So, no premium SMS voting for your favorite American Idol (or for our international audience, Superstar). No apps. And no App and ad revenue. Now if Apple were to roll out strong enterprise support coupled with premium services (a la RIM) that companies could justify paying for, this might change. For now, I just don't see Apple's motivation to push the iPhone into the enterprise.

MrRich
MrRich

Trackpad is out now. Works much better than the trackball. Also browser speed is improved. Browser on my curve almost as painful as webTV.

18th Letter
18th Letter

I agree guys. We use Lotus Notes and push email contacts and calendars to the iphone just like exchange. We can set policies on the phone and even perform a remote wipe if needed. They are so easy to setup and get going. In addition to that, for customers that use RDP or Citrix, the iphone is BOSS. Citrix is absolutly amazing on the device and continues to get better.

alexisgarcia72
alexisgarcia72

BES 4.17 and BES 5.0 now allow RICH TEXT in email. Now you can check your emails in the BB with colors, images, tables, etc. If you have the new BOLD 9700, you can even use flags colors and the follow up folders in Outlook to keep track of important messages. Wireless enterprise activation has been improved and the wireless setting backups works like never before. This means you can wipe your device, make an enterprise activation and your BB will be up and working (with all the old settings) in 5 minutes. Is amazing.

stuartg
stuartg

For businesses large enough to have an IT department, the blackberry wins every time. It's not about cost. You don't have to utilize the more expensive features if you don't want to. It's about security. The day apple comes up with security that parallels Blackberry, then I'll make the switch. Many businesses have to concern themselves with security first and bells & whistles second.

gordopth
gordopth

Had BES in the enterprise. All handsets came up for renewal with my Telco and switching the fleet to iPhones was a no brainer. Everything is easier - it just works. Works better as a phone too. Cheaper to run - released a server and that SAN space (small win). Users are hugely enthusiastic. Blackberry need to deliver 3D video comms to win me back.

TheProfessorDan
TheProfessorDan

Apple's focus has never been to be a dominant force in the enterprise. They have always targeted the consumer market.

tbostwick
tbostwick

Good points for/against BB. IMHO -BB wins because of what Jason points out, and the fact that cost isn't a factor when it comes to having devices that simply work out of the box. "IF" one has to go to Android training or learn how to make Gmail integrate within a corporate setting, then it defeats the purpose of that form of integration. The cost of BB for SMB and most any other size is extremely competitive and well worth even meager amounts of cost differentials, when it comes to less headaches and integration logjams and dataflow backlogs. The BB is simple, secure, and runs anywhere in the world (nice tether mode too) and the best keyboard in the business (something Droid and iPhone still haven't grasped). If you're a programmer or have someone savvy on-staff, they're also "highly" customizable, far beyond out-of-box quality. Until iPhone is "out" of AT&T's coverage court (into Verizon) it can't be taken as a serious business smartphone - which is why AT&T backed out of it's slam back against AT&T (btw - iPhone IS coming to Verizon - a HUGE blow to AT&T)

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

Because of this, my bank is buying all Blackberries from now on.

Timbo Zimbabwe
Timbo Zimbabwe

At my company, we are having something of a push for other phones. The Blackberry phone is OK for calls and some messaging, but app support and the high cost of licensing is turning us away from RIM....

mel897
mel897

I would say no... its a short-sighted approach. Security is of paramount importance in the enterprise. The cost of security breaches could outstrip the costs of implementing a secure infrastructure by orders of magnitude.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

I haven't tried the latest version, but when I tried it, I hated it. It's too late for the Storm, I'll never trust it...I guess it seems the touch screens haven't gotten better.... Well, BB better get their stuff together or they are going to be in deep trouble if google decides to push for business androids.

alexisgarcia72
alexisgarcia72

So far the BB Touch is not working well. I see lot of users complaining about BB touch. I don't like it.

Tony1044
Tony1044

And version 5.0 of the OS flies by comparison - not sure if actually _is_ faster, but it feels it. And looks much prettier too - nothing major, just a tidy up of several things and a general polish to the look and feel. Jury is out on the trackpad - so far I hear it's much more reliable than the balls (hard not to be). And I do quite like the trackpads I've had a god on in use, though, I must admit.

Tony1044
Tony1044

BES Express is now free for up to 10000 devices now. The main limitations on the free version are: No Over The Air (OTA) activation - easily done with a web portal though; No VoIP support. On the plus side though, it works with BIS accounts, so there's no requirement for the expensive BES plan (at least in the UK these data plans were always expensive). I always thought that the BIS implementation was a bit of a halfway house to be honest - I mean why have a device that is designed around being a mobile office (from a calendar and contact perspective - I fully realise you wouldn't want to use one for lengthy documents, or even emails) and then cripple the contacts and calendar aspect of it? And yes, I think the reliance on Exchange or Notes is a bit of a limiter too in some respects, but to be honest Exchange is the most widely adopted corporate messaging system with a 65% market share as of 2009. I don't have figures for Notes, but between them they probably account for a pretty big share? And even though RIM seem to have made a couple of half-a**ed attempts at pusing into the domestic market, they seem content with staying at the top of the corporate ladder, so why integrate easily into other mail systems? In terms of iPhone - I had a first generation device when they launched in the UK and it was the limitations that put me off them - no activesynch, not being able to forward a message or search for a contact were just three of them, although I concede these issues are long since fixed. At the end of the day, I'd personally love a BlackBerry OS on an iPhone handset - to me, that would be nervana. :)

jk2001
jk2001

Thanks for the info. It was a few months too late for us here at this micro-office. We went with iPhone, but still have a few Blackberries. At least this gives us some flexibility. Even so, the administration overhead of the iPhone is zero or close to it in my experience. So there's not much buyer's remorse. It's just if the freebie were available last year, our users would have had better choices. As it was, we were looking at BB+AstraSync, or iPhone, or Samsung Blackjack (which we had several of before). BES was too expensive, and trying to get a deal when you're buying five licenses is a joke. BB has a lot of legacy lock-in if you write software for BB. If not, then, the consumer phones are cheaper, and look like a better deal long-term, because you can allow staff to buy very cheap apps.

Darren B - KC
Darren B - KC

I've been managing RIM devices with our Exchange server (2003 then 2007) for over 3 years and I've had virtually zero problems. At the worst, I have a user that occasionally gets a bunch of duplicate messages in his Outlook inbox, which I think has something to do with his Blackberry, but I haven't been able to nail down the source of the problem yet. Other than that, I hear so few complaints from our Blackberry users that I sometimes forget we even have them. (By contrast, I've yet to get a single iPhone to even CONNECT to our Exchange server let alone actually get mail from it.)

alexisgarcia72
alexisgarcia72

The BB Sync infrastructure is just amazing. Not only you have a trouble free / smart conflict sync wireless application, but a full transparent backup. As I say, you can switch to a new blackberry and perform an enterprise activation. This not only activate your BB to work with your corporate email, but your device will receive the same exactly setup of the old one. Again, is AMAZING

tbostwick
tbostwick

If you're "still" running WinMobile anything forget about it - use GoogleSync or other BB apps that allow for coporate Sync, incl. BB Enterprise Xchange and you're set. GoogleSync can handle any corporate issue, and setup is out of box once tiny app is loaded. No firewall, no network protocols, no ease of use, no intuitiveness - BB has LONG since left WinXXX on smartphones in the dust, incl. syncing with MS Exchange across all levels.

travis.duffy
travis.duffy

If set up properly, it is not a breach. A bes admin account is created with principle of least privelage. It is given only Exchange permissions needed to function. How is that less secure than putting an Exchange edge transport server(AKA a windows box) in a DMZ for the whole world to see with access back into your exchange infrastructure??

travis.duffy
travis.duffy

whoever was in charge of your BES server didn't know what they were doing. Been running BES for over 5 years and never had any issues with it. As far as their mail client goes... I don't care if it looks pretty. I just want it to work. And that's what it does.

alexisgarcia72
alexisgarcia72

I manage the BB infrastructure in our company since 2004 and worked with PALM, Windows CE devices, etc. I can confirm there is nothing like a BB wireless sync. Users sync tasks, memos, notes, calendars, etc via wireless. They can be working miles away and everything is keeping synchronized. They can lost the BB and I via BES can wipe and lock the devices. They remotely can purchase another device, perform a wireless enterprise activation and the BB phone is configured like magic. Not only the calendar, notes, etc are in sync and loaded, but the phone loads every single settings from font, backgrounds, bookmarks, sms settings, profiles, sounds, etc. Is JUST AMAZING. You cannot do that with activesync!!!

pjaneiro
pjaneiro

>>Blackberry comes into play when the company has Exchange and wants decent calendar synchronization Not quite, anyone noticed the amount of patches they put out ? Anyone here ever had the doubling tripppling effect ? or better yet, the non existent tasks ? or my personnal favorite "hey, what happened to my contacts ?" everywhere I worked there have been people only swearing by blackberries and then, pouf ! something went something that made them crave my winmo devive, also if blackberry could at least refrech their mail client to look somewhat that it's made in the 2010's would be nice

pjaneiro
pjaneiro

One of the reason why we refused blackberries is the fact you need additonnal hardware and software for something that activesync already does...and better might i add, also you need to create a link between the messaging server AND the BES and as for security you have your breach right there.

RosaNegra
RosaNegra

AS the IT Admin for a SMB with an Exhange Server, we have welcomed the Express version (read FREE)of Blackberry's Enterprise Server - it can be be used for 1000s of users, way more than the >50 employees we have.

MrRich
MrRich

First of all I've never met a business that fit into the 'SMB' moniker, but that aside... I think its true that consumer driven plays will make greater inroads in SMB. But that's greatly because smaller cos don't have deep IT expertise on staff. As far as cost is concerned, the main cost issue has been BES. But small businesses don't have Exchange anyway and mostly use the consumer driven internet email service anyhow. Blackberry comes into play when the company has Exchange and wants decent calendar synchronization. Then there is security, no body does security like Blackberry. Even back in the internet 1.0 days email was delivered over an encrypted connection. From what I read Apple still doesn't have that right. When compliance comes into play, Blackberry is the only game in town.

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