RIM's dual challenge: Build quality smartphones while boosting management software

BlackBerry 10 devices, delayed until 2013, will build on Mobile Fusion for managing devices, RIM exec says

By , Computerworld |  Consumerization of IT, BlackBerry, RIM

Still, RIM CEO Thorsten Heins defended RIM on Tuesday, telling a Canadian radio audience that RIM is not in a "death spiral" even though its stock fell 19% last Friday on the earnings news. Heins' comments might have helped, since the RIM stock price bumped up 4.2% to $7.66 at 1 p.m. ET on Thursday from its close on Tuesday for the July 4 holiday.

"The transition we're going through is tough, as Thorsten has stated, but we've never seen a company as committed to going through transition as what we see here at RIM," Devenyi said. "It's nice to do [the transition] with $2.2 billion of cash and no debt and a growing customer base which remains number one in many countries." He said there are currently 78 million BlackBerry devices and 250,000 BES servers in use globally.

RIM remains committed to BlackBerry 10, but Devenyi admitted that a variety of other strategies for growth are being investigated. "A number of strategic opportunities are being looked into, and we will continue to do that, and yet our firm commitment is to drive forward with our next generation mobile computing platform, the nucleus of which is BlackBerry 10," he said.

He did clarify, however, that "we don't believe it's in RIM's best interest or that of the shareholders to be dependent on a third party OS." Some analysts have speculated that RIM might want to use the Windows Phone or Android OS on future BlackBerry smartphones.

Devenyi did not comment on other strategic options that have been raised, including the possible licensing of the BlackBerry OS to other smartphone manufacturers or licensing or selling the RIM network operations center and network to other smartphone makers to use to secure their smartphones.

Devenyi arrived at RIM, based in Waterloo, Ontario, in 2005 and has major responsibility for research and development for RIM's enterprise software portfolio, including BES and other capabilities. He conceded that RIM could better publicize to its enterprise customers some of those capabilities, such as BlackBerry Mobile Fusion and BlackBerry Balance.

Blackberry Mobile Fusion, device management software that RIM introduced last November, was expanded in April to help IT shops provide the security used in BlackBerry devices to iOS and Android tablets and smartphones, Devenyi said.

RIM always offered 256-bit encryption for BlackBerry devices. With Mobile Fusion, the difference is that the encrypted data runs over Microsoft ActiveSync management software, and not over RIM's proprietary mobile device management software, Devenyi explained.


Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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