RIM’s Blackberry has long since been an established player in the enterprise market, in fact, has without doubt been the stronghold of the corporate world for many years. Favored as the smartphone of choice for professionals, it has had little real competition and has built its company upon this loyalty. However, nothing stands still, especially in the world of technology. Let’s look at whether two strong players in the smartphone market are making any inroads and posing any notable competition for Blackberry. Are Apple and Google genuine threats to Blackberry’s stronghold on the enterprise market?
Blackberry, famed for its robust security and data management features and dominating the enterprise sector at all levels from small business to large corporations, including the Government and Public sectors, until quite recently. Then just a few short years ago, enter a number of alternative mobile platforms like Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android and suddenly the picture looks very different and the grip is loosened significantly.
Companies want to move with the times and it seems that for some, Blackberry has failed to keep up. Also, cost has been a big issue; as has consumer/worker preference, with some businesses migrating their whole workforce to the more popular iPhones and Androids that their staff prefer for personal use and wish to be able to use at work, too. For some businesses, allowing employees to use their own smartphones for work has substantially cut operating costs too and as we know, Google is leading the way in the smartphone arena currently and with much cheaper alternatives.
The latest OS offering from Android has received some criticism, described as “not as refined as it needs to be for the enterprise market”. Android is apps-centric where Blackberry is business-centric. Judging by current sales, Blackberry is not under any major threat currently from either Android or iPhone. But this is such a fluid market that is can only be a matter of time before both make real inroads into the enterprise market.
Personally, I think that Blackberry has corporate loyalty and will have for the foreseeable future. Corporates still demand powerful enterprise tools which RIM provides and does well and this area may be one where Apple and Google will still struggle, at least in the short term. The battle is interesting theatre for anyone in the smartphone market. It is important for those in mobile marketing to watch carefully how Apple and Google play this one out, as mobile marketers need to know what their target audience is buying and why.