agraham wrote:I don't understand this comment. What "network" does RIM have?
They have the BES enterprise software framework. Which, among other things, provides for centralized management of the phones, encrypted tunnels to corporate resources (with trustworthy devices and processes throughout the entire chain!), email and IM retention, and, of significant importance to the corporate/government customers who use the BlackBerry -- everything that is done on BlackBerries can be logged and retained for as long as the corporation requires, per law, per the auditors, per legal processes, per Sarbanes Oxley
An equivalent framework simply does not exist in the Android/Apple platforms, and such is by design. The (relative) open-ness of Android and iOS means that these features, important in the enterprise context do not, and cannot (absent a major re-architecting of Android/iOS) exist on them.
I don't understand what RIM actually sells. I understand they have a special Outlook server plugin that pushes email to their phones immediately. My Apple iPhone is connected to the Outlook server at work and mail is pushed to the iPhone within a second of it arriving - even my desktop Outlook client takes longer.
broader than that though. Also the BES software (or the equivalent provided for non-enterprise customers by carriers) compresses attachments in such a way to make them suitable for display in the mobile format. An advertising exec might receive a 200 megabyte .pdf file in his email from a correspondent. The BES platform compresses that 200mb .pdf, re-rendering it into a format that can be handled quickly and efficiently over the wireless circuits, as well as rendered on the device's screen without burning a ton of battery power or overwhelming the CPU. When the exec returns to his office with a fast network, the 200mb .pdf comes back to life. I guess a fancy IMAP server could do the same though, but I'm not aware of any standard being available (and certainly there would be patent issues as RIM has patents for the whole idea of adaptive compression for mobile devices...).
I imagine an Android phone could do the same thing unless there are patent issues holding it back.
So ISTM like RIM has a line of average phones with average operating systems, a weak app ecosystem, a non-existant media market, and an unnecessary expensive server stack.
The server stack, quite frankly, is
the BlackBerry product that most of its loyal customers rely
upon the BlackBerry to deliver. Hardly 'unnecessary'. BlackBerry without the server stack is pretty much useless.
What am I missing?
Since the iPhone can run any app I can imagine and make, it does everything I want. It is a device that does *everything I want*.
It might do everything *you* want, but its very insecure, and heaven help you if you lose your iPhone. Also iPhones are not locked to centralized infrastructure which can be monitored, for various compliance reasons. iPhones are great consumer devices, but awful things for the enterprise/business/government environment.
So here's my question. If we said, just for the sake of argument, that RIM phones were and always would be comparative garbage and almost no one would ever want one - what would the company be worth?
I have no idea, but I don't believe RIM will be selling/making phones 5 years from now. They probably will be selling a BlackBerry OS that can be flashed as firmware into commodity/cheap Android hardware, as well as the server software that makes it all possible, and most importantly, auditable and secure.
Androids, iOS, etc., are a nightmare for the enterprise, but a lot of the younger people don't have an appreciation of the back-end sorts of things that go on with the BlackBerry phones. That's why we get a lot of very ignorant and derogatory comments out there concerning the BlackBerry, concerning businesses requiring their use, etc.
In bandwidth-constrained emerging markets, the BlackBerry with the back-end bandwidth conservation framework has also delivered smartphone service price points that are unheard of with other devices. Even domestically, a very attractive feature of the BlackBerry phones is that carriers are able to generally offer them at fixed monthly rates given their relatively low data use. Lots of families don't feel comfortable handing their kids an Android or iPhone that can rack up $200+ of data charges if the kid watches a lot of online videos, or receives a bunch of large emails.