RIM CEO, Thorsten Heins, said that while RIM isn’t going to ignore personal smartphone customers, it was going to put an emphasis on its business clientele, but those clients are dumping RIM’s BlackBerry at alarming levels and when RIM finally does launch its new BlackBerry 10 devices sometime in the first three months of next year, they may not have many customers left to woo.
We’ve already seen non-government companies like Clorox make the shift to iPhones and Android devices and even Yahoo! has decided to dump their dated phones, as the new CEO, Marissa Mayer, wants her employees to use phones that their customers are using, so they can build their products better. But private companies, while great for RIM, haven’t been as crucial as government agencies. RIM had a lock on many agencies due to their great security and encryption software, but Apple and Android have caught up and are now on equal footing with BlackBerry, so much so, that we’ve seen agencies like NOAA, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and a few others, switch from BlackBerrys to iPhones. The latest of which is ICE, or the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, according to Reuters, ICE officials are looking to spend $2.1 million to make the switch from RIM’s BlackBerry to Apple’s iPhone, in total, about 17,600 employees will be outfitted with new iPhones. To the chagrin of many Android fans, who love their open source OS, it was Apple’s curated and tightly controlled environment that made ICE choose the iPhone over Android. “The iPhone services will allow these individuals to leverage reliable, mobile technology on a secure and manageable platform in furtherance of the agency’s mission,” said the ICE.
With another government agency gone and many other major companies ditching RIM’s outdated BlackBerry OS, it’s going to be almost impossible for RIM to court these companies back, if at all, with BlackBerry 10, which is an unproven OS that has failed to launch for over a year, especially after many of them have just spent millions to leave.
So who’s going to be left to Beta test BlackBerry 10 when it finally makes its way to the market sometime early next year? Even Windows Phone 8 is launching before the holidays… call me a pessimist, but things look grim for RIM.