This isn't the last act for the BlackBerry, but it's awful hard to not see that day coming up on the horizon. Dell already moved to switch their 25,000 employees from RIM products to their own device, and now Reuters reports that a number of banks are beginning to look towards alternatives.
Bank of America and Citigroup are both looking at ways to make the iPhone secure enough to use. Now that Apple has pulled ahead of RIM in the US market, the once-mighty manufacturer is starting to look a bit like a wounded gazelle.
J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. are also testing the iPhone as a BlackBerry replacement, as are Procter & Gamble and General Electric. You don't have to look far to find predictions of doom for the once mighty enterprise smartphone. What the heck is going wrong?
For one thing, RIM was way behind the curve when it came time to adapt to full touchscreen devices. RIM's first few attempts to make direct competitors to the popular (and more social) iPhone and Android devices have been disastrous. BlackBerry OS is only now starting to look like something other than a relic from the past.
Any company that goes with RIM knows they are locking themselves in to an app store that barely breaks 10,000. Meanwhile, the iOS App Store has over 300,000 applications. Android may have some security issues, but the wider selection of enticing phones and the ability to multitask with (on the whole) more powerful devices makes it a worthwhile trade for many. Meanwhile, iOS is easy-to-use, popular and growing more secure every day.
The PlayBook is a good step, but RIM has yet to actually put hardware on the table. Even if it sells well, the PlayBook will still be one more example of RIM reacting rather than innovating. Honestly, it all boils down to this: if RIM wants to stay at the top of the pile, they need to prove they deserve to be there. And that means bringing something new to the table, rather than waiting to see what Apple and Google do next.