Bowing to market reality and emphasizing its strength in enterprise messaging, BlackBerry (Nasdaq: RIMM; Toronto: RIM) is rolling out an application that enables it to manage corporate communication across multiple platforms, including the iOS, Android, and its own BlackBerry system. In effect, RIM becomes not simply a competitor but also a supporter and enabler of Apple and Android device makers like Motorola Mobility and Samsung.
RIM said its BlackBerry Mobile Fusion software offers businesses and governments a tested solution to growing concerns about the security of the varying operating systems that officials and employees have been using to access messaging systems. Alan Panezic, vice president of enterprise product management and marketing at RIM, said in a press release:
For businesses and government, managing a mix of mobile devices on any scale is chaotic. Organizations face pressure to allow employees to bring their own devices into the workplace, and they are looking to RIM as the global leader in the enterprise mobility space to solve that problem. BlackBerry Mobile Fusion allows organizations to manage a mixed environment of devices in the most secure, simple, and cost efficient manner possible. It also means that businesses and government do not have to move to the lowest common denominator on security for all the devices they need to manage.
By introducing a program to manage enterprise messaging, RIM is trying to relieve competing device makers of the stress of having to develop and introduce an equally secured communication management system. The company may have also improved its odds of surviving the challenges it faces, since it is a well-recognized and credible provider of enterprise messaging management services.
Will this be enough? The answer will depend on whether Apple and Android device makers embrace RIM's Mobile Fusion (they would be silly not to) and whether RIM can figure out the pricing mechanism to make the service attractive to competing mobile equipment manufacturers, enterprises, and government institutions.
Of course, BlackBerry phone sales might decrease in the years ahead, and RIM would have to make its operations leaner to survive. With this move, it buys some time to get its hardware strategy right while digging in on the enterprise messaging side, where it is the acknowledged leader (though one its rivals has set their sights on this field).
BlackBerry Mobile Fusion could help RIM deflect the competition's aim long enough to give itself another shot at becoming relevant again.