Gloomy Outlook for Future of BlackBerry

RIM has suffered a number of setbacks, and its brand reputation and market share have been rapidly eroding. According to a new survey from Enterprise Management Associates (EMA), that trend is going to continue--and possibly even accelerate.

The EMA study includes results from two separate surveys. The first targeted mobile device end users who indicated regular use of a smartphone or tablet for business. The second survey was of IT managers responsible for supporting mobile devices, aimed at those organizations rely heavily on mobile computing and communications.

The iconic BlackBerry is fading quickly into mobile irrelevance.
EMA found that 52 percent of mobile users in large enterprises (10,000 or more users) depend on BlackBerry now. Unfortunately for RIM, 30 percent of those users expect to migrate to some other mobile platform within the next year.

Both IT managers and end users are looking primarily at Android and iOS as alternative smartphone and tablet platforms. "We expected to see some market share loss by RIM, but these results were far more dramatic than we could have anticipated," reported Steve Brasen, EMA Managing Research Director.

Only 16 percent of survey respondents reported being completely satisfied with BlackBerry compared to 44 percent of iPhone users. As if the survey results aren't gloomy enough on their own, this data was collected prior to the massive outage experienced by BlackBerry users last week. That outage has fueled discontent among BlackBerry customers that will most likely lead to even greater market share losses for RIM.

It's not exactly a revelation that RIM seems to be spiraling to its death, so this survey isn't all that shocking. As bad as things look, though, and as much as many customers might love to jump ship and switch mobile platforms, many companies have built their mobile and messaging infrastructure around BlackBerry. Switching is a much more involved process than just buying a different smartphone on a whim.

It is still bad news for the diehard BlackBerry loyalists, though. RIM is courting developers in an attempt to build a more robust app ecosystem, but developers tend to focus on the platforms with the largest audience. Developers are much more likely to focus on iOS and Android apps than they are to invest time and effort creating apps for a mobile platform that seems to be dropping like a rock.

The good news is that RIM hasn't thrown in the towel…yet. It announced BBX--a hybrid of the BlackBerry 7 smartphone OS and the QNX tablet OS merged to create a unified mobile experience--at a developers conference this week.

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.

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