Goodbye BlackBerry: Future Belongs to iPhone

The Apple iPhone changed the mobile game in less than three years. Apple continues to make improvements that resonate with consumers, who are gaining more control over technology in the enterprise. I've seen nothing from RIM that shows it can reverse this tide.

Wed, May 12, 2010

CIO — Bye-bye, BlackBerry. Future of Wireless Logo

Thanks for bringing mobility to the masses, but the future belongs to the iPhone. There are many reasons for this but perhaps the most compelling is, at the heart of Canadian company Research in Motion's (RIM) (RIM) culture lies an antiquated mobile technology: paging.

images of Apple (<a title=AAPL) iPhone 3GS and RIM BlackBerry Bold 9000" />
Apple iPhone 3GS and RIM BlackBerry Bold 9000

So no matter how many Bolds, Curves, Pearls and Storms that RIM drums up—why so many?—the iPhone-like smartphone is simply not in RIM's DNA. Let's face it, RIM's phones are needlessly complex for end users, and RIM's app store looks like a Quik Mart compared to Apple's nearly 200,000-apps App Store.

[ Read what's Al Sacco has to say about the Blackberry's staying power — and why there's room for both RIM and Apple in enterprise IT ]

Another nail in BlackBerry's coffin comes courtesy of consumers. While IT departments love the BlackBerry for its security measures and manageability, the power is shifting in favor of consumers. Macs and iPhones are clearly riding this trend deeper into the enterprise. Heck, the iPhone arguably ignited this consumer-driven tech trend.

[ The iPhone is winning over the tech crowd and displacing BlackBerrys at Special Devices, reports ]

Just look at the early adopters of the iPhone in the enterprise. Executives gave up their CrackBerry addiction for sleek, easy-to-use iPhones running consumer apps such as iPod, Facebook, travel apps, foreign-language voice-to-voice translation apps, and, especially relevant to executives, golf apps like Golfshot GPS. iPhones have been trickling down org charts ever since.

But don't take my word for it, check the numbers. It's the tale of two companies. RIM's stock price today is around $70-a-share, nearly the same as it was a year ago. In the same time period, Apple stock has steadily soared from $120 last year to $260 today. The Silicon Valley company continues to be a Wall Street darling. In the world of technology and innovation, if you're not flying, you're falling.

Much of Apple's success is due to the storied three-year-old iPhone. In the most recent quarter, Apple sold 8.75 million iPhones, a 131 percent increase over the same quarter last year. The big quarter also topped the record-setting fourth quarter last year. Tim Cook, Apple's chief operating officer, has called the iPhone growth rate "staggering." A new iPhone and iPhone OS 4.0 are expected to hit the streets this summer.

BlackBerry: A Cultural Conundrum

The first BlackBerry, released in 1999, was really just a glorified pager. BlackBerry's greatest user innovations were a hardware keyboard and a trackball. Little has changed despite new RIM offerings to rival the iPhone. RIM continues to tout secure text and e-mail messaging as the killer feature.

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