Congratulations to Rob for winning our Weekend Contest which asked our readers their opinion on how Microsoft’s fray into push-email may affect RIM’s future. The reader opinions were split in half, one side saying that Microsoft will play a huge factor and will most likely grab majority of the market share in the future whereas the other half didn’t see Microsoft as much of a threat. Rob made some very good points regarding how Microsoft may have issues grabbing market share from RIM,
RIM has a much better chance to win than Netscape.
First, there is a much higher cost of switching back-end server software infrastructure than there is a desktop client. RIMâ€™s current customers know that their solution works very well, and the amount of disruption to switch will be significant. You need to consider the total cost of the solution. Just because MSFT is providing the back-end software for free, there are huge costs to retraining, ongoing maintenance, new devices, security certification, user support etc. that argue strongly against swapping out key pieces of your infrastructure that are already working well.
Second, the whole Windows Mobile ecosystem is a joke right now. The handsets and devices to date have been less than enthralling. ActiveSync is one of the buggiest pieces of MSFT software there is. There is a lot of catching up to do here.
Third, the carriers are quietly afraid of MSFT gaining too much influence. They have seen their anti-competitve behavior, their moves into Internet Services, VOIP, etc. They donâ€™t necessarily want to see MSFT controlling standards or other elements of the wireless data space where they hope to make a lot of their money going forward.
Finally, RIMâ€™s got a pretty big lead in terms of installed base that needs to be replaced, both on the software and user side? Is anyone enamored of the idea of chucking their new 7100 or 8700 for and paying for a new Windows mobile device? Do you htink your carrier or your company is going to do that for free?
As long as RIM continues to innovate on the software and device side and maintains their good relationships with carriers, I do not see them losing their lead.
For his trouble, Rob gets a free copy of Content Beamer which allows printing directly from your Blackberry.