The iPhone is surely the most anticipated cell phone ever, and will most likely go on to sell quite a few copies. It then makes sense to ask if RIM should consider making a BlackBerry email client for the iPhone (assuming Apple would allow that).
First, the advantage: RIM could gain incremental revenue from the sale of the software and the service to many of those iPhone users. One question is how many iPhone users will see push email as a priority. As analyst Robert Semple from Credit Suisse writes, â€œWe do not believe the iPhone is aimed at smart phones, rather, it is designed to expand the high end of the traditional mobile phone market.â€
I tend to agree: most of the people purchasing the iPhone will be doing so to gain the best multimedia wireless device on the market, not as a power email tool. That doesnâ€™t mean that iPhone consumers wouldnâ€™t like to have the BlackBerry email system, but that all of the other bells and whistles on the device will overshadow the email application. I believe that if a BlackBerry client were to succeed, it would have to be offered as a pre-installed application on the device.
The disadvantage is lost hardware sales. There is a subset of people who would purchase the iPhone if it had the BlackBerry email system, but instead will stick to purchasing BlackBerryâ€™s. There is another subset of people who will own 2 devices: the iPhone for its fun features and also the BlackBerry for email, but who would purchase only the iPhone if the BlackBerry email application were available on the iPhone. With these customers RIM would lose hardware sales but gain software sales. The only problem is that RIM makes most if its money from hardware sales.