How will iPhone 3G hurt RIM? (Weekly Contest)


After seeing Gizmodo’s video of MobileMe’s push e-mail in action, we definitely got a little spooked as to how much of a dent the iPhone 3G could put into BlackBerry. If you take into account Exchange support, aggressive marketing, developer love through the new iTunes app store, it’s pretty much impossible to keep pretending that the iPhone and BlackBerry are mutually exclusive. The only real question left is where will the iPhone hit hardest? The easy answer is the consumer market, but there’s lots of room for enterprise to start adopting. RIM still has mad seniority, and the BlackBerry Bold will easily match the iPhone 3G feature point for feature point - will that be enough for RIM to maintain smartphone dominance, or is Apple going to start getting a bigger a slice of the pie? Drop a comment with the best damage assessment and get not only an extra-spiffy BlackBerry Cool T-Shirt, but also a year of SugarSync - let’s just hope they don’t make an iPhone app anytime soon.

Last week’s winner was Bill, who wants to show his BlackBerry Nation pride by making a new calendar system.

“I know I am not alone (welcome all) I think are addicted to these devices, the technology, and the lifestyle they have help us develop should start referring to events “Before Blackberry” as BB. Example: I was born in 1966 or 31 BB. The modern Blackberry was released in 2002 and might be considered the “Rebirth” by some as push-email,messaging,web browsing, etc. were incorporated. We might refer to this rebirth as “RB” (OK…not that creative…. I need some help here!!!).”

Good stuff, Bill! I’ll definitely be celebrating the new year as 21 AB (After BlackBerry). We’ll be shipping you over a BlackBerry Cool shirt and a copy of Texas Hold’Em King 3: Connected! Thanks everybody who entered, and we hope to see you again this week!

25 Responses to “How will iPhone 3G hurt RIM? (Weekly Contest)”

  1. 1 joseph steig

    The MobileMe functionality, allowing over the air sync of contacts and calendar, even to and from a Windows machine, is killer. BlackBerry Unite is the closest RIM comes to this idea but it’s years out of date because data has to exist on your own dedicated computer rather than in the “cloud”. MobileMe is needed functionality for small business and sole proprietors who don’t want to and can’t afford the overhead of Exchange+BIS or the headaches or even the headaches and cost of an outsourced, hosted solution. RIM ignores that market at its peril. (And I’ve tried to set up Unite but just can’t get the thing to work. The MS Explorer start-up window just won’t load.)

  2. 2 Steve

    Just wanted to ask (and please note that I am a current Blackberry user), how can Blackberry Bold be said to match the iPhone “feature for feature” when there seems to be no comparison in terms of screen real estate? Am I missing something here? Just looking at the photos I’ve seen and comparing them with what I have on my iPod Touch (which is basically the same as the iPhone), there really is no comparison. Maybe you can say that isn’t truly important but I disagree.

    Just wondering…

  3. 3 Joel

    While the press continues to go crazy over the iPhone, the device won’t see widespread use until it is available from more than one company. I have too much invested in Verizon to even consider getting the device. I believe that this is also true for many BlackBerry owners.

  4. 4 Mike

    Yes the iPhone has had plenty of press and people lining up for hours, but sit yourself down in any upscale watering hole and all you will see are BlackBerry’s vibrating away on the Bar. BlackBerry doesn’t need publicity stunts and hype, they just keep chugging along producing high quality products that we anxiously await each year. I am on my 5th and I look forward to taking the 9500 Thunder/Storm for a ride.

  5. 5 Jorge Gutiérrez

    where will the iPhone hit hardest? Of course in the enterprise adoption. No more BES needed, which means a lot in terms of licensing per unit. “Free” exchange sync (meaning, no extra investment in a server and licensing and administration costs, etc.) will help make the switch in larger enterprises. I, for one, am thinking about it.

  6. 6 Stac

    Well, as the IT Director for my company, I can say that I’ve fielded calls this morning from about 40% of the users here asking for some help setting up their new 3G iPhones with our Exchange server, and even a few who wanted to know how to set up sync with MobileMe. We’re a financial services company formerly with a large number of ‘berries and WinMo devices and a lot of that changed in one fell swoop today. YMMV, but I can safely say that there is going to be a huge impact, not only in business (I don’t need a BES to support those users) and those using BIS are getting more bang for their buck with the iPhone than they did with their partially OTA-BIS-connected ‘berries.

    To most I spoke to, the killer app is push email (the Blackberry’s forte) and everyone seems very pleased with the way the email is presented to them on a nice big screen and fully and properly formatted HTML messages. Also, a good portion of the folks said that having a full internet browser with the speed of 3G cinched the deal for them. The App store and the many free - excellent location based apps is no small reason they are happy as well.

    Frankly, I’m in favor of what is easiest to support and works reliably, so time will tell… but I know not having to do much except give those folks an IP address to connect to made my job a whole lot easier.

    RIM, I think, underestimated the new kid on the block here… and with the Thunder nothing more than a rumble in the distance, they are going to take this one off the chin.

    Best All,

  7. 7 Dayne

    I don’t care what comes out, when it comes to a professional, EFFICIENT, and VERY well put together messaging device no one on any planet can beat a Blackberry. With the Bold coming in at a more powerful processor, MUCH better looking screen, and HSDPA data, it’s doing nothing but solidifying RIM’s reputation for Enterprise King of the Hill. I use my blackberry for 2 things: Constant contact and web browsing. When I can’t type more than 2 WPM on an on screen PORTRAIT or Landscape keyboard, it’s useless as a messaging device. And with the addition of HSDPA data plus WIFI, GPS, and A REMOVABLE BATTERY, the 9000 is going to be the one to beat for a keyboard smartphone…

  8. 8 Dayne

    @steve, when the only advantage you can pull up is “the screen is bigger”, I think that’s pretty much even don’t you?

  9. 9 Gary

    “…and the BlackBerry Bold will easily match the iPhone 3G feature point for feature point ”

    Um..No. While I think the Bold is a big step for RIM for a better consumer device it still won’t match the iPhone in the multimedia department. The screen is smaller, can’t sync to iTunes, and lack of good games. I haven’t seen the web browser on the bold, but I doubt it is going to be better the the iPhone.

  10. 10 Ed

    The fact iphone is 3g and a touchscreen is game, set, match, and leaves bb in the dust in the consumer segment.

    Blackberry needs to get the Thunder out, and they should come out with a variant on other providers. Clearly, the touchscreen is here to stay.

    And they should stop screwing around with 2g phones — make the javelin a 3g-er.

    They should start to lap apple in the prosumer segment with better quality camera modules and higher res video, something that apple has not beaten them at, yet.
    And I agree with the first poster: they need to have a mobile me-type service with wireless sync for contacts, notes, to dos, and email. And it should come standard with the bberry service. Why fall behind in email services, something that’s been bb’s bread and butter.

    As much as I love bb, the bold really looks second rate compared to the iphone in terms of its feature set.

  11. 11 Jake

    The huge difference in the companies is that Apple’s DNA is computers while Rimm’s Dna is pagers. It’s a heck of alot easier to make a phone with a pager than a computer that also answers the phone. Price was the big issue with iPhone until now. iPhone will rule the consumer markets and get it’s foot in the door with the enterprise and vice versa for Rimm.

  12. 12 Michael K

    As a security technologist for an enterprise with upwards of 10K BB devices deployed on t-mobile and verizon, we (probably) will not abandon a good five+ years of gotchas, pain and eventual success getting BES and Lotus Notes working - for the iPhone or any non-BB, no matter how much I may personally love the idea of being BES-free.

    Every BB owner within the company that I’ve talked to hates the virtual keyboard; and having a camera, while great for the consumer, is a BIG No-No for many enterprises. Cameras are not allowed in many offices as an information leakage risk (Gee, client bank accounts and SSNs on-screen, maybe I’ll take some nice pictures and post ‘em on YouTube!) .

    To summarize: exchange support - not needed. Camera - not allowed. No real keyboard? generally a big thumbs down.

    Personally I have an iPhone, a BB 8830, and a BB 8700G. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses. My opinion is that it’s a HUGE market out there, with plenty of room for multiple players, and that the competition is ultimately a benefit to all, as we get better, more feature-rich (and ultimately cheaper) tools!

  13. 13 Desmond Jones

    I really believe that RIM underestimated Apple on this one. You guys realize that this phone hasn’t been out a year. That’s incredible honestly. This iPhone has completely changed the game. RIM has completely, wholeheartedly relied upon their bread and butter: email. There isn’t really anything wrong with that the process of trying to coexist in the business and consumer world is too slow. Everything is too slow of a process with them. I honestly think they keep pushing back software upgrades because of what they are seeing in the device from Apple. One year and they are breathing on RIMs neck and you guys know it. Iphone has its shortcomings just like any other device but the things it does have are totally better. The browser is insane. Complete sync of all PIM. That’s ridiculous in itself. They had a plan. You guys realize apple has been doing this for thirty years. Took the time marketed and seduced millions. Its not like they giving us a product that doesn’t work it completely does. A lot of blackberry users are always ready to try new devices because they are very plain. My 8700 software is the same as my 8820. No real significant changes except with the body but its basically the same. Give credit where its do.

  14. 14 Andrew

    People are looking at this in the wrong way. Anyone can say the iPhone has this and that, has better features than the BlackBerry but it will NEVER take out RIM. With being in the industry for such a long time, BlackBerry’s have become a standard for communication among corporate users and no feature on the iPhone can change that.

    Simply put, the iPhone IS a media juggernaut, but why a company change from a BlackBerry to an iPhone? It makes no sense to switch from something that is the king of e-mail to a phone with rich media capabilities. In order for the iPhone to be generally accepted into the corporate world, it has to do better than what the BlackBerry is currently good at which is e-mail and ask anyone, RIM’s BES/Push e-mail service is king of the e-mail mountain point, blank, period.

    I see a lot of IT guys come and say, well we’re moving to the iPhone. Which is understandable and confusing at the same time. From most companies I’ve been around, majority of them disable media functionality through IT policies which then makes the iPhone just an e-mail device with a touchscreen, which I might add, doesn’t really sit well with power business users. For that point alone, I don’t see why you would throw away all that money invested into RIM’s technology for a touchscreen device that does the same thing as the BlackBerry. But if you’re a very small company, then I guess this doesn’t apply to you.

    Also, a lot of people are coming in here saying the iPhone is better than BlackBerry and vice versa. That may be true but only based on YOUR needs. Apple = consumers, RIM = business users. Business users don’t want a consumer toy and consumers don’t want a “suits” toy.

    RIM has nothing to worry about. They control about 47% of the smartphone market while Apple has less than 20 (not including 3G, of course that’s going to change the percentages a bit). Comparing subscribers, RIM has 16-18 million users (don’t know if that’s only counting those who subscribed to BIS/BES or subscribers and those who have a BlackBerry w/ no data plan) while Apple is sitting around 3 million and some change. RIM also has an advantage since they release a full range of models low budget, average, high end/consumer/business which appeals to a broader audience where as the iPhone is more what you see is what you get.

    To dominate in the smartphone industry, you have to dominate the business side as that is where most sales are and right now, even with Exchange support, the iPhone isn’t doing anything better than what BlackBerry’s already do for it’s users.

    Sometimes you have to put fanboyism aside and look at the commerce side of things. The iPhone is the BEST media phone out there and the BlackBerry is the king of messaging amongst phones. It’ll be a few years until we see drastic change.

    (Also, how long have investors/analysts been saying RIM’s best days are behind them? RIM’s market share keeps growing and has increased 600% from the last few years, I think RIM is here to stay, don’t you?)

  15. 15 SUGE WHITE

    RIM will loose by a couple of factors. The first is the mobile me. That hits the hardest. The next reason is the “use” of the phone itself. The iphone now has “crossed over” into RIM’s stranglehold on corporate mobile business. The iphone is not only a multimedia phone but a well thought of business entertainment machine…The last is the apps and itunes in general. The way apple has it set up for developers to make money making apps for the iphone is brilliant. The choice of the apps are good if not great and it just started. Once one “major” business starts using the Iphone and it “was” known to use blackberries its RIP for RIM….

  16. 16 David K

    I am the IT Manager for our Canadian region. We started with Blackberry’s as soon they released the GroupWise version of BES. The first models lead the mobile market into the reality that you can get your email through phone, reliably. But they always lacked the lustre of playing music, ring-tones, etc. As Blackberry said, “they are a business phone”. And at the time, that philosphy was fine..but, even when they dominated the market, they fell behind in features. Not just recently, but over the years. And it seems now, they are behind in features once again? I can’t figure out, how a company as Large as RIM, with the research and development budget of a small nation, yet fails to meet the market demand for features. Apples ability to sync with Exchange directly, with out needing an additional server is going to penetrate deeply into Blackberry’s market share. Well, they must have seen this coming, as they haven’t responded with a comparible product even since iPhones first release over a year ago? How can Apple produce a 2nd phone? And a 3G phone before RIM when there just getting into the market? Someone at Blackberry’s marketing department is sleeping…zzzzz

  17. 17 Mike

    Check this out is giving away a 3g iphone. I’m entering and if I win I’ll post the pics of the end of the fight. I promise there will be broken screens and all….

  18. 18 blee

    RIM needs to release some concrete information on their new products one of which is supposed to release VERY soon.. There’s very little concrete information on the device, and this is having a negative impact on early adopters and fans of smartphones..

  19. 19 Jim Catanzarite

    My company has already begun allowing the iPhone on our system. In fact, they are encouraging us to consider it. We have 800 employees eligible for push mail on our system.

    I switched on Friday. The iPhone does what I need it to do very well. I have yet to open the manual and have been able to do everything I wanted to do. It is very intuitive. The iPhone UI makes the Blackberry look like a dinosaur. RIM is going to have to do more than out-feature the iPhone, they’re going to have to improve the look and ease of use of the Blackberry OS. Just because someone is an “Enterprise” user does not mean they are blind or don’t care about ease of use.

    I have been a Blackberry user for 5 years and I don’t think I’m going to miss it much.

    At least as far as my company is concerned, Apple is already hurting RIM.

  20. 20 Barry Braunstein

    iphone is cool and the ecosystem that apple has put into place is impressive. Jobs is a mktg guru -however, let’s look at what the device is used for in the corp mkt - email and other keyboard centric functions. That is the iphone’s achilles heel. In addition, corp road warriors will not be happy with battery life nor the inability to swap out batteries. Cool doesn’t necessarily translate into productivity which is what the corp mkt is about - I’d love to have a device like the iphone for work but the reality is that in it’s current form it doesn’t really meet my needs for on the road productivity

  21. 21 MobileAdmin

    Nice sampling of users and IT types. I have supported mobility for a fortune 100 company for the past 7 years and been with Blackberry sinc it WAS a pager.

    For anyone willing to forgo what BES provides the enterprise clearly has no security requirements as Iphone only has a handful with ActiveSync. We’ve supported Windows Mobile for 3 years and the ratio of users is at least 6 to 1. ActiveSync is just junk and sucks the battery dead. Whomever said there is no cost doesn’t govern the budget as YES Microsoft has a CAL and unless you have the right CAL type you need to pay a seperate CAL for mobile use. T-Support does take a chunk of money and that would be a savings but BES offers a wealth of things you DO NOT get with Iphone and ActiveSync:

    Device Management: IT Policy Control, Asset Management, Usage Reporting

    3 pretty big things when you are supporting thousands of devices .. I guess that doesn’t matter much to a small shop.

    Apple will take a chunk of small business and larger companies who clearly don’t have HPIA,SEC concerns, if anything it will be a supported secondary device as it will be here but not a ’standard’. I really don’t see what RIM is supposed to answer with, for what they provide they are the top of the pile. From a coolness / marketing perspective they could do sometimes to show that almost everything Apple is hyping they can do .. at the end of the day you need functionality vs style.

    You are seeing the effect of lifestyle bleeding into workplace, it’s not just a iphone things. We see people coming and wanting to use Facebook, Youtube and other social networking things in the workplace (where they have at best a marginal business use) It’s not the question if why doesn’t enterprise Iphone the same can be asked why can’t I bring my slick Alienware laptop to work and use that instead of a Thinkpad? IT is and will remain about offering technology we can govern and report a baseline and SLA on. With Iphone right now you cannot.

  22. 22 Brian

    I’ve been working with IT groups around the world for a number of years (to avoid getting depressed I’m just not going to say how long it has been). There are a number of to the point observations already and I know the contest is over. But I believe some important points have been missed.
    I believe the BB has an edge for now for the following reasons:

    * existing “standard” that everyone already knows the ins, outs and pros and cons for admins, domestic and international road warriors, etc. This is a big deal in larger organizations. I need experienced people on the help desk. I need to know what to do when my ceo’s mobile device goes on the fritz in Brazil.

    * My BB 8830 lasts for nearly two days of heavy usage. When everything goes pear shaped, that battery lasts from the first 0500 call to the wrap-up at 2300 with some to spare. Not to mention that I can just swap it out if I need to (woops, guess I mentioned it anyway).

    * Two words: Voice Recognition. A very nice, no voice training req’d, voice dialing capability is built into the bb. Much safer and easier to use when your hands are, or should be, doing something else — like driving? (Apple filed voice recognition patents not too long ago. So maybe this will be addressed in the near future.)

    * Someone has already mentioned device mgmt. It remains to be seen if the 3g’s new device mgmt capabilities are “good enough”.

    * Keyboard issues are already mentioned. Come on, fess up, how many times have you had to use your bb because your laptop had become inoperable for some reason?

    * Lack of multiple carrier support. There’s a reason that Verizon is as big as it is. The iPhone won’t be changing that any time soon. Just because it is easier to have one wireless carrier in a region doesn’t mean that all of the other good reasons for wireless carrier choice go away.

    I’m sure I’ve missed something — maybe even something important. But I think the point is made. Is the iPhone a great smartphone? Yes. Does it show the market some things that could be done lots better? Absolutely. Does it make all of the other smartphones obsolete? Well, maybe I have an IQ problem (as I’m sure many will delightedly agree), but I don’t see it quite yet.

    I think the Blackberry has a good future ahead of it. If Apple addresses all of the above before RIM has a viable competitor? That could get interesting.

  23. 23 Ryan H.

    Some posters here commented that the Blackberry will never go away as the dominant corporate phone, but may I jog people’s memory and remind everyone that Palm used to be the king of the hill, then started to underestimate their competition, became stagnant, and are now nothing more than a footnote in the smartphone market.

    Another point, is that if media playback, touch screens, and virtual keyboards are such a detriment to the iPhone in the business end, why in the heck would BlackBerry even develop the Thunder? All these Blackberry supporters keep saying you do not want a virtual keyboard or touch screen or whatnot, but you are excited about those same exact things when talking about the Thunder. That tells me you are blindly supporting a brand, not a device.

    One last thing, is that RIM needs to start getting their stories straight. I am a cell phone retailer, mostly BlackBerries, and we just had a meeting with BlackBerry representatives earlier today. In this presentation, they took 20 minutes to talk about the iPhone, which lets you know everything you need to know about how nervous RIM is about Apple. When listing the top ten things that are bad about iPhones, the rep mentioned the virtual keyboard and touch screen, but then mentioned that the iPhone cannot send SMS/MMS (half-true, will concede there is no MMS, but there is most certainly SMS), there is no push email (outright lie),initial and monthly cost is high (iPhone is the same price as our Curve 8320, cheaper than our 8800 line, and monthly rate is the exact same as blackberry), and also said that blackberry had an advantage because you can use third party apps. Again, not sure how that is an advantage since Apple has by far the most diverse, fastest growing community of third party applications in just a few short weeks.

    Get your stories straight, RIM, and stop blatantly lying to the people selling or buying your phones, we are not as dumb as you think.

  1. 1 Episode 33: BlackBerry Thunder Questions, IM Head-to-Head and The Smartphone Challenge (BlackBerry Cool Podcast) | BlackBerry Cool
  2. 2 “Does RIM meet your software expectations?” (Weekly Contest) | BlackBerry Cool

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