Is the Blackberry Dead?

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Blackberry has enjoyed a long and dominant role in the mobile world, but its star seems to be fading. Consumers seem to be moving away from Blackberry and towards other mobile devices, such as Android and iOS. Considering that the issue isn’t necessarily with Blackberry but with its maker, RIM (who has recently announced it is changing its name to Blackberry), and its ability to stay afloat in such a fickle and quickly changing marketplace, who would want to purchase BYOD devices or develop apps for a company that may not last?

To counteract this feeling and avoid playing catch-up, RIM decided to innovate by recently launching a new beta platform to help Blackberry regain a hold both in the consumer marketplace, and with the emergence of BYOD, in the workplace too – but is this strategy working? Considering that the official release isn’t until 2013, a general consensus is that both users and developers are tired of waiting for this new platform. The excitement has waned to annoyance. But has it really?

If the user base is dwindling, one can easily assume that the number of developers creating apps, especially in a BYOD enviroment, would also dwindle, after all, who wants to develop apps for a company with a shrinking user base? But here are a few things to consider:  

While some corporate clients are starting to move away from Blackberry towards Android and iOS, many aren’t. Not only is there a strong loyal base, but the cost to change devices would be expensive.

Just like some corporate clients, some consumers are also moving away from the Blackberry – but not all. Also keep in mind that Blackberry still has a huge user base despite these apparent defections. Therefore, the overall user may be smaller – but remember that bigger isn’t necessarily better. Developers may not be giving up on Blackberry for these reasons:

  • A smaller developer base can mean that the competition is smaller, but better. This can allow developers to showcase their work, and when there are fewer developers, they can potentially get more exposure. This can help both newer and more seasoned developers.
  • Because it still is quite lucrative for Blackberry developers to create apps, developers may be willing to stay around. It can also help cull the developer herd a bit.
  • RIM is trying to get developer feedback and suggestions that it can incorporate into its business to re-emerge as a force to be reckoned with in the mobile industry.
  • A smaller user base doesn’t necessarily mean a small one. If the user base is still comparable to other smartphone platforms, then there may not be the huge developer exodus that is being predicted.

While Blackberry remains the most secure mobile platform to date, many companies choose to utilize other, more user friendly ones, such as Androids and iPhones. But at what IT security risk?

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