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U.S. Senator Rand Paul talks on his iPhone.  (Source: Associated Press)
Apple and Google beginning to overtake enterprise stalwart Research In Motion

For years, the one competitive advantage BlackBerry maker Research In Motion had over other smartphone manufacturers was its secure e-mail and messaging service. This made BlackBerries the simple choice for both corporate employees and government workers. But as the business-casual trend has made casual Fridays all but moot, the overlap of personal and professional has also led to more business and government types choosing (and begging for) consumer electronic devices in their professional dealings.

A new report from The Washington Post sheds light on the phenomenon that has led to more government employees, in particular, to choose Apple and Google products over RIM's recently.

"The best way I can describe BlackBerry is as a one-trick pony," Needham & Co. analyst Charlie Wolf told The Post. "The one trick was their secure messaging platform. Management has yet to understand that the world has changed. They didn’t understand that it was a software game going forward."

RIM's late (and unpolished) start to the tablet wars has also hampered the company at a time when more and more government employees are using Apple's iPad in daily work applications instead of a more traditional laptop PC.

The changes signify a cultural shift that has already begun in earnest in the corporate sector. While iPhones and Android smartphones are quickly replacing BlackBerries, Microsoft Outlook is being eschewed for Gmail. The Post reports that the General Services Administration is currently moving 17,000 employees onto Gmail. 

"People have better access to information technology at their homes than they do at work, and that’s especially true in the public sector," Vivek Kundra, the federal government’s CIO told The Post. "If you look at the average school kid, he or she probably has better technology in his or her backpack than most of us do in government offices."

The report cites a recent study by Forrester Research that found that 35 percent of U.S. workers "either buy their own smartphone for work, use unsanctioned Web sites or download unapproved applications on a work computer," saying that the technology is better than what their job provides; they use it at home and want to use it at work, too. 

And many federal workers want to carry one device for both their professional and personal business, rather than keeping a BlackBerry for work and an iPhone or Android for home. 

While much of the changes have come from employees asking for them, they may prove positive for management, too. Officials say the shift could cut billions from the $80 billion annual IT budget in Washington, all the while making workers more productive. The GSA's move to Gmail could cut 50 percent of IT expenses over the next five years since it will no longer have to maintain its own servers and will not have to pay for software updates. The USDA also is primed to save about $6 million a year by switching to Microsoft's cloud-based e-mail service.

The report points out that the adoption of consumer devices has been relatively small, so far, but it has reached a number of disparate agencies: 

At ATF, there are about 50 iPads or iPhones in use, and the number could increase to 100 soon. At the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the 1,000 BlackBerrys used last year have dropped to about 700 as workers picked other smartphones. The State Department is testing iPads. Congress now allows iPads and iPhones on the House floor.

All of the changes seemingly benefit frontline employees and top-level officials, but mean nothing but more bad news for RIM.

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RIM Lives in a Bubble Like Microsoft
By Arsynic on 6/1/2011 8:57:21 AM , Rating: 0
This is what happens when you believe that you live in a bubble and ignore the market trends around you. When smartphones were cost prohibitive for the average Joe, Blackberries made sense for corporate environments.

With the advent of iPhone and Android, times have changed. Phones are no longer phones but communication devices. Who calls people anymore? The majority of my communication is by text and e-mail. RIM no longer has a monopoly and enterprises no longer need to maintain an expensive BES environment to manage these phones.

RIM is an example of a company living in a bubble only to emerge and find out that the world has left them behind.

RE: RIM Lives in a Bubble Like Microsoft
By Da W on 6/1/11, Rating: 0
RE: RIM Lives in a Bubble Like Microsoft
By Nutzo on 6/1/2011 11:26:14 AM , Rating: 2

Apple is just as much a copy and improve comapny as anyone else.

Apple didn't invent the MP3 player, they just repackaged it with an easy to use (dumbed down) software package.

Apple didn't invent the graphical interface, they copied (and improved) what was already out there (xerox).

When Apple fell behind in the OS battles, they repackaged unix and called it thier own.

The iPhone was a repackage/improvement of the existing smart phones with itunes added in.

The difference is that Apple manages to make lots of money by marketing it as new and trendy.

By chick0n on 6/1/2011 2:58:22 PM , Rating: 2
u forgot the part that Apple has a ton of sheep with no brains that follows every single garbage they released.

By JediJeb on 6/1/2011 6:30:08 PM , Rating: 2
With the advent of iPhone and Android, times have changed. Phones are no longer phones but communication devices. Who calls people anymore?

Depends on who you are. I may send 5 text messages a month, the rest is actual phone calls. Though I have though about actually getting rid of my cell phone completely just so I don't have the hassle of people being able to call me anywhere/anytime and expecting me to answer.

I do my computer work and browsing on a PC which has a screen big enough I can see it and a keyboard big enough I can type on it. If I want to watch a movie the screen better be big enough I can see it from across the room while sitting in my recliner. I couldn't care less about music so being able to listen to it on my phone is a feature I don't even want on it, and besides I can't stand to wear earbudds so it would need a good,loud speaker anyhow.

I'm a geek, but I draw the line at becoming a zoned out zombie walking around running into things as I watch a ballgame on my iPhone while walking down the street.

"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home
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