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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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RE: RIM Lives in a Bubble Like Microsoft
By Da W on 6/1/2011 10:25:15 AM , Rating: 0
What does Microsoft has to do with that?
Microsoft has always and will always be a copy-and-improve copany. They never invented anything, they had their share of faillure, but they are quick to recognise a trend is catching on and usually they embrace it with an improved product. Sometimes it works (Dos, windows, Xbox, Windows mobile before iphone), sometimes it doesn't (zune,bing,windows 7 tablets), for other it's too early to tell (WP7, windows 8). but living in a bubble, hardly.

I mean come on, it was 2007 and all we had was monochrome blackberries and Windows mobile was dominating sales. Then Apple dropped the iPhone out of nowhere, caught EVERYBODY by surprise. Google succeded because they took an already existing kernel(linux), copied the iPhone layout of grid and icons and threw it in the wild for free, with phone manufacturers modding it the way they liked it and flood the market. Who wouldn't succeed doing that? This is hardly innovation, and as much as i like it as a consumer point of view, Google doesn't make a dime out of it and Google's stock barely moved since android catched on. And now they take linux, chrome, bundle the two together and call it chrome OS? Come on, they just prove Microsoft was right to bundle explorer with Windows but got screwed up by ignorant bureaucrats!

Apple is an innovating company, and the only one able to exact every goddamn penny out of its innovation. Mcrosoft is a copy and improve company and rely on a bunch of partners to succeed. Google is a geek company taking pieces of software here and there and rebundle them and throw them out on the internet for free, like any teenage geek used to do in its basement. I'll give them kuddos for their search engine.

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.

"Folks that want porn can buy an Android phone." -- Steve Jobs
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