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DOD insists that it still supports RIM as a platform, just is being more flexible

As embattled Canadian phonemaker Research in Motion, Ltd.'s (TSE:RIM) image in the consumer market has gone down in flames, RIM has seen its long loyal legion of business and government users begin to abandon it for rival's managed alternatives.  

Amidst the expected delay of the next generation BlackBerry 10 (BB10) platform to March 2013 and high fees, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, all dropped the platform.

Despite a promise from RIM to cut fees, the latest casualty appears to be the U.S. Department of Defense, although RIM will likely suffer a slow death at the agency, unlike the previous speedy exits.  While the Pentagon emphasizes that it is still supporting BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) for secured employee smartphones -- for now -- it is now preparing what many view as an exit strategy from RIM's services.

Under the plan, third-party contractors will compete to offer secured platforms built on Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android and Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) iOS.

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) posting called for an initial user base of 162,500 smartphones for a 1-year contract for device management software and support.  That number could grow to 262,500 with 6-month contract extensions, if the smaller trial goes well.  Eventually the deployment could swell to the 8 million devices deployed by the DoD and its partners.

But a DoD spokesperson insisted to Reuters that it isn't abandoning RIM, for now.  They commented, "DISA is managing an enterprise email capability that continues to support large numbers of RIM devices while moving forward with the department's planned mobile management capability that will support a variety of mobility devices."

RIM tried to offer a cheerful spin on the news, arguing that if its handsets are abandoned, it will at least get a chance to compete for managing Android and iOS smarpthones.  RIM offers a product called BlackBerry Mobile Fusion, which allows traditional BlackBerry Enterprise Servers (BES) to manage its rival's handsets.

But given RIM's still relatively high fees and the IT community's long-standing dislike for BES products, it may be wishful thinking for RIM to assume it can win the contract to manage its competitors' products.

To its credit, RIM is realistic in aiming pretty low -- it's at most hoping to establish itself as the third place phonemaker.  But amid a resurgent Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) RIM will be lucky if it doesn't find itself on the bottom of the pile, particularly as both the consumer and enterprise markets turn their back on its increasingly dated devices.

RIM's financial advisors have reportedly suggested selling its handset business now, while it retains a modicum of value, but its executive management appear to be opting to ignore that expert advice in hopes of a surprise turnaround.

Sources: FedBizOpportunities, Reuters

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BES corrections
By jimbojimbo on 11/1/2012 4:22:15 PM , Rating: 2
RIM offers a product called BlackBerry Mobile Fusion, which allows traditional BlackBerry Enterprise Servers (BES) to manage its rival's handsets.
BES as we know it will only manage current and older Blackberries and cannot manage BB10 or other handsets. The Blackberry Device Manager will manage BB10 devices and the Blackberry Universal Device Manager will manage Android and iOS devices. Mobile Fusion is just a front end tool that connects to both of these services so you get one spot to manage all devices. In 2013 this will transform to the name Blackberry Enterprise Services which unfortunately will confuse people since it's also BES. They should have changed that.

RE: BES corrections
By jimbojimbo on 11/1/2012 4:24:53 PM , Rating: 2
I forgot to add that both BDM and BUDM will unfortunately use RIM's servers like BES does now so if there's some problem with with their service like in the past entire countries could be out of commission again. Having an additional hop there just introduces more potential for outages.

RE: BES corrections
By retrospooty on 11/1/2012 5:15:53 PM , Rating: 2
2 hops... LOL

Mail movement

MS Model (can be used in any mobile OS) - Free
Exchange server > internet > users phone or tablet.

BB Model - $20 per user per month
Exchange server > BB server (at users company) > internet > RIMM server > internet > users phone or tablet.

RE: BES corrections
By jimbojimbo on 11/1/2012 5:27:17 PM , Rating: 2
BB10 will have full blown ActiveSync though so you don't HAVE to use BDM so that's one advantage to the new OS I guess.

RE: BES corrections
By retrospooty on 11/1/2012 6:02:11 PM , Rating: 3
Is that confirmed? They will finally support EAS? Good move... 4 years too late, but still a good move LOL

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