BlackBerry to lose its crown – analyst

The Blackberry’s position as the dominant mobile email solution is coming to an end according to industry analyst IDC . The analyst group says Microsoft’s involvement with Motorola, Palm, and others, as well as Nokia’s commitment to an end-to-end strategy, threaten the Blackberry’s stronghold in the enterprise market.

Viewing the mobile email arena as “a relatively untapped market”, the analyst group believes there is enormous potential within the enterprise for differentiation and specialisation for other organisations who have, until recently, lagged behind Canadian Research in Motion’s iconic device.

While `relatively untapped’ IDC recognises this is a space where competition is fierce and becoming more so with the entry of more and more pretenders to the BlackBerry throne which it has defended for eight years. IDC expects enterprise converged mobile device shipments to reach 63 million units worldwide by 2010, up from 7.3 million in 2005.

In its report, Attack of the BlackBerry Clones, IDC notes that Nokia and Motorola are in strong positions because of their leadership in the overall mobile phone market. Nokia, says IDC, has greatly expanded its product breadth and end-to-end solution with the acquisition of Intellisync. Motorola has powerfully combined forces with Microsoft in offering Windows Mobile 5.0.

And it is Microsoft which IDC has identified as the “Key partner” to usurping RIM. Partnering with Microsoft “gives certain device vendors such as Motorola, HTC, Samsung, and Palm the ability to attack the core BlackBerry user base”, IDC says.

“Several BlackBerry clones have previously attempted to challenge RIM’s reign in the enterprise market, but this is a more formidable strike,” says Sean Ryan, research analyst for IDC’s Mobile Markets. “The timing is right for a more powerful attack against RIM’s BlackBerry as competitive forces converge. Nokia is offering an end-to-end solution of its own, while Motorola and Palm, among others, are leveraging Microsoft’s Windows Mobile 5.0 and Microsoft Exchange.”

Microsoft is ramping up IT policy support and is seeking to exploit its dominant position in the IT systems of enterprises worldwide as well as with end users familiar with the Windows OS and Microsoft applications. IDC expects these Windows Mobile-supported devices to undergo the fastest growth, comprising 32.3 per cent of the market share by 2010.

Research in Motion refused to comment.

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