In a move that seems crazy at first glance and really smart at second, RIM will be providing its famous BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) technology to Android and iOS devices. An iPhone/Droid as secure as a BlackBerry? I'm listening.
The new system is called BlackBerry Mobile Fusion, and it gives companies and government customers a way to manage ever-increasing device diversity. In a nut shell:
BlackBerry Mobile Fusion brings together our industry-leading BlackBerry Enterprise Server technology for BlackBerry devices with mobile device management capabilities for iOS and Android devices, all managed from one web-based console. It provides the necessary management capabilities to allow IT departments to confidently oversee the use of both company-owned and employee-owned mobile devices within their organisations.
You can say what you want about BlackBerry hardware having fallen behind the Curve (see what I did there?), but they are still way ahead of iOS and Android in terms of security. You might wonder why RIM is taking its greatest asset and sharing it with others, and while it's not going to help its phones any, as a company this is the smartest move they can make. BlackBerry hardware is getting creamed right now, so RIM is selling what they can to keep them in the game: its server technology. Even if its entire hardware division goes under (and I'm not saying that's imminent or anything) they'd still have the server business, and as long as they can avoid any more service outages, they should be OK.
RIM will be far from the only player in the Mobile Device Management (MDM) marketplace, but it will have more name-recognition than the others, and it's a name business and government users have been working with for years. It's a major departure for RIM, but it's the first move they've made that really reflects the changing mobile ecosystem, and it might just be a brilliant survival tactic. BlackBerry Mobile Fusion begins a closed beta in January, with general availability expected in March. You can sign up here for more info. [CrackBerry]