Analysis: Could RIM's survival mean abandoning the BlackBerry?

Comments (11)
Ananke wrote:

Governments want access to RIM’s network, so at one moment it will be no more exclusively private and safe, hence it holds no premium.

Dec 17, 2011 4:23am EST  --  Report as abuse
matthewslyman wrote:

Governments want access to RIM’s network, hence propaganda “news” articles like this one to make life difficult for them until they cooperate / until we buy compromised products from U.S. manufacturers…

Dec 17, 2011 1:50pm EST  --  Report as abuse
CommonSense1A wrote:

RIM, if they stop making the devices, and just charge a small fee for users, then what about Apple and Andriod don’t charge a fee for users.
And carriers pass the fee to users, then users will switch to non-fee service. Right?

Dec 17, 2011 2:01pm EST  --  Report as abuse
CDN_Rebel wrote:

Pardon the conspiracy theory, but BB and RIM were deep-sixed by govts wary of the encryption of BBM. At first they figured they could crack it but when they couldn’t they considered it a massive security threat. It’s a nut-job theory, and disregards that RIM never tried touch screen until it was too late and relied too heavily on flash… but something about it feels true. Probably doesn’t help that it’s a Cdn company too – American’s can be so over the top with their patriotism

Dec 17, 2011 4:15pm EST  --  Report as abuse
generalnatty1 wrote:

Blackberry isn’t going anywhere how does a service with 75 million users kick the bucket unless certain parties want that to happen, the level of anti-blackberry propaganda is staggering. I guess governments prefer the ease to spy like google and apple allow them.

Dec 17, 2011 5:42pm EST  --  Report as abuse
1stMartain wrote:

People like the convenience of an iphone or android. RIM needs to make the blackberry platform more compatible with apps. Most people who work in business aren’t “corporate suit” types. Small businesses employ more people and they want all of the media options of androids and iphones.

If RIM could combine the two then they would be better positioned to regain the competitive advantage.

Dec 17, 2011 7:35pm EST  --  Report as abuse
vandry wrote:

OK, so they are proposing that RIM keep only the email hosting side of the business (“its secure and highly respected network”, says the article) and drop the handsets. So let’s see if that’s viable. Does the Blackberry network provide value that anybody actually needs?

Blackberry corporate subscribers have a company-internal email server (often they end up stuck with Microsoft Exchange for one reason or another) which talks to the Blackberry network through some kind of add-on or plugin in the email server. Blackberry individual subscribers have an email hosting provider somewhere (maybe something like gmail, maybe their ISP-provided email account, maybe something else) and the Blackberry network talks to that email account using regular IMAP. In both cases, the Blackberry handset then talks to the Blackberry network.

This was a good model for a time when Smartphones didn’t exist or weren’t powerful enough to handle email by themselves, and when data plans weren’t good enough, cheap enough, or available enough for users to be able to count on full-time Internet access on their phone. The Blackberry network acts like a kind of helper proxy for the phone. The protocol between the Blackberry network and Blackberry phone is proprietary so we can’t know what it is, but presumably it’s all geared towards economy of resources and making the network (the helper proxy) do as much of the work as possible.

But now if you want your email on your smartphone, you just configure it up so your smartphone will get it directly from either your email hosting provider or your company-internal mail server. The helper proxy in the middle just isn’t needed anymore.

In fact, using a helper proxy makes things a lot less secure. Firstly, if you are an individual Blackberry subscriber (not corporate), then you have to tell RIM what your email password is so that they can connect to the hosting provider on your behalf. This compromises your password. If they wanted to, RIM could log in to your email account and change your password to something else which only they know! And if your email password also gives access to things other than email (for example, it’s your Google account password) then you’ve given RIM access to those other things too. Secondly, whether you are an individual subscriber or a corporate subscriber, the Blackberry helper proxy in the middle is a point of vulnerability where your email could be intercepted. That’s true even though the traffic streams between your hosting provider and RIM, and between RIM and your handset, are both encrypted. Even if RIM has the best of intentions to keep your email private, they would comply with a court order that compels then to intercept it.

Using the RIM helper proxy in the middle is, additionally, an extra point of failure. As anyone who paid attention to news in the past few months knows, the Blackberry network has had some recent problems with availability.

So, no, I don’t see any value anymore in the Blackberry network. It was a good idea at the time, but its time is past.

I would go so far as to say the opposite of what the Reuters article says: that if Blackberry has any future at all, it lies in the hardware. Some people like the Blackberry hardware for its physical keyboard and small size (I think it’s not as tall as most modern smartphones), so maybe there’s something for them to keep selling there. After all, the handset market is full of models that have minority market shares but are nevertheless successful. After Samsung, Apple, LG, Nokia, and Motorola, and others, there could be room in the market for one more.

-Phil

Dec 17, 2011 9:11pm EST  --  Report as abuse

I agree with conspiracy theorist and paid bloggers that don’t speak for us consumers anymore agreed that delay in qnx has been a game changer but then what can you do. Wish bb can bounce back I love my bb service and equipment a little complicated but once you get used to it, everything falls in place. Android market fortunes continue to rise but how far will the fairy tale last no one knows. Its all about consumers govt.s should butt out and let free market prevail. Ironically this post is from a android tablet LOL.

Dec 17, 2011 9:36pm EST  --  Report as abuse

Great. I want to learn more about it.

Dec 17, 2011 10:07pm EST  --  Report as abuse
avgprsn wrote:

RIM could easily boost it’s revenue by offering any user of any device secure VPN high speed tunnels free backed on advertising sponsors. They already have the infrastructure.
Then if they could get that angle off the ground, they would have the exposure to develop new hardware that has it’s proprietary value. Evolve and roll.

Dec 17, 2011 10:55pm EST  --  Report as abuse
matthewslyman wrote:

You can’t have a secure email system running on an insecure platform. That’s what various governments want us to do… All they’d have to do is surreptitiously install an “app” to record and transmit keystrokes, and any RIM/ Blackberry encryption/transport layer on top of that would be totally meaningless. Drop the Blackberry platform and there’s no value in RIM. Blackberry is a key component in their offering.

Dec 19, 2011 3:47am EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.