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RIM to Extend Mobile Device Management Capabilities to Android, iOS Devices


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November 29, 2011

RIM to Extend Mobile Device Management Capabilities to Android, iOS Devices

By Beecher Tuttle, TMCnet Contributor

In a transparent effort to regain some of the revenue lost by the “Bring Your Own Device” movement, Research in Motion on Tuesday extended it mobile device management software to sexier, better-selling devices from Apple (News - Alert) and Android.

The new mobile device management solution – dubbed Blackberry Mobile Fusion – will essentially bring the power of the Blackberry Enterprise Server to entire smartphone market, enabling corporate IT staffs to manage a full range of devices under one central administration platform.

With Mobile Fusion, enterprises can take advantage of RIM's top selling points – its security and administration features – while also being able to allow employees to use their own Android and iPhone (News - Alert) devices. Mobile Fusion will provide asset, configuration and security management capabilities as well as highly acclaimed enterprise features like remote locking and wiping of a stolen or lost device –all managed from one web-based console.

“What our enterprise customers are looking for, and the opportunity for us, is to become the de facto platform,” Alan Panezic (News - Alert), VP of Enterprise Product Management at RIM, told Reuters. “We will take full advantage of whatever security capabilities are provided by the core operating system. We're not going to hold that back in any way, shape or form.”

On the surface, the moves seems like a strong one for RIM as it is bringing its best features to markets that utilize devices of competitors. However, it also appears as if RIM is waving the white flag by clearly acknowledging that many enterprise users prefer non-Blackberry devices.

If anything, the decision will entice some enterprises that have refrained from allowing employees to carry non-Blackberry devices to do so. It's probably safe to assume that the launch of Mobile Fusion won't help RIM sell more smartphones. In fact, it may discourage sales.

Who knows, maybe Mobile Fusion is the first step in RIM ceding the mobile device market to the likes of Apple and Samsung (News - Alert) to concentrate more on security and device management. RIM was recently forced to lay off thousands of employees after reporting weak earnings and issuing a dismal outlook for the rest of the year. The company has simply been unable to compete with the popularity of iOS and Android devices in the smartphone and tablet spaces.

RIM did not disclose the price of Mobile Fusion, but Panezic told Reuters (News - Alert) it would be “competitive.” The solution is expected to launch during the first quarter of 2012.

Beecher Tuttle is a TMCnet contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

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