RIM is branching out from its BlackBerry platform with plans to add Mobile Fusion device management to Apple’s iPhone and Android OS-based smartphones. The company said the move will help IT departments better manage the mobile devices under their control without limiting user choice.
RIM preps enterprise iPhone management tools
“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,” said RIM vice president of Enterprise Product Management Alan Panezic. “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 organizations.”
While RIM executives aren’t saying, Mobile Fusion looks like a concession that BlackBerry’s hold on the enterprise market is weakening thanks to the growing popularity of the iPhone and Google’s Android platform.
In August NPD Group released figures showing Apple and Google are taking more of the smartphone market at RIM’s expense. The research group said that Apple controlled 29 percent of the U.S. smartphone market during the June quarter, while RIM’s BlackBerry dipped down to only 11 percent.
Despite its low market share, however, RIM’s BlackBerry platform is still popular at the enterprise level. By bringing iOS and Android device management to big businesses, RIM has a better chance at keeping its control in the enterprise market, even if that turns into multiplatform support.
Mobile Fusion is expected to roll out in late March 2012.