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Paving the Way to Abandon BlackBerry

I'd love to see RIM survive and for BlackBerry to remain as a major mobile platform, but it seems increasingly less likely with each quarter

If your company relies on BlackBerry mobile devices, it's time to head for the lifeboats. I don't have a crystal ball, so I can't say with any certainty what RIM's fate holds in store. But, it doesn't take any supernatural ability to see that the company is floundering...badly.

When I went to the BlackBerry World Conference in Orlando at the beginning of May, RIM seemed upbeat. Thorsten Heins appeared to have gotten past his initial delusion of staying the course, and all hopes were pinned on the revolutionary BlackBerry 10 platform.

By the end of May, RIM had begun to unravel, and reportedly hired teams of bankers to explore its options. In other words, hopes had quickly turned to doubts and RIM wanted to test the waters to see if it could sell off all or part of the company to salvage some value. Now, RIM has pushed back the release of BlackBerry 10 until 2013.

Even if RIM can regain its footing, you have a business to run. Sure, your existing BlackBerry devices are still functional in the strict sense. But--as my PCWorld peer Ian Paul points out--the rest of the smartphone and tablet competition are already beyond where RIM is now, and they all have major updates coming out before BlackBerry 10 is expected. If you want to remain agile and stay a step ahead of your competition, you should be using newer, faster, better technologies.

Thankfully, RIM has already created the perfect solution: BlackBerry Mobile Fusion. It won't help you with Windows Phone smartphones, but BlackBerry Mobile Fusion extends the capabilities of the BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) platform so that it becomes a broader mobile device management (MDM) platform. You can manage Android smartphones and tablets, iPhones, and iPads using the BES infrastructure you already have in place.

You may not need to abandon ship just yet. But, given RIM's track record over the past few years it would be prudent of you to hedge your bets. Get BlackBerry Mobile Fusion in place, and start exploring the use of Android and iOS devices with your BlackBerry Enterprise Server so you're ready if the time comes.

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