(Via WSJ)Wireless email space is now the epicenter of a battle between some of the tech world's biggest players.Excerpts with edits and comments :
More than 42,000 organizations have a BlackBerry e-mail server and 2.5 million people keep the gadget within arm's reach. RIM commands a $12.4 billion market valuation Awakened by RIM's achievement,tech giants and hungry upstarts are responding with an arsenal of gear aimed at cracking the BlackBerry's stronghold. Consumer-electronics companies such as Nokia Corp.,Motorola Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. are rolling out competing e-mail devices. Meanwhile,rivals are providing network software designed to intercept or block the revenue RIM generates from handling wireless e-mail traffic.
RIM now faces a classic technology-industry problem: Young companies that launch popular products aren't always the long-term winners. Netscape Corp.'s Web browser was superseded by a late alternative from Microsoft Corp. Google Inc.'s Internet-search service eclipsed early offerings by Yahoo Inc., and now Google itself faces intensifying counterattacks. For RIM, which started life developing electronic signs for auto plants, the challenge is particularly acute. The still-nascent market is being attacked by a phalanx of competitors at multiple points along BlackBerry's food chain. Companies are developing software that allows wireless e-mail to work on a series of rival hand-held devices. Others are creating networks to handle e-mail traffic in competition with BlackBerry. Being a pioneer, RIM developed a wireless e-mail system in fits and starts and in a way that makes it largely incompatible with devices made by other companies. RIM makes BlackBerry devices and helps wireless phone companies take care of the e-mail service, for a fee. It's not easy to get BlackBerry service on anything but the company's own hardware, a problem RIM is attempting to remedy.
Microsoft has included a free wireless e-mail feature on the latest version of its widely used e-mail server software. That gives phone companies the freedom to offer wireless e-mail services on handsets made by a wide range of companies, not just RIM. Today, 100 wireless carriers sell BlackBerry hand-helds and service and 80 more will start this year.. For its fiscal year ended Feb. 26, 2005, RIM had net income of $213 million on revenue of $1.35 billion. RIM's is focused on addressing criticism that BlackBerry technology doesn't work well with other systems and devices. RIM last summer announced plans for Motorola to launch a phone and e-mail device that could hook up to the BlackBerry system. No doubt, Blackberry is a technology marvel, the productivity improvements that Blackberry brings to work is probably immeasurable. Blackbery looks years ahead in technology - but still fact remains there are overwhelming limitations of the device - the device is cranky, the software malfunctions, the user interface is pathetic, the phone facilities are so poor - for example in my blackberry , I can't even send a businesscard from a Blackberry device - features are very limited and hot keys are not intuitive. But with all this can i live without Blackberry - having used to it - no way, but competition and improvements are highly called for - after all the allegiance is to the technology and not necessarily to the company.
Category : Blackberry