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RIM Looks to Manage Android, iOS Devices

Tue, 11/29/2011 - 7:22am
Andrew Berg

Research In Motion (RIM) today introduced BlackBerry Mobile Fusion, the company's entry into the multi-platform device management space. The company says Mobile Fusion will allow IT departments to manage smartphones and tablets running BlackBerry, Android and iOS operating systems.

BlackBerry Mobile Fusion leverages RIM's BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) to address the growing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend facing IT departments. In a press release, the company acknowledged that many of those devices being brought onto corporate networks are not BlackBerrys but also iPhones and Androids.

Mobile Fusion will allow IT departments to manage everything from configuration of the devices to security and management of connectivity. RIM says that device security, manageability and controls will vary according to the inherent capabilities of the individual device operating systems.

The move comes as RIM attempts to supplement its business as longtime users migrate away from the company's struggling line of BlackBerry smartphones. RIM continues to lose market share here in the United States, where its piece of the pie slipped from 24 percent in the third quarter of 2010 to just 9 percent in third quarter 2011, according to numbers released by Canalys.

Industry analyst Jeff Kagan said that in light of RIM's recent struggles, Mobile Fusion could be a step in the right direction for the company.

"This is a move from RIM more on the software and services side rather than on the device side," Kagan said. "If successful, this could be a signal of what RIM will look like going forward. One thing is for sure, one way or the other, RIM will look totally different several years from now."

BlackBerry Mobile Fusion is currently in early beta testing with select enterprise customers. RIM is now accepting customer nominations for the closed beta program which will start in January, and general availability is expected in late March.

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