Due in part to its popular native email system and effective security measures, Research In Motion’s BlackBerry mobile phones were once the must-have device for those working in business.
But since Apple’s iPhone and handsets powered by Google’s Android OS have come on the scene, RIM’s smartphones have been losing ground in the corporate world.
RIM’s efforts to hold on to business customers suffered another blow this week when oil field services company Halliburton announced that it will cease issuing its workers with BlackBerry phones and replace them with Apple’s iPhone.
In an email to Reuters on Tuesday, Halliburton spokesperson Tara Mullee Agard said, “We are making this transition in order to better support our mobile applications initiatives.” The change will take place over the next two years, Mullee Agard said.
At 4,500, the number of employees at the Houston-based company set to give up their BlackBerry phone in exchange for an iPhone may not be huge, but it is nevertheless indicative of a growing trend in the business community for workers to move from the BlackBerry to devices made by other companies.
Indeed, the Reuters report points out that just last year banking giant Credit Suisse began allowing its workers to use their personal devices—many of which are iPhones or Android devices—on the company network. It’s claimed that around 8,000 of its 25,000 BlackBerry users have given up their RIM-made phones.
Barclays Capital and Standard Chartered are two other companies that have moved towards the iPhone at the expense of BlackBerry devices.
RIM, which recently installed a new CEO after a difficult few years that culminated in a disastrous 2011, will be doing what it can to persuade the corporate world to stick with its BlackBerry phones. But a series of setbacks, such as a four-day service outage last year and a delay in launching its next-generation BlackBerry 10 mobile operating system, won’t have done anything to instill confidence in users.
The Waterloo, Ontario-based company is thought to be pinning its hopes on London. No, not the UK capital, but a rumored new smartphone device running BlackBerry 10, which will likely be launched some time this year.