Today at BlackBerry World in Orlando, FL RIM announced it will add support for managing Android and iOS devices to its BlackBerry Enterprise Server platform. The technology will come from RIM’s pending acquisition of ubitexx, which was announced today.
RIM also announced the availability of Gist for BlackBerry. RIM acquired Gist in February. Importantly, it looks like Gist will still be available for other platforms, which was a concern for some users.
These moves imply that RIM is finally moving towards a multi-platform approach to development.
Multi-Platform BES: A Smart Move or an Admission of Defeat?
R “Ray” Wang, Principal Analyst and CEO of Constellation Research, tweeted that this a strategic move for RIM. According to Wang, RIM must defend its core differentiators – and at the moment, that’s BlackBerry Enterprise Server. “RIM is a great company w/ great assets,” he wrote.
Wang thinks Asian manufacturers will commoditize the handset market, so RIM needs to emphasize its other strengths. I agree.
RIM: Multi-Platform Enterprise Information Management Company
Meanwhile, the Gist and Tungle acquisitions allow RIM to build on one of its key strengths – personal information management – while expanding into other platforms. Other mobile platforms, yes, but more importantly to the Web. RIM has been known for its simple and effective applications. But its PIM apps haven’t kept up with the evolution the Web. New apps like Gist and Tungle bring RIM into the modern age.
Rumors have been circulating that BlackBerry Messenger is coming to Android and iOS. The most recent report turned out to be a hoax. But as recently as in March, Jim Tobin, RIM’s senior vice-president for software and business services said that RIM didn’t plan to add Android and iOS support to the BES. Hopefully a similar reversal will take place for Messenger.
RIM and Microsoft: An Odd Couple
RIM’s relationship with Microsoft is getting interesting. In March, the two companies announced that Microsoft will host a cloud-based BES as part of its Office 365 offering. Later that month, Microsoft