RIM to offer its mobile device management software on Android, iOS

RIMResearch In Motion's executives have apparently decided that if they can't beat Apple and Google, they'll join them. The company announced today that it will offer its mobile device management and security software for iOS and Android devices, allowing enterprise customers to manage them alongside BlackBerry phones.

The new software, BlackBerry Mobile Fusion, will provide many of the same central administration features now offered on RIM's own phone OS—including remote locking of devices and remote erasing of their storage, application and software management, security policy enforcement, and management of WiFi and VPN connections among them. The software will be available in the first quarter of 2012, according to a company statement.

The move is an acknowledgement of the growing trend of companies adopting "bring your own device" policies to accommodate employees' desire to use their own smartphones and tablet devices in the enterprise, and of the iPad's dominance in the tablet space.

By integrating with iOS and Android, RIM vice president of enterprise product management Alan Panezic told Reuters, RIM is shooting to "become the de facto platform" for managing mobile devices in the enterprise. "We will take full advantage of whatever security capabilities are provided by the core operating system—we're not going to hold back in any way, shape or form."

The problem RIM faces is that the mobile device management market is already crowded. The BlackBerry still remains a favorite of large companies and the government (though that favor may have diminished after the worldwide RIM e-mail outage in October), and that's largely been because of the platform's management features. It's possible that Mobile Fusion could give BlackBerry the opportunity to hang on to its mobile device management customer base (which the company claims includes 90 percent of the Fortune 500), or at least delay their decisions to move to multiple platform mobile device management tools from companies such as Good Technology (which is making inroads with RIM's government customers) and MobileIron. On the other hand, it could shoot RIM's handset business in the foot, as large companies dump the BlackBerry en masse and move to iOS and Android.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Android, BlackBerry, RIM

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