SME and corporate users split on push email


6 Dec 2006

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Quite clear and distinctive battle lines appear to have been drawn in the Irish theatre of operations – between SME and corporate – as part of the opening moves of the push email wars, siliconrepublic.com has learned.

Irish SMEs favour the Microsoft push email products and corporate players are electing to stay loyal to the Research in Motion (RIM) BlackBerry.

RIM is the undisputed market leader in the enterprise push email sector with more than 5.5 million subscribers worldwide. Sales in 2006 were around the US$2bn mark.

However, software giant Microsoft – which dominates the PC email environment with Exchange and Outlook – has been jealously eyeing this market. This has culminated in deals with Microsoft, Palm and others to deploy its push email technology on mobile handsets.

2007 promises to be an interesting year on the mobile email front as Microsoft and its cohorts endeavour to assault RIM’s hitherto unrivalled customer base.

Billy Darcy (pictured), head of corporate and business sales at O2 Ireland, explained that as the battle lines are being drawn it is already being made clear where Irish loyalties will lie.

“There is a perception in the corporate market that the BlackBerry is very secure and therefore household names such as various financial institutions have stuck with the BlackBerry.

“But that’s not to say that Microsoft’s technology is any less secure. It has the security required. In a matter of time Microsoft will win the large names over.

“SMEs are opting for Microsoft’s push email technology simply because there are more choices of handsets available. Most people with the BlackBerry have the RIM device.

“But for SMEs, whether you’re a painter or plumber with three employees, you want a good solid phone and don’t want to be restricted in your handset choice.”

Darcy said that while O2 brought the BlackBerry to Ireland five years ago and still has a large share of that market, Vodafone entered the market in the past three years. Both companies are operating in both the RIM and Microsoft camps.

“You can’t treat both the RIM BlackBerry and Microsoft push email markets the same. If you do, you die,” Darcy concludes.

By John Kennedy