BlackBerry to feel sting from Windows Mobile

25 May 2007

Microsoft Windows Mobile will win high-end enterprise mobile customers from RIM’s BlackBerry and Symbian, analyst firm BRC has predicted.

As enterprise mobile computing evolves to combine more personal computer capabilities on mobile handsets, a critical factor in buyers’ choices will be the number of tools available for extending corporate applications to mobiles, BRC said.

It noted that comprehensive packages are already available for using Windows Mobile to access Lotus, various SAP offerings, Oracle CRM and of course Microsoft Office.

BRC claimed this will encourage large corporations to go Microsoft for mobile, whereas the proprietary nature of Blackberry’s operating system will inhibit third-party developers, as will Symbian’s software development kits which are device dependent, fragmenting application markets. Since new applications cannot readily run on Symbian devices developers will be more attracted to Windows Mobile, it said.

“RIM and Symbian have attracted millions of business users through Personal Information Manager (PIM) and email but without middleware solutions they will lose them to Microsoft,” said Jeff Ace, one of the report’s authors. “Developers look to the easiest system to place their wares. Windows Mobile is well marketed, targets the most lucrative market and hides the complexity of devices from them. It is not surprising that all major middleware for CRM [customer relationship management] is available on Windows Mobile.”

Ace added: “Nokia has the marketing clout to attract developers but seems reticent, while the natural attraction of Windows Mobile must be troubling device manufacturers.”

By Niall Byrne