Taking Back IT

Oct 5 2011   1:42PM GMT

BlackBerry vs. Microsoft: Who will survive?

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

NEW YORK — There’s room for a third vendor to succeed alongside Apple and Google in the mobile OS market. Who that vendor will be — Microsoft or RIM — is up for debate.

Analysts discussed the future of the market during an Interop session this morning. Research in Motion (RIM) has dominated in the business world with its BlackBerry smartphones, but its long-term outlook isn’t so rosy, thanks to employees buying iPhones, iPads and Android devices and using them for work.

Even if RIM as a company doesn’t survive this shift, the BlackBerry will still maintain a strong enterprise presence, said Rohit Mehra, director of enterprise communications infrastructure for IDC.

“BlackBerry’s going to be around, in terms of the install base, for a long time,” he said. “Things don’t change that fast in our industry.”

But Mark Lowenstein, managing director of Mobile Ecosystem, said Microsoft is in a better position, thanks to Windows’ huge install base among business users.

“It’s going to be very interesting to see what Microsoft does in this space over the next year,” he said. “They already have multiple hooks in the enterprise.”

Andrew Borg, senior research analyst with the Aberdeen Group, called Microsoft a “force to be reckoned with” because of its Windows Phone OS. The latest version, Mango, features a unique design that will set Microsoft smartphones apart, Borg said.

“They are not imitating iOS,” he said. “There are many that think that Android is a clone of iOS. You can’t argue that with Microsoft.”

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