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iPhone versus Blackberry: Horse race or Deathmatch?

Infoworld’s product review format in the 1990’s was famous.  It consisted of a detailed and hard hitting qualitative review, accompanied by a grid rating the reviewed product on a number of different critieria.  Finally a weighted average of those criteria scores produced a single numeric score.  Many a company was made or ruined by that single number.

It’s back.

In Ultimate mobile deathmatch: iPhone vs. BlackBerry vs. Droid vs. Pre Infoworld ranks 6 smartphones on 7 criteria, and then weights the scores for personal use, small business use, and “regulated business” a.k.a. enterprise use.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, iPhone 3GS wins the top rating, and tied for second place are Palm Pre and BlackBerry Bold.

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BlackBerry bold smokes iPhone in Enterprise, while iPhone kills Bold for personal and small business use.  Weak points for iPhone?  Security, business connectivity, and voice capabilities.  Weak points for Bold?  The browser, app support, usability, and personal technologies (the media player and so on).  What would the world look like, though, if RIM fixed the browser and had more applications available?  It would be a neck and neck race.  Hence the reason RIM recently bought TorchMobile and launched the $150 million Blackberry Fund.  

Can RIM do it?  Or will Apple fix their Enterprise holes faster?  What do you think?

{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Stuart Henshall November 12, 2009, 9:07 pm

    Given the underpinnings of RIM's platform can it even do it? Separately… Apple is winning with just one device rather than many variation which all need special treatment. Apple also has a backwards compatibility advantage at the moment.

  • alex December 16, 2009, 11:52 pm

    Technology is usually easier to fix than sales channels.

    RIM should need a more modern OS anyway, so in the mid-term, I would think that RIM will fix their weak points in software.
    Apple is clearly testing the waters with small enterprises, if you look at their integrated server-laptop-iPhone offering. So I would expect them to fix the technical shortcomings listed above, maybe even earlier than RIM due to Apple's modern underpinnings.

    However, Apple may risk the huge investments necessary to build full blown channels to large enterprise IT only if and when their foray into small enterprises works out well. And then it still takes years to do so, even if you have bootloads of cash.
    Also Apple's "corporate DNA" is about getting end-users hooked up and "addicted", not corporate IT departments with their often less-than-user-centric requirements.

    Therefore I believe that RIM will keep its lead in the enterprise sector for years to come. This is about 1/3 of the global smartphone market, so overall Apple has an opportunity to take the lead over RIM.

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