Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) has been desperately trying to claw its way back into the game, but the game is different than it was in the years when the company’s BlackBerry devices were popular. Now there’s an extra competitor: BYOD (bring your own device).
Forbes contributor Joe Lazauskas of CenturyLink believes BYOD is actually pushing Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) out of the game. Of course there’s no denying that the BlackBerry maker has watched its market share drop off significantly. In 2009, the company held more than 20 percent of the U.S. smartphone market share. Now it holds less than 1 percent, and the company reported a 81 percent drop in sales.
Of course Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) is hoping that its BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 models will turn things around, and there is early evidence that this could happen. However, things just don’t look good right now.
What BYOD Means For Research In Motion Ltd (BBRY)
BYOD is a new practice many companies are putting into place, allowing their employees to bring their own devices for work purposes. It helps companies cut costs while also eliminating the need for carrying two smartphones.
BlackBerry devices essentially defined the smartphone when they first came out, and the company’s solid and secure infrastructure meant that enterprises loved them. Early companies just didn’t have this level of security, according to Lazauskas. Unfortunately however, Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) took a while to update its operating system, so it lost many customers.
Now Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s Android operating system hold the lion’s share of the U.S. market share. In fact, several major enterprise customers actually switched away from BlackBerry devices.
BBRY’s Answer To BYOD
Jefferies analysts said last week that Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) is poised to beat Wall Street estimates for its May quarter, so things might be looking up for the struggling Canadian handset maker. Research In Motion is attempting to combat the BYOD movement with its new BlackBerry Balance feature, which enables personal and business data to be kept separate. It even lets IT departments wipe all the company data off a BlackBerry device remotely without affecting the employee’s personal information if he or she quits suddenly or is fired.
This could actually be a positive for the company in light of the BYOD movement, in spite of Lazauskas’s view. Only time will tell if this will be enough to combat the mobile device management systems which offer some similar features and are making it easier for enterprises to let their employees bring their own devices.