1. anon1727506's Avatar
    RIM looks forward as India, other challenges loom

    * Government demands threaten growth, security reputation

    * Tablet, to compete with iPad, expected by year-end

    * BlackBerry Torch plays catch-up to Google, Apple devices

    * Cellmania purchase to streamline revamped app store

    By Alastair Sharp

    TORONTO, Aug 27 (Reuters) - Research In Motion (RIM.TO), its global growth and its secure-email niche challenged by both rivals and governments, is preparing for a long fight it may yet lose on a shifting battlefield.

    The Canadian company's BlackBerry smartphone was once a byword for safe corporate communication.

    But its North American market share has shrunk as some core clients loosen security specifications to let employees use alternatives like Apple's (AAPL.O) iPhone and devices running Google's (GOOG.O) Android operating system.

    And RIM's new BlackBerry Torch touchscreen phone, a possible rival to the iPhone, has met a muted reception. In a parallel challenge, India and other countries are seeking enhanced access to BlackBerry emails and instant messages.

    "Apple and Android have changed the world RIM created," said Iain Grant, the head of telecom consultancy SeaBoard Group. "But they're actually expanding the universe more than they are cannibalizing it."



    RIM launched the Torch amid unusual fanfare this month as it sought to reinvigorate its image with consumers amid a shrinking divide between devices for business and pleasure.

    But the high-profile launch failed to drum up even a hint of the excitement generated by Apple launches and no one lined up for hours at a flagship store -- RIM doesn't even have one.

    The Torch, which combines the familiar RIM keyboard with the sexier touchscreen and an updated operating system, may be a slow-burn device that catches up with competitors rather than overtaking them, but it's not an Apple-style revolution.

    In its efforts to catch up, RIM has purchased an application storefront company called Cellmania to grow its revamped BlackBerry App World, whose 9,000-odd offerings are eclipsed by Apple's 200,000-plus third-party applications.

    Cellmania, bought for an undisclosed price, will give RIM a way to track downloaded content and let users have charges included in regular phone bills. Its clients include AT&T (T.N), which has exclusive U.S. rights to the Torch, Australia's Telstra (TLS.AX) and Spain's Telefonica (TEF.MC).

    RIM has also claimed the web domain www.blackpad.com, in what industry-watchers speculate is a preparatory move toward launching a tablet computer of the same name this year -- perhaps a secure, business-friendly rival to the iPad.

    STILL ADVANTAGES

    While RIM's share price has slid to its lowest since March 2009 and analysts fret about its prospects, most still recognize RIM's advantages as a provider of secure emails.

    The shares were at $45.60 on the Nasdaq on Friday morning, down almost 40 percent from peaks above $75 in March. In the same period Apple is up slightly and Google has shed 20 percent.

    "I talk to the most risk-averse type of users, like defense contractors, and they would not even consider going outside of RIM," said Wunderlich Securities analyst Matthew Robison.

    But RIM's security-focused reputation is also crimping its expansion, as governments seek greater access to its messages for fear militants can use BlackBerrys to plan attacks, or users will communicate in ways that breach social norms.

    India has threatened to ban BlackBerry services unless RIM grants it access to enterprise email traffic, something RIM says it cannot provide.

    In the Middle East, a lack of access also raises fears about spies, assassins or Islamic militants, and talk of future curbs on the BlackBerry service.

    Saudi Arabia, fretful its young use the Messenger service to breach conventions discouraging contact between unrelated men and women, has reached a deal with RIM on the service, a consumer product outside of the secure corporate domain.

    But a perception of special treatment to any one country, something RIM repeatedly denies, only adds to the pressure.

    "They have to create the construct that makes it politically viable for those regulators," Robison said.

    India, with one million of RIM's 41 million BlackBerrys, is one of the world's fastest growing mobile markets and its imminent rollout of 3G networks will only increase the appetite for smartphones, analysts say.

    As RIM pointed out in a diplomatic statement on Thursday, other devices can send encrypted messages too.

    Wunderlich's Robison said he is watching Intel's (INTC.O) $7.7 billion bid for security software maker McAfee (MFE.N), expected to close by December, as the biggest long-term threat to RIM's secure data dominance.

    "I look at that as the industry marshaling against RIM...it does show you the interest in the industry to try to counter what they offer with the BlackBerry network," he said.
    Didn't realize that Intel buying McAfee might be a threat to RIM's Secure data dominance.... would have like to know what that meant.
    08-29-10 09:00 PM
  2. californiablackberry's Avatar
    Wow.
    10 Char.
    08-29-10 09:02 PM
  3. i7guy's Avatar
    I think they are referring to securing the data in the cloud, in a way that protects users' data as strongly as RIM, but makes it easy for governments get the information they need.
    08-29-10 09:03 PM
  4. sijugk's Avatar
    Complete secure message sending no longer work for RIM because of the different government interests. As we can see Governments of UAE, Saudi, India etc are asking permission to get in to the messages send via blackberry and check each and every one. If Governments cannot digest the idea of safe secure Information transfer, it is not possible to maintain a secure messaging service.
    08-30-10 12:32 AM
  5. anon1727506's Avatar
    Complete secure message sending no longer work for RIM because of the different government interests. As we can see Governments of UAE, Saudi, India etc are asking permission to get in to the messages send via blackberry and check each and every one. If Governments cannot digest the idea of safe secure Information transfer, it is not possible to maintain a secure messaging service.
    I bet that the only reason you do not have western nations asking for the keys is they already have them....

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    08-30-10 06:35 AM
  6. CanuckBB's Avatar
    You can because RIM does not have the BES encryption keys. For BES, the best RIM can do is allow the interception of the encrypted data stream that transits through the BES infrastructure.
    08-30-10 06:40 AM
  7. JRSCCivic98's Avatar
    You can because RIM does not have the BES encryption keys. For BES, the best RIM can do is allow the interception of the encrypted data stream that transits through the BES infrastructure.
    And with that said, what good is RIM's sales points on why BES is still the best mobile solution to securing data. They are allowing data to be intercepted just like anyone else would allow encrypted data to be intercepted. Up until now, BES traffic as safe from prying eyes to some extent (even though it was encrypted) because it travelled in a semi-VPN type way between the BES server on the corporate network and the RIM NOC. Now RIM's putting in PROXY servers in various locations between these two points which act as way stations for people to intercept the data and see it.

    I guess what I mean to say is... with the most recent transitions that RIM's making to their infrastructure and its security, it's turning it into nothing any different then ANY OTHER mobile solution on the market, meaning that their PR foothold on the whole "mobile security" sales pitch/idea they had is moot. All the NOC and BES/BIS servers are good for now is saving battery life when polling the email accounts you configure within them... nothing more.
    08-30-10 11:54 PM
  8. belfastdispatcher's Avatar
    I'm sure many laws have changed since BES first came out, governments demand things and they have to be met.
    Look at motorcycles, demand was for them to ride with lights on and now, at least in europe there's no switch to turn them off. If something becomes illegal with the stroke of a pen what can you do but comply.
    I my opinion BES was never really about the data traffic security but more about controlling what the employee does with the company phone while making sure the communications are instant.
    Forcing a password on a device is probably one of the best things BES can do. How many people would turn password off in it came on every time the light went out? Probably 99% of people would, BES makes sure you can't.

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    08-31-10 08:13 AM
  9. i7guy's Avatar
    In addition, BES stops casual snooping of data, which is what this is all about. It makes it difficult to hack your data streams, and even with the outsourced network centers, its still difficult.
    08-31-10 08:51 AM
  10. JRSCCivic98's Avatar
    I'm sure many laws have changed since BES first came out, governments demand things and they have to be met.
    Look at motorcycles, demand was for them to ride with lights on and now, at least in europe there's no switch to turn them off. If something becomes illegal with the stroke of a pen what can you do but comply.
    I my opinion BES was never really about the data traffic security but more about controlling what the employee does with the company phone while making sure the communications are instant.
    Forcing a password on a device is probably one of the best things BES can do. How many people would turn password off in it came on every time the light went out? Probably 99% of people would, BES makes sure you can't.

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    ActiveSync has the same security policy option. They have for sevel years...

    In addition, BES stops casual snooping of data, which is what this is all about. It makes it difficult to hack your data streams, and even with the outsourced network centers, its still difficult.
    So does SSL...


    I'm not dogging you guys, just trying to put this into perspective for everyone. It used to be that BB was the epitome of "privatized security" for the mobile platform. Now... not so much. You can't argue that RIM's primary selling point of BB was absolute security of data transmissions to their mobile platform. IT security policies pushed to the handset (i.e. handset control) was an added benefit, but security was always their primary benefit. Since the tables have been turned, that no longer holds true and the BB platform is being brought closer to the same level playing field as ALL other smartphones have been on since they were designed. Couple this with the extra costs associated with the BES licensing infrastructure and BB doesn't seem so hot anymore for some companies... no?
    08-31-10 03:58 PM
  11. Crucial_Xtreme's Avatar
    ActiveSync has the same security policy option. They have for sevel years...



    So does SSL...


    I'm not dogging you guys, just trying to put this into perspective for everyone. It used to be that BB was the epitome of "privatized security" for the mobile platform. Now... not so much. You can't argue that RIM's primary selling point of BB was absolute security of data transmissions to their mobile platform. IT security policies pushed to the handset (i.e. handset control) was an added benefit, but security was always their primary benefit. Since the tables have been turned, that no longer holds true and the BB platform is being brought closer to the same level playing field as ALL other smartphones have been on since they were designed. Couple this with the extra costs associated with the BES licensing infrastructure and BB doesn't seem so hot anymore for some companies... no?
    You're entirely correct JR. It's always been advertised as "most secure". Secure from hackers, prying eyes, encrypted with the ability to block applications and websites from employee's devices basically locking down the entire device to the admin's discretion and of course remote wipe if lost or stolen.

    I'm not going to comment on the whole overseas deal and foreign gov's wanting to snoop on their citizens, but personally...
    08-31-10 04:16 PM
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