Businesses Brace for BlackBerry Migration

Research In Motion, brace yourself for more gloom and doom.

Businesses have begun to enact contingency plans for their employees with BlackBerry devices, according to a report in Bloomberg. For instance, Thames River Capital is preparing for various scenarios, including where BlackBerry service may be shut down, Robert Cockerill, head of infrastructure at the London-based company, told the news agency.

For years, BlackBerry has been a popular smartphone choice for corporate and government employees with the need for email, instant messaging and other communications. But demand for BlackBerry has waned as competing phones such as the iPhone have lured professionals and others who want to use their device for personal and business purposes.

According to data from The Yankee Group, the percentage of IT decision makers who say RIM will be their preferred operating system has plummeted from 38 percent in the second quarter of 2011 to 19 percent a year later. IDC recently forecast that RIM’s global share based on mobile operating systems will decline to 13.4 percent in 2015 from 14.2 percent in 2011.

“With a buoyant market and a lot of innovation around managed enterprise mobile services, RIM is on a very slippery slope,” Yankee Group senior analyst Chris Marsh said, commenting in prepared remarks on Bloomberg’s report.

RIM management on Tuesday had the unenviable task of facing frustrated shareholders during its annual meeting in Waterloo, Ontario. Shares have fallen about 70 percent over the last year.

One activist shareholder, Vic Alboini of Jaguar Financial, told the media “now is the time” to look at selling the BlackBerry maker, the Toronto Sun reported. Jaguar was critical of RIM’s former co-CEOs, Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, and had pressured the company to sell itself.

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