It's about security, stupid
BlackBerry has relied on its reputation for security to secure its position in the enterprise mobility market, but that argument is not swaying employees who are purchasing the smartphones.
What's more, many enterprises are deciding that the security of these other devices is good enough.
Golvin observed that RIM has built BlackBerry and BES with security as the foundation.
"I think they have done an excellent job. I don't think any of the competitors can argue that they have a superior platform to BlackBerry in terms of security," said Golvin. "What they have argued is that their security is adequate to meet enterprise requirements."
"There are verticals that have more stringent security requirements, and BlackBerry may continue to dominate in those verticals because of their security. But those represent a minority of the organizations out there...The security argument won't win them back a ton of customers in the other industries where they have lost share," Golvin added.
Borg noted that the enterprise's concept of security has changed over the last few years.
"In the old days, it was about lock down and control. That is why BES was so perfect," he said.
But in today's ecosystem, security is about risk management, he said.
"If you have a lock down, you can't do BYOD. You have to look at measured risk. You have to look at different levels of security based on the job, location, and access," Borg said.
The security issue for the enterprise is not just about iOS and Android versus BlackBerry, "but iOS and Android managed by value-added services that make them secure. That is the BYOD world. How will RIM do there? I don't know," Borg said. These value-added services include mobile device management products.
RIM has done some good things as far as security is concerned, said Dulaney, but about 60 percent of his clients are just using Exchange ActiveSync. The remaining enterprises bought MDM tools and don't require additional security from RIM.
"It's a niche market right now," he said. "Most customers don't know what they need in terms of security."
"A lot of RIM's success in the past has been due to their ability to sell to the IT manager in these organizations that have been strong BlackBerry adopters based on the strength of the platform in terms of the manageability of the devices, the security of the platform, etc," said Golvin.
"But as we shift to the BYOD world, those arguments are not as powerful as they once were and they are misdirected because more and more the buyer of the device is the end user in the enterprise, rather than the IT manager," Golvin noted.
To return to the question posed at the beginning of the article: Can RIM reclaim its once dominant position in the enterprise? The analysts have answered with a resounding… probably not.
These analysts agree that RIM has made some nifty improvements with its BlackBerry 10 OS and BES 10 server--changes that will make IT administrators drool. Unfortunately, they are no longer determining enterprise mobility decisions; the employees are. And the employees--consumers--are flocking to Apple and Android devices in droves.