The United Arab Emirates, and laterally Saudi Arabia, have announced that they intend to block several functions on Blackberry. This can only be a good thing for RIM in my view whilst it obviously it isn’t great for the RIM country managers sales figures for those two markets. Here’s the rub…
Android has come in from left field in the last two years and it is starting to erode Blackberry market share. Blackberry has also been coming under sustained pressure from the iPhone for a number of years which is no secret. Whilst both Android and iPhone are generally a big noise in consumer sales the corporate space has, up until now, been owned by Blackberry.
That corporate space has begun to look a little shaky from RIM’s perspective of late as Apple fanboi executives have begun to demand that their iPhones be hooked up to the corporate network. High profile corporate defections to Apple such as Standard Chartered will have caused a few sleepless nights in the suburbs of Waterloo, Ontario where RIM are based.
That is why the blocking of Blackberry services in the Gulf States is PR manna from heaven for RIM. It helps them remind those corporate, and to a large extent government customers why they chose Blackberry in the first place. That reason is security. All traffic between the Blackberry and Blackberry Enterprise Server is encrypted, including over the mobile operators network.
It is so secure in fact that its one of a very few mobile devices accredited by CESG. The iPhone on the other hand is not, which is why you won’t be seeing Malcolm Tucker’s replacement with one glued to his face as he tells someone they have “laid a big fat egg of solid fuck”, or words to that effect.
In this world of internet security paranoia those large corporate and government customers won’t be getting rid of Blackberry anytime soon. The Arabs have just reminded them why that would be a bad decision.