It really seems like RIM thinks there is something to this employee liable device trend. Their latest attempt to grasp that market is with a new push called “BlackBerry Balance” that RIM introduced at a business event in Boston. I was always curious why these larger companies would care about employee liable devices but maybe they are hoping to cash in on the devices their employees already have. That way employees that cannot justify a work paid device can have a home on their own BlackBerry.
RIM has been trying to do this by separating the business and personal parts on the BlackBerry but it has definitely been a work in progress. For example, there is still no good way to have two different contact lists on a BlackBerry. RIM has the functionality there but doesn’t give us access to it.
The other thing RIM is pushing is MVS which got a nice push with Wi-Fi calling. I still think RIM could make it way more relevant if they added built in VoIP over 3G but then the carriers would no longer love RIM. On the other hand RIM allows carriers like AT&T to charge a $10-$15 markup for BES plans so maybe they care more about carriers than customers.
I think RIM’s biggest play in the employee liable market would be if they added ActiveSync support in BIS. For example, imagine if you could get access to corporate email, contacts, and more without a BES pro or express server and all the overhead associated with it. Now that would be a great way to introduce small businesses to the BlackBerry solution. That way when they wanted more features they could upgrade up the ladder to BES.
What do you think of RIM’s BlackBerry Balance approach? Can you think of a specific case where it would help you?