Much has been written about why Blackberry10 has failed to capture the imagination of users and developers. However, a key point may have been missed during this conversation.
Some of the reasons given for Blackberry’s continued failures include:
- They were too late for the party
- Users have already settled on iOS/Android platforms
- Popular apps are not available
- Momentum is not with them
- Their devices don’t appeal to the new generation
- Older apps don’t run
- Uncertainty over the long-term viability of the company
However, one factor that has been largely ignored may be the most significant of all. When Research in Motion (now Blackberry) designed the new Blackberry10 platform, they made such a radical shift that it also guaranteed the new Z10/Q10 devices would not run on the existing legacy Blackberry infrastructure (BES7 servers) that almost every organization built over the years to support Blackberry devices. The new platform is so different that it would not have mattered if they had called it something other than Blackberry.
So regardless of what features they pack – including the much-admired separation of work and personal space – users can’t buy a new Blackberry device and start using it without also having their IT organization install brand new BES10 servers. And many organizations that have become skeptical of Blackberry in the first place are seeing no overwhelming reason to undertake this massive infrastructure upgrade.
In fact, from an IT perspective, there is not upgrade path. Instead it’s a migration path. For example, any organization that wishes to start supporting BB10 devices for their employees must first stand up the new BES10 server in parallel to their legacy Blackberry infrastructure and then start migrating their users from the legacy Blackberry system (BES7 server) to the new BES10 server. They can’t retire the legacy servers unless the very last user (with a new BB10 device) has successfully migrated to the new BES 10 servers. Since the deployment of BB10 involves setting up new infrastructure, IT managers are also evaluating it closely against the competition and their own mobility strategy, including “bring your own device” (BYOD).
Blackberry never became a consumer device, but it did become a smartphone of choice for business users. It offered unparalleled security and a clean out-of-the-box solution that many IT organizations wanted. With highly secure and easy access to corporate email, it also offered a killer application that made smartphones very popular.
If Blackberry had provided support for the new Z10/Q10 devices on their legacy BES7 server, it could have been a different story. Blackberry still has a significant user base around the world with no dearth of long-time admirers of Blackberry’s QWERTY keypad. So if Blackberry would just provide an easier upgrade path, perhaps these users would create a steady demand for the new BB10 devices and keep Blackberry ahead of Windows Phone in market share.
Let’s hope that the just-released Z30 will make difference in restoring the old glory of Blackberry.
This post originally appeared at on SAP Community Network.