RIM Admits Defeat, Starts Making iOS Software

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Research in Motion — roundly clobbered in the smartphone and tablet market — is now trying to hang onto its core enterprise customers. It’s formula is to concede defeat by Apple and Android, then sell its rivals’ victory as a reason to stay with the Waterloo, Ont. company.

In a statement this morning, RIM announced its Mobile Fusion BlackBerry Enterprise Server software would “bring together” mobile device management for the BlackBerry, as well as the iPhone and smartphones based on Google’s Android software. A RIM vice-president for enterprise product management told Reuters the company wants to become “the defacto platform” for mobile device security used by business.

Mobile Fusion lets corporations set rules for passwords, apps and software allowed across a number of mobile devices, including Apple’s iPhone and iPad, as well as Android and RIM devices.

Alan Panezic said RIM would not bypass the security already offered by iOS and Android products, pledging the company will not “hold that back in any way, shape or form.” Analysts view the move as too late to spark any interest in RIM’s BlackBerry devices.

“It will help stem the tide of those companies that may have considered eliminating their [BlackBerry Enterprise Server] but it won’t help sell more phones,” Gartner analyst Phillip Redman said. Once a ubiquitous sight in corporate offices, the BlackBerry is slowly giving way to the iPhone, recent studies found. A Good Technology survey found companies have a “clear preference for Apple products,” perhaps the leading edge of shift rocking RIM’s world.

After RIM’s co-CEOs Mike Lazridis and Jim Balsillie were almost tossed out by angry investors, the company cut 2,000 workers. RIM saw its profits fall 47 percent as only 200,000 PlayBook tablets shipped during the last quarter. The company had trumpeted its tablet as “end of amateur hour.” The firm’s once steady hold on the business market slipped in the U.S. as its marketshare between May and August dropped to 19.7 percent.