Not according to Bryan Lee, RIM’s director of U.S. enterprise accounts. “It’s a new future for us,” he said in a pre-launch interview.
Lee and his staff have been involve in two pre-launch programs: A technical review for 130 select large organizations that helps them install BES 10 and use early versions of the handset; and an open ready program for all-comers (1,600 signed up) that lets them trade in client licences for older BlackBerry Enterprise Service for BES 10 and advises them on installing it.
Customers in the program have received BES 10 very well, he reports, and are enthusiastic about the handset capabilities.
Still, Mark Tauschek, lead research analyst Info-Tech Research, says the company’s Canadian corporate and government customers are largely in “wait and see” mode before getting behind the new platform.
“I think in a lot of cases they’re more concerned about the overall health of the company than they are about BB10 and new devices.”
“What I’m telling them that the one compelling thing about BB10 is how they’ve integrated BlackBerry Balance with BES 10,” which lets users separate personal and corporate data on handsets. It means subscribers don’t have to carry separate devices, and it adds to security.
“That is for me the biggest opportunity for RIM to enterprises.”
Some 18 million of RIM’s 79 million subscribers are enterprise customers. It’s vital these upgrade their handsets as soon as possible to BB10. RIM’s second target are so-called pro-sumers who are willing to pay for a leading edge handset.
To give an idea of RIM [TSX: RIM] sales, remember that in the fiscal quarter that ended Dec. 1, it shipped 6.9 million BB6/7 handsets in three months. It shipped 7.4 million in the quarter before that.
For its most recent fiscal quarter – that included Christmas – Apple sold a record 47.8 million iPhones (and many investors were disappointed – go figure).
We’ll likely know before the end of the year if BB10 is RIM’s savior.
(Editor's note: Legally the company will still be called RIM until July when the name change is official)