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November 16, 2021

Watch out, RIM -- Apple warming up to corporate market

Today was supposed to be a good day for Research In Motion.

IPad2_iOS5_Hero_PIPHv2After all, however sorry it may be that this now passes as good news for the company, a big headline on the Star.com read last night, “RIM shares briefly outperform Apple.”

Yes, you could see it now. Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, with their stock forecast upgrade and fancy new operating system, had to be feeling pretty good. Chests puffed out. Cigars freshly lit. The works.

Only, then, you read this feature in the New York Times, and suddenly the BlackBerry maker seems like the Titanic circa early April, 1912, all over again.

Indeed, at the same time RIM seemed to be making back some ground against its arch rival, an article in the NYT suggests Apple is now targeting, and already conquering, the one arena where BlackBerry still wears the crown.

*Bing: How BlackBerry can bounce back

According to the Times, Apple is making inroads much more effectively with the corporate world today, already being adopted by several major companies with countless others knocking on the door.

Of the Fortune 500 companies, Apple execs said last month, 92 per cent are now testing or deploying iPads to employees, while a further 93 per cent are testing or deploying iPhones. Lowe’s, the DIY warehouse mega-chain, recently bought 42,000 iPhones to be used by workers on its store floors, and all pilots flying United and Continental Airlines are being issued iPads for use in the cockpit.

Certainly, this must feel like the tightening of the noose for RIM. While it will still hold a massive get-there-first market share among businesses and corporations, Apple is proving that the BlackBerry and PlayBook (alright, nobody’s using the PlayBook) aren’t the only tech devices capable for use in the business world.

What’s interesting to note is what was behind Apple’s failure to capitalize on the corporate sector in the first place.

The Times reports that the late Steve Jobs, Apple’s founder and longtime cantankerous CEO, had little respect for large companies and tailoring to their needs, even calling chief execs “orifices” at a conference back in 2005.

Yet with Jobs’ passing, Apple may be finally rounding the corner into corporate turf. Former COO and current boss Tim Cook has long been the man that dealt with corporate customers at Apple, and is known to be far more at ease catering to the business crowd than his predecessor.

One important note: the secrecy that makes Apple great for the consumer market may hinder its adoption into the corporate realm. The Times notes that while a cloud of mystery as to where Apple products are headed only piques interest among everyday shoppers, big companies with big budgets to manage won’t much care for not knowing where their business IT is going – or how much it may cost.

Though those are problems with solutions for Apple. Today, at least, the answers for RIM don’t seem so apparent.

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...