Apple may have killed the BlackBerry

Don Reisinger thinks RIM is in trouble. Has the 3G iPhone killed the BlackBerry?

During the first hour of Steve Jobs' keynote at WWDC , I was wondering why I was wasting my afternoon listening to his stooges drone on about software. But then, in a moment of pure triumph, Steve walked onto the stage and unveiled the new 3G iPhone.

Sure, it was exactly what we expected (minus the MMS), but it also was a call to arms. Instead of maintaining its status as the consumer's cell phone, the iPhone is now the every-person's cell phone and has RIM firmly centered in its sights.

RIM may be the leader in the enterprise market right now and companies like Microsoft will constantly claim that they can hold their own, but rest assured that this is a two horse race. And although the BlackBerry has led the way, Steve Jobs just dealt a decisive blow that will not only force RIM to capitulate, but could see the end of the BlackBerry line altogether.

It may sound extreme at first glance, but trust me, Apple has pushed all the right buttons and played its match perfectly. And as long as the company can get through July without any hiccups, RIM will be left out in the cold.

So why do I have such high praise for the new 3G iPhone? Isn't it just an updated version of the same old thing we've been using for the past year? Isn't it just the logical evolution of a product that seemed all too overwhelming last year and so underwhelming today?

No.

The 3G iPhone is the first real salvo Apple has fired at RIM. RIM has told the world that it believes that it has the best horse in the race. Sure, it may right now. But on July 11, I just don't see how the company could even hint that it still does.

First and foremost, the 3G iPhone will be quicker. And while RIM already has some delightfully fast BlackBerrys on the market, none are the iPhone.

Secondly, the iPhone will soon allow companies and individuals alike, to create and install applications from third-parties. And while RIM already has some third-party applications for the BlackBerry and a similar, albeit less sophisticated, program, it's not the iPhone.

Thirdly, the iPhone will offer the kind of business functionality enterprises have been waiting for. And although RIM is easily the most business-friendly company in the space right now and its BlackBerry is the product of choice for many professionals, it's not the iPhone.

Do you see what I'm getting at here?

What Apple has announced with the iPhone is nothing revolutionary. In fact, I would argue that most of what it has done is simply a response to the best practices RIM has already instituted in its business model.

Simply put, the BlackBerry is not the iPhone. Regardless of the fact that it offers most of the same features as your favorite BlackBerry and copies much of the BlackBerry ways, the iPhone is the iPhone.

In the consumer space, the iPhone reigns supreme. Prior to Apple's decision to make it more business-friendly, it was still the top device for consumers and the added benefits are icing on the cake.

In the enterprise space, the BlackBerry stayed on top because companies couldn't do half of what they wanted with the iPhone as they could on a RIM product. They may have wanted to try something new, but for the past year, it was simply impossible.

Now, all that has changed.

For the first time, the iPhone is wildly appealing to both consumers and businesses while the BlackBerry is left out in the cold.

Sure, RIM's phones may be nice and work extremely well, but what do they really offer now that can make anyone pick a BlackBerry over an iPhone? Apple not only commands public mindshare, its product looks remarkably more advanced than a BlackBerry when sitting next to it.

In other words, now that the iPhone has all of the same business-friendly features we've come to expect from the BlackBerry, but it offers more of the features we want in a consumer-friendly phone, why would we pick the BlackBerry?

Certainly some anti-Apple folks will come up with some (ludicrous) reasons, but if you consider the average person who isn't as tech-savvy as those people, I simply don't see them picking up a BlackBerry if it's sitting next to the iPhone.

Steve Jobs may have killed the BlackBerry today. Now we just need to wait and see.

For more on what Don is up to, follow him on Twitter by clicking here!

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About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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