BlackBerry faces biz market challenge

Sales representatives help customers with questions about the BlackBerry Torch at an AT&T store in Washington, D.C.

TEXT OF STORY

BILL RADKE: BlackBerry cell phones may be facing the biggest challenge yet to their market dominance among business users. There are reports JPMorgan Chase could soon allow its nearly quarter-million employees to start using iPhones or Android phones for official company messaging and e-mail. And banking giant UBS may do the same.

Marketplace's senior business correspondent Bob Moon reports.


BOB MOON: The BlackBerry has been the king of keyboard phones.

KEN DELANEY: Along comes Apple and introduces touch screen and now everybody wants that because they want to do browsing and other functions.

Gartner Group's Ken Delaney says the BlackBerry is rushing to catch up. Consider its recent sales pitch.

BlackBerry Ad: Look at this. I just need to press the screen for a sec, and all my options are right there. Just look, press, and go. It's that simple.

Delaney says the iPhone and Google's Android smartphones are gaining the edge. Information technology departments favor the BlackBerry as more secure for business communications. But when everybody wants one, including the boss...

DELANEY: They force their IT people to start to support these things, even when they break their security models. So IT is really the tail of the dog here.

And Forrester analyst Ted Schadler says Apple has courted business customers by adding e-mail and security features to its iPhone. Still, he says, Research in Motion has always been innovative with its BlackBerry.

TED SCHADLER: The door's never closed. If you come up with a great new product, a killer product, then people will buy it.

For now, though, Schadler says the BlackBerry needs to fight for a smaller share of the market.

I'm Bob Moon for Marketplace.

About the author

Bob Moon is Marketplace’s senior business correspondent, based in Los Angeles.

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