BlackBerry Still Dealing with Ban, T-Mobile Thinks RIM is Done for

The maker of the BlackBerry smartphone—Research In Motion (RIM)—still has not come to a deal with the Government of India  regarding encryption on its devices. India had given RIM an ultimatum, either it allow the government access to encrypted emails and messages sent through BlackBerrys in the country, or it would be kicked out. Now according to Bloomberg, India is giving RIM another two months of time to work out a deal on top of the first additional two months it granted in August, when the original deadline expired.

At the same time, T-Mobile does not seem to have much faith in RIM, as leaked documents cited by HTLounge from a high level meeting by carrier employees. The documents show that T-Mobile—like many analysts and certainly most survey takers—believes RIM will continue to keep losing smartphone market share and slip into third place in the US. RIM’s troubles are accentuated by the fact that many of its valuable corporate customers are switching to iPhones and some are even allow employees to use Android OS powered smartphones.

The troubles that RIM has had in the Middle East and India regarding its BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) and the software that it uses, has not helped RIM in investors eyes and certainly many corporate customers are paying close attention. BES uses encryption that only RIM’s corporate clients can decode, and the email data is stored in protected servers in Canada. Because corporate espionage is a very real thing, companies have to make sure that their smartphones are not hackable, and that the data sent between them is secure.

If India forces RIM to allow it access to emails at any time, one of the layers of encryption that corporate customers (and governments too) rely on to keep spies at bay is defeated. RIM is walking a tightrope, and it has to worry about the interests of large companies versus foreign governments. Even if a solution is worked out that allows India to get what it wants without compromising security, who knows what the next demand from a government will be.

T-Mobile thinks RIM is starting to lose corporate customers, foreign governments are at its door citing worries of terrorism to get at its data, and the Storm3 just got canceled. This just does not look to be RIM’s year. I still have hope though. The BlackBerry PlayBook certainly looks like an awesome machine, and who knows, a smaller version just might be the Storm3 we all really want.

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