RIM Keeps Software Deals Rolling

from the 31-flavors-of-email dept

Research In Motion announced its latest licensing deal this morning, saying Palm would use BlackBerry Connect on its Treo 650 smartphone. RIM’s been plugging away with these sorts of deals for quite some time, with pretty much every major phone manufacturer having licensed the BlackBerry software for use on their devices — even though just a few have actually implemented the software on their devices. There’s been long-running speculation that RIM would eventually emphasize software and service sales over device sales, if not quit selling devices completely, and the company’s slowing subscriber growth has intensified the questions. But looking at the RIM deal a little more closely highlights the financial problems a move away from devices would create, not the least of which that it currently earns 3 times as much from hardware sales as it does from services and fees. In light of this, it’s somewhat surprising that RIM licenses its software at all, but reportedly its carrier customers insist that devices they sell support as many email platforms as possible so IT departments can avoid being locked in to either particular devices or services. Add RIM’s ongoing patent dispute to its resurgent competitors and it’s a pretty pivotal time for the company (registration required). But while many people focus on Microsoft as its main rival, it’s got a number of other rivals whose support for a wide range of devices may be more formidable.

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