Over the last week or so, I’ve noticed that there are an awful lot of posts here on RIMarkable about BlackBerry Connect. So many so that I have created a new category called BlackBerry Connect. Now, if you don’t know what BlackBerry Connect is, it basically is a service from Research in Motion that allows you to connect to BlackBerry Enterprise Server or BlackBerry Internet Service from a non BlackBerry device. Think of using iTunes to buy music but not using an iPod to listen to it.
If you go back in time you will notice that a year ago the the providers offering BlackBerry Connect were far and few in between, but as time went by, the offering became more and more common. Today, BlackBerry Connect is offered on 12 or so different devices and a provider or two a week, primarily abroad, announces that they will provide the service.
Research in Motion could see their BlackBerry subsciber base increase dramatically in the United States once carriers start offering the service. If there is one thing that Americans love, it is choice. There is a saying that goes something like, “You should be able to find 2 to3 versions of anything worth having.” This definately could be the case if if all the rumors about BlackBerry Connect coming to the Treo, the Nokia 9300 and 9500, and the infamous RazrBerry that still has yet to be officially announced, are true.
If you remember, about a month ago I posted an entry about being worried about Research in Motion. For some of the same reasons that I am worried, I also see a huge opportunity for RIM. Microsoft, undoubtedly is the biggest threat to the BlackBerry’s dominance atop of the mobile email mole hill. At the same time, Microsoft could be RIM’s biggest benefactor.
I do not think it is Microsoft’s goal to see a Windows Mobile device in the hands of every human on earth. I do think, however, it is Microsoft’s goal to see every mobile device on earth run Windows Mobile. If Research in Motion can effectively change their business from being a hardware vendor first and and service provider second to the visa versa of that, they can make a lot of money on Windows Mobile powered devices that can connect to BES or BIS.
Microsoft probably could care less if you connect to Exchange 2003 via BES and BlackBerry Connect or via Service Pack 2 for Exchange 20003. BES actually requires an additional Windows Server running Exchange so they actually drive more license revenue when you use BES anyway. Remember, SP2 for Exchange 2003 is free. Microsoft wins no matter how you connect to Exchange.
If Research in Motion can get BlackBerry Connect figured out in the U.S., especially on Windows Mobile powered devices, BlackBerry Connect, truly could be the next big thing for RIM.