Yesterday Research in Motion made an announcement about their plans to offer what amounts to BlackBerry OS virtualization software that will allow users of one of the BlackBerry’s biggest competitors as far operating systems go, Windows Mobile 6, to essentially run the BlackBerry OS as a virtual machine. Look at the reaction this news is getting.

Just about everyone is talking about it. Search for BlackBerry on Google News and the first 4 or 5 links are stories about “RIM’s ‘virtual’ BlackBerry” software. BlackBerry Cool even posted a mashup of different news outlets reporting on the market reaction to the news.

It seems to me like RIM is making plans to be around for the long haul…

I think that RIM has realized that in a few years all mobile phones will be smart and even though today the BlackBerry dominates the wireless email market, RIM’s 8 million subscribers is just a rounding error compared to the billions of people walking around with mobile devices.

RIM makes money hand over fist selling BlackBerry handsets which today account for the lion’s share of its profits. The long term play, however, is selling BlackBerry service to the hundreds of millions mobile users that want to get email on their device like a BlackBerry does as compared to the fewer than 10 million that actually own them.

I’ve been saying for years that if you think that RIM is cooking with gas now, you ain’t seen nothing compared to when they switch from a hardware manufacturer with a really cool service to a service provider that makes really cool hardware.

Maybe yesterdays announcement was a glimpse into the future of things to come…