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30% of corporate BlackBerry users want new device

Dissatisfaction rates high among BlackBerry users in large companies, survey finds

October 21, 2011 06:00 AM ET

Computerworld - The BlackBerry device and its maker, Research in Motion, were in serious trouble even before last week's global service outage.

More than 30% of BlackBerry users in large companies said in September, a month before the outage, that they were looking to use a different smartphone model in 2012, according to a survey of 243 smartphone users in companies with more than 10,000 workers by Enterprise Management Associates (EMA).

"With last week's outage, I suspect the 30% number is even higher," said Steven Brasen, the EMA analyst who conducted the survey. "User satisfaction with BlackBerry is by far the lowest of smartphones. A huge number are dissatisfied."

Brasen said the survey found that 11% of BlackBerry users in large companies are "completely dissastisfied" with the device, while only 2% of iPhone users and 0% of Android users are completely dissatisfied with their smartphones.

Brasen said the opinions of end users are becoming very important to IT executives.

EMA, Forrester and other IT research firms say the majority of new smartphones now used in workplaces are brought in by users who either pay for the smartphones themselves or get reimbursed by their employers.

"The apps are not available on the BlackBerry like they are on the other smartphones and users feel more personally productive on iPhone and Android than with corporate BlackBerry devices," Brasen said.

"Now that end users are taking control, they are moving away from BlackBerry," he added. "It's the end users that are driving IT."

Because of the increasing importance of end-user opinions, the traditional allure of the BlackBerry Enterprise Server and its security and management capabilities to large companies has faded, Brasen said.

The shift to end-user control is behind Brasen's belief that RIM's new BBX operating system introduced on Tuesday is likely to fall flat.

"It's too little, too late," Brasen said of BBX, noting that a heterogeneous platform had been promised in June but was not unveiled until this week's BlackBerry DevCon conference in San Francisco. "I don't see how RIM can radically alter the path they've been on."

Several BlackBerry developers and commenters on the forums on also complained that RIM has not yet given a rollout timetable for QNX OS-based BBX, which is designed to run RIM's PlayBook tablet, smartphones and embedded systems.

"Just look at all of the chatter and disappointment ... regarding the BBX announcement," wrote one commenter, HofstraJet. "RIM has made a lot of promises and hasn't delivered much. I anxiously await the future [and] just hope RIM doesn't make me wait too long."

Ken Dulaney, an analyst at Gartner who on Monday had commended RIM for offering free apps or a free month of support to customers after the outage, said BBX is just a new name for what RIM had been planning for awhile.

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