iMessage is the BlackBerry killer

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Will the BlackBerry survive the onslaught of iPhone's iMessage and the other features to be unleashed in iOS 5? By Karn G. Bulsuk ...

Will the BlackBerry survive the onslaught of iPhone's iMessage and the other features to be unleashed in iOS 5?

By Karn G. Bulsuk

Read follow up articles: Editorial: Blackberry Messenger (BBM) on iPhone and Android isn't the Cure for RIM's WoesBundle BBM with Android to Sell More Handsets

Here we go again: Steve Jobs announcement of iOS 5, containing features such as an improved notification center, to-do lists and especially iMessage has critics once again sounding the death knell for BlackBerry.

They may have a point this time. iMessage basically destroys any advantage RIM may have had with BlackBerry Messenger (BBM). Not only has the iPhone now exceeded BlackBerry in its core features , it also has the "cool" factor that the BlackBerry lacks. A teenager holding a BlackBerry pecking away on BBM? Pleazeee, that's so 2009.

Investors seem to also be thinking the same. A report on Bloomberg stated that RIM's stock fell on the Nasdaq after Morgan Keegan & Co. downgraded the stock, citing the threat from Apple to RIM’s instant-messaging service.

No Respite from Government and Corporate Users

So what about corporate and government users? The traditional argument was that BlackBerry would continue to dominate these areas because the strength, certification and trustworthiness of their encryption options.

Even there though, BlackBerry's traditional stronghold is slowly being eroded away as Apple gets better at encryption and making sure that data being transmitted between device and server are secure and unreadable. While still not up to CIA standards, the average organization can now deploy iPhones on their networks using hardware based 256 bit AES encryption, which is a very strong industry standard.

The BlackBerry still trumps that with the ability to deploy strong Triple DES encryption in addition to AES, as well as other secure forms of communication. With plenty of security certification, governments still trust BlackBerry more than the iPhone when it comes to matters of national security, but the average organization won't probably need that type of hard core security, making the smoother iPhone a very attractive alternative.

The new Bold was a simple refresh. The Torch was slow and disappointing, while seriously, who owns a PlayBook? With iMessage, the BlackBerry has just lost its ace-in-the-hole.

Unless RIM comes up with something to trump Apple, be it new features, a superior user experience, or a phone which redefines "cool", they may soon join the likes of mobile have-beens like Motorola, relegated to the dustbins of history.

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Karn G. Bulsuk: Full Speed Ahead: iMessage is the BlackBerry killer
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