Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM) customers from GoDaddy Group Inc. to asset manager Thames River Capital UK Ltd. are preparing for the worst: the loss of the BlackBerry service their employees depend on to communicate.
RIM’s stock has slumped more than 70 percent in the past year, and tumbled 19 percent on June 29 after the company posted a quarterly loss and delayed the BlackBerry 10 operating system, increasing the pressure on RIM to find a buyer or sell assets. While RIM has built infrastructure to ensure continued service, some customers are devising backup plans as RIM prepares to face shareholders at its annual meeting.
“In the past three months there’s been a lot of concern that the BlackBerry platform won’t be around in the future,” said Maribel Lopez, founder of Lopez Research, a wireless- industry consultant based in San Francisco. “It’s not unheard of for a large phone manufacturer to go out of business.”
Corporate customers, the backbone of RIM’s business, are fortifying contingency plans so they won’t be affected by a possible breakup of the BlackBerry-maker or other setbacks. With millions of employees connecting to the office through mobile e- mail, companies have been eager to establish a fallback or replacement plan, said Avi Greengart, a technology research director at Current Analysis.
Thames River Capital supplies about 140 of its 170 employees with smartphones, most of them BlackBerrys, said Robert Cockerill, head of infrastructure at the London-based money manager. With the delay of BlackBerry 10 and a service contract with RIM expiring this year, Cockerill said he expects much of his staff to switch to Apple Inc.’s (AAPL) iPhone or devices based on Google Inc.’s Android platform.
Cockerill has brought in MobileIron Inc., a Mountain View, California-based developer of software that helps companies manage and protect data on mobile devices and tablets. MobileIron provides security for Thames River Capital including encryption and password protection for non-BlackBerry devices such as iPads, he said.