If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. That’s the approach BlackBerry maker Research In Motion is taking with its ailing smartphone market. The company has announced that it will be offering an easy way to get iPhones and Android users plugged into its enterprise tools.

The move by the once-dominant force in the business smartphone industry illustrates the relevance that Apple and Google have made in a sector that was almost entirely owned by RIM not that long ago.

Perhaps more importantly, this may well be the first sign of RIM trying to move away from offering hardware, in an attempt to concentrate on the software and security their past successes were built on.

RIM hopes to have its Mobile Fusion device management software ready by March, but has not released any information about pricing, other than to say it will be “competitive with the competition.” While Apple offers enterprise technology for bulk device management, RIM’s Mobile Fusion will supposedly be the first cross-platform mobile management tool available.

With more and more workers turning to their personal iPhones in preference to their often clunky BlackBerry devices, the move to offering the crown jewels for other platforms could well be the one thing that can save RIM moving forward. If the company also opens up its BlackBerry Messenger SMS replacement and iMessage competitor to Android and iOS, you do have to wonder what the future will hold for the Crackberry.

You can read the full press release from RIM for more information on Mobile Fusion.

[Reuters]

  • About time. BBM > iMessage. iMessage is regular SMS with blue bubbles. Other than that I don’t know what software RIM will offer that will shine over any Native iOS app or Native Android App. From a business stand point, its the best move they can make. I’d pay a few bucks to have BBM on my iPhone.

    • “iMessage is regular SMS with blue bubbles.” Really? Because I don’t remember being able to send SMS from my iPad or Mac. Thank goodness for those blue bubbles giving me that functionality!

  • This is the BB’s first step to exile (outside of a total lack of innovation, of course).

  • Finally RIMs doing something creative. Their handsets suck and it would be very nice to have BBM again- but on my iPhone. I would prefer BBM over iMessage any day