Much has been written about why Blackberry10 has failed to capture imagination of users and developers however a key point may have been missed during this conversation.
Some of the reasons given for Blackberry’s continued failures include: they were too late for the party, users have already settled on iOS/Android platforms, popular apps are not available, momentum is not with them, their devices don’t appeal to the new generation, old apps don’t run, uncertainly over long term viability of the company etc.
However one factor which has been largely ignored may be the most significant of all. When RIMM (now Blackberry) designed the new Blackberry10 platform, they made such a radical shift that it also guaranteed the new Z10/Q10 devices would not run on the existing legacy Blackberry infrastructure (BES7 servers) that almost every organization had built over the years to support Blackberry devices. The new platform is so different that it would not have mattered if they had called it something other than Blackberry.
So regardless of what features they pack including much admired separation of work and personal space, users can’t buy a new Blackberry device and start using it without also having their IT organization install brand new BES10 servers. And many organizations who have become skeptical of Blackberry in the 1st place, are seeing no overwhelming reason to undertake this massive infrastructure upgrade.
In fact, from an IT perspective there is not upgrade path but rather a migration path. So e.g. any organization who wish to start supporting BB10 devices for their employees must first stand up the new BES10 server in parallel to their legacy Blackberry infrastructure and then start migrating the users from the legacy Blackberry system (BES7 server) to the new BES10 server. They can’t retire the legacy servers unless the very last user (with a new BB10 device) has successfully migrated to the new BES 10 servers. Since the deployment of BB10 involves setting up new infrastructure, IT managers are also evaluating it closely against the competition and their own mobility strategy including BYOD.
Blackberry never became a consumer device but it did become a Smart Phone of choice for the business users. It offered un-paralleled security and a clean out of the box solution that many IT organizations were looking for. With highly secure but easy access to corporate email, it also offered a killer application which made the Smart Phones very popular.
I think if Blackberry had provided support for the new Z10/Q10 devices on their legacy BES7 server, it could have been a different story. Blackberry still has a significant user base around the world with no dearth of long time admirers of Blackberry’s QWERTY keypad. So if Blackberry just had provided an easier upgrade path, perhaps these users would have created a steady demand for the new BB10 devices and kept Blackberry ahead of Windows Phone in market share.
I am not sure if just released Z30 would make any difference in restoring the old glory of Blackberry.