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The channel will soon be ripe with new and big business potential when flocks of enterprises abandon BlackBerry hardware and the BES 10 platform and seek a new direction, if, that is, they heed Gartner's warning.
According to a Gartner report by analyst Ken Dulaney, 24 percent of more than 400 IT and business leaders surveyed said their users are currently on the BlackBerry smartphone platform. By 2016, the same organizations estimate only 9 percent of their users will operate on a BlackBerry.
If the report's numbers are not telling enough, Gartner's data was collected between Aug. 21 and Aug 30 -- long before BlackBerry revealed its $1.4 billion in annual revenue loss and announced it may go private, two factors the report said will accelerate its already rapid decline.
Enterprises are going to be seeking a new default device, opening up opportunity for channel partners to step in and recommend the next course of action, according to Dulaney.
Part of BlackBerry's enterprise appeal is that certain devices are often offered for free from carriers, Dulaney said. "Companies do not want to go from giving BlackBerry Curves they received for free to an iPhone 5S; that is going to cost a couple hundred dollars."
Robby Hill, founder and CEO of HillSouth, a Florence, S.C.-based solution provider, said an outpouring of enterprises searching for new mobile solutions would present "great potential on the market, and [HillSouth] is looking forward to it."
Hill said rumors around BlackBerry being sold have caused "consumer confidence to be at an all-time low." He added, "It is hard to reassure customers that new products are coming down the pipeline when [details surrounding BlackBerry] are still so fluid."
"BlackBerry just had too many hiccups," said Phil Poje, CEO of Overland Park, Kan.-based solution provider, TechOrchard. "We want to see businesses succeed, but BlackBerry just has not been bringing the innovation."
One BlackBerry "hiccup" was around the company's BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) tool, which was released prematurely at the end of September. Buzz around the new BBM platform alluded it would compete with iOS and Google Android platforms. But, an early release prompting 1.1 million downloads was quickly revoked, and a new rollout has yet to be announced.
"There is a pent-up demand for access to the BBM platform. We were disappointed when BlackBerry was unable to fulfill its own deadline [for release]" Hill said.