Does RIM move from Hardware to Software Model?

BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIM) pushes into Windows Mobile reports Telephony Online. As it sets out to create a BlackBerry Virtual Machine, this would imply a move from a hardware-driven to a software-driven business model but RIM is playing this down: they say they will continue to build their Blackberry devices and merely react to market demand.

Analysts seem sceptical as loading the BlackBerry software onto a Windows-powered phone is apparently tougher than it sounds. They also claim that vendors may be reluctant to include it in their phone's basic software stack, and carriers may be reluctant to support it.

And that seems logical: a few years ago there had not been any alternative, so everyone might have played along. However, now alternatives, most prominently from mighty MSFT itself (Microsoft ActiveSync), are here, and one wonders if it will be just as easy. Given Blackberry's cult following and the wariness towards Microsoft's dominance, one cannot help but wish for a powerful competitor. However, it might very well be that RIM fell for the old Apple mistake, i.e. trying to marry hardware and software for too long: once the real world has moved on and worked around proprietary systems (even if they are superior), there is no winning anymore.


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