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Ongoing Challenges for RIM Blackberry

According to iGillottResearch, there is little doubt that Research in Motion (RIM) has enjoyed considerable success with the BlackBerry -- both the push-email experience and the range of devices. At the end of 2005, the company announced that the email service had more than 3.5 million users, and while the majority were in North America, penetration is increasing in overseas markets.

According to the press, BlackBerry users are fiercely loyal and will seemingly tell anyone who will listen about their addiction � in fact, the term �crackberry� is often used to define the user who simply cannot get enough. Look on any plane, in the car rental bus, in the airport or at any major business convention and you will see all manner of shape, design and color of BlackBerries. BlackBerry is now offered by all of the major operators in North America, although several have just begun marketing the products recently and quite reluctantly.

But things are not completely rosy for RIM:

-Recent failures in the email service have been well-publicized and most unwelcome. RIM has always promoted the reliability of the service � the recent problems have shown them to be fallible.

-All of the major device OEMs have devices designed to unseat BlackBerry. While none have managed to do so, it can only be a matter of time. Palm has enjoyed some success with Treo, while Motorola�s Q may be the strongest competitor yet.

-Several companies are increasing the pressure on the BlackBerry push-email service, including Visto, Seven, Good Technology and, of course, Microsoft. Nokia recently stated that it had no plans to acquire RIM (as has been rumored for some time) instead preferring to develop its own internal solution.

-The patent dispute with NTP seems further from resolution than ever and the press is increasingly full of stories about the impending disconnection of the BlackBerry service.

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