Why BlackBerry App World is going to fail

by Volker Weber

Administrators don't like users. They are a nuisance, causing trouble all day long. Life is much easier for the admin, if users can only use applications previously approved by the admin. And it isn't even the admins' fault. They are being held responsible if things go wrong. Better be safe than sorry.

That is also why it does not make much sense to build applications for the BlackBerry. Imagine Sonos. They have an iPhone/iPod controller which is loved to bits and pieces by their customers. Next on the agenda would be the BlackBerry platform. But it does not make sense at all to develop a BlackBerry app for Sonos. It would only be a support nightmare. Admins blocking the App World, admins blocking access to Wi-Fi, admins forcing all traffic through the BES. The solution would fail for so many reasons.


I think this is quite an interesting point and one that may not be unique to Blackberry apps.

In a slightly different vein our company blocks Twitter. In fact it blocks all social networking sites (with the exception of LinkedIn) and recently I have found I cannot even access some of the blogs listed on Planet Lotus because they are deemed to be the same. This is a business decision and not an IT one.

I have also had to be granted special dispensation to be able to install Notes 8 plug-ins from external update sites and I expect that when we roll Notes 8 out restrictions will continue to apply to our regular users.

I'm pretty sure that if the company was to replace our BlackBerry's with iPhones we'd find that if we couldn't block the Appple apps we'd introduce a policy forbidding people from installing them.

Ian Scott, 2009-08-23

I disagree Volker. I think as more and more enterprises support the iPhone, we will see more control of the apple devices than a failure of the Blackberry App World

John Head, 2009-08-23

Right, wrong, or indifferent, that's the difference between a personally-owned consumer device and a company-owned enterprise device. If businesses didn't have to support and make sure everything works, we wouldn't care what the end-user installs. Just my 2 cents worth.

Bruce Currier, 2009-08-23

This also relates to the traditional lack of Apple enterprise sales efforts. They know it's a hassle to be an enterprise vendor and support all the requirements that enterprises will impose. Hence they just let end users do the job for them, because no one wants to tell an executive that his beloved Mac/iPhone can't be used. Total "pull" marketing, brilliant really. No sales expense and no need to bend to the whims of enterprise IT.

Arthur Fontaine, 2009-08-23

A blackberry with BES is *not* a consumer device; it's a company device used by an employee. The boss (or worse: the IT department) decides what can be done. A BES Blackberry is already unusable for fun apps.

So, no difference with a Blackberry app store. The boss still decides. Controlling your Sonos is probably not on your boss' list of required company apps. ;-)

So sales will probably via channels, the PHB or the IT department. Just like with your company laptop.

Eva Quirinius, 2009-08-23

Well, so far I have to thank you for explaing why it is going to fail. ;-)

Volker Weber, 2009-08-23

Would it not be possible to "install" a trusted application verification service that enterprises could trust for blackberries? How are the legal aspects of iphone apps?
As a forced BB user I confirm that it is just painful to have a locked BB, knowing that it could help me in my company live and my private much better.

Stephan Bohr, 2009-08-23

A slight disagreement. The BlackBerry push for consumer use is high here. Opening AppWorld only allows them to compete with the AppStore for iPhones in a real way across all the carriers. The Pearl and Curve are hot commodities among teenagers and they love the social networking apps, games and ringtones. No BES involved, all BIS.

We are lucky enough not to have restrictions on our BES and can do what we wish, but having an admin push some AppWorld apps out would be a wise choice also.

Chris Miller, 2009-08-24

I think the big difference is in how the Blackberry is used in Business versus how the iPhone or newer Blackberry models are used for a personal communications device. Most companies give people a Blackberry and only use it for email and as a phone. There have been a lot of business applications for the Blackberry but the overall adoption of them is most likely really low compared to what a person installs on his or her iPhone. Most Iphone users have three screens or more of frequently used applications.

People that have an iPhone do not even care about push mail, they are too busy using Twitterific or BrightKite for microblogging. Then there is the whole thing with social networking interaction with API's that brings it all together and give you location awareness to boot. Throw in Google apps without the voice and it is still a very compelling device for those that are on the go, and admins, we don't need no stinking admins, it just works! ( I am an Admin day Job, so do not get upset )

It's Web 1.0 versus Web 2.5.x and that is a whole different story.

Game is already over- I think they are looking at China now

Richard Hunter, 2009-08-24

It's always interesting to see people's points of view on this situation.

By default we allow anybody to install whatever crud you want on your devices. When it comes to BES these are company phones; so it's up to the companies to use whatever IT policies that they deem fit. We don't restrict people, we give them the options.

My Personal phone (Curve 8900) I can install whatever I want because there is nothing to stop me. I even block the default carrier apps (sorry Vodafone I don't want your stuff on *my* phone), whereas my work phone (also a Curve 8900 but with unreleased/beta software) I can also install whatever I want, because RIM use it to determine what works and what doesn't.

But because it *is* a work phone I do have to put up with some extra software - such as RIM's own debug and reporting software. I cannot get rid of it. It is governed by the BES policies. And that is exactly how it should be.

If you have an issue with not being allowed to run software like App World then you need to take it up with your bosses... it's not our problem.

Dragon Cotterill, 2009-08-25

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I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


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