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Is RIM's Centralized Network Model Broken?

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the packet-switching-will-never-catch-on dept.

Blackberry 104

wiredmikey writes "Is RIM's centralized network model broken? Andrew Jaquith thinks so, and provides an interesting analysis on why RIM should move to a decentralized model. After two long outages this month, many believe that the end is drawing near for Research in Motion, maker of the BlackBerry. But is Research In Motion in trouble? Financially, RIM continues to be a healthy company, throwing off billions in profit each year. But if it doesn't 'think different' about its network strategy, its customers may think different about their choice of handset vendor, Jaquith argues. Jaquith says RIM should dismantle its proprietary centralized delivery network, something that has been a key strength for the company. Data plans that provide TCP/IP over wireless carrier networks are now ubiquitous, nullifying a key RIM advantage. Does BlackBerry need to rethink its network model to effectively compete moving forward?"

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Is RMS's rim broken? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37905128)

lolwut

Re:Is RMS's rim broken? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37905210)

lolwut

You appear to have spelled "halfwit" incorrectly.

Ofc it is! they will do better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37905164)

if they put a server in every country. That way they can avoid the so called "judicial" issues in countries like Saudi Arabia, UAE, China, Egypt, Russia etc.. and get a decentralized network at the same time. They can also follow Google's example. Every time I log into Gmail, it passes thru google.com.sa for authentication i.e. my password and authentication info are stored on a server with a local address!

Re:Ofc it is! they will do better (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#37905812)

Every time I log into Gmail, it passes thru google.com.sa for authentication i.e. my password and authentication info are stored on a server with a local address!

The TLD of course doesn't tell you where the server actually is. This is what this domain resolves to:

google.com.sa has address 74.125.39.103
google.com.sa has address 74.125.39.104
google.com.sa has address 74.125.39.105
google.com.sa has address 74.125.39.106
google.com.sa has address 74.125.39.147
google.com.sa has address 74.125.39.99
google.com.sa mail is handled by 10 google.com.s9b2.psmtp.com.
google.com.sa mail is handled by 10 google.com.s9a1.psmtp.com.
google.com.sa mail is handled by 10 google.com.s9a2.psmtp.com.
google.com.sa mail is handled by 10 google.com.s9b1.psmtp.com.

Now looking up the first address [whatismyipaddress.com] reveals:

Geolocation Information
Country: United States
State/Region: California
City: Beverly Hills

So much about that server with local address.

I haven't checked the others, but with the IPs so close to each other I'm pretty sure they are in the same data center.

Re:Ofc it is! they will do better (1)

SharkLaser (2495316) | more than 2 years ago | (#37906066)

I haven't checked the others, but with the IPs so close to each other I'm pretty sure they are in the same data center.

...

Google owns their ip blocks. They even got ASN. They can put them anywhere they like, even if the ip's are next to each other. The geo location databases are just made from info given to ARIN / RIPE etc.

Perfect example of someone thinking he knows better. Not that the GP was any of that wiser, but neither was that answer.

Re:Ofc it is! they will do better (2)

Anonymice (1400397) | more than 2 years ago | (#37907274)

If those IPs were geographically diverse, I would expect a bigger separation between subnets. Splitting one subnet over multiple distant networks would not only be a pain, but make little sense, as it still allows for a single point of failure.

I've just run a traceroute to a selection of those IPs via different continents, and it does seem to suggest those servers are on the same network segment.

> Perfect example of someone thinking he knows better.
Back at'cha!

Re:Ofc it is! they will do better (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#37908178)

OK, I just checked out the IPs of google.de:

google.de has address 74.125.39.106
google.de has address 74.125.39.147
google.de has address 74.125.39.99
google.de has address 74.125.39.103
google.de has address 74.125.39.104
google.de has address 74.125.39.105
google.de mail is handled by 10 google.com.s9a1.psmtp.com.
google.de mail is handled by 10 google.com.s9a2.psmtp.com.
google.de mail is handled by 10 google.com.s9b1.psmtp.com.
google.de mail is handled by 10 google.com.s9b2.psmtp.com.

Do those IP addresses look familiar?
Well, OK, both are in Europe, so let's try google.com:

google.com has address 74.125.39.99
google.com has address 74.125.39.103
google.com has address 74.125.39.104
google.com has address 74.125.39.105
google.com has address 74.125.39.106
google.com has address 74.125.39.147
google.com mail is handled by 10 aspmx.l.google.com.
google.com mail is handled by 20 alt1.aspmx.l.google.com.
google.com mail is handled by 30 alt2.aspmx.l.google.com.
google.com mail is handled by 40 alt3.aspmx.l.google.com.
google.com mail is handled by 50 alt4.aspmx.l.google.com.

And google.com.au:

google.com.au has address 74.125.39.147
google.com.au has address 74.125.39.99
google.com.au has address 74.125.39.103
google.com.au has address 74.125.39.104
google.com.au has address 74.125.39.105
google.com.au has address 74.125.39.106
google.com.au mail is handled by 10 google.com.s9a1.psmtp.com.
google.com.au mail is handled by 10 google.com.s9a2.psmtp.com.
google.com.au mail is handled by 10 google.com.s9b1.psmtp.com.
google.com.au mail is handled by 10 google.com.s9b2.psmtp.com.

OK, so maybe it's just the local DNS (I don't know how one would get different DNS records from different countries, but then, I'm no DNS expert). Therefore let's try an online resolver: [zoneedit.com]
It gives me:

google.com. A 74.125.127.147

Ah, indeed, another address! I didn't know that was possible.

But then, my main point still remains: The TLD tells you exactly nothing about where the server is located. Note that all of .com, .com.sa, .de, .com.au ended up at the same servers for my local lookups.

Re:Ofc it is! they will do better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37932340)

They have many servers in each datacentre, and they have multiple datacentres in Europe, multiple in the Americas, and multiple in Asia-Pac. This word "centralized", I don't think it means what you think it means.

Yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37905202)

They were way ahead of their time - in 1999, but now they're just a fossil.

Re:Yes. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#37905788)

That is the problem with a lot of companies who are first to market. They are ahead of their time and they feel comfortable in that fact so they don't do much to keep innovating, then when time catches up they are stuck with an old technology. What makes it worse, when they do that they have a huge customer base who is resistant to change as they learned the old technology. So any attempts to make improvements will meet with resistance from its user base.

Compared with Apples method. Enter the market Midway take all the lessons learned and mistakes that their competitors made, create a new product using newer technology and market the hell out of it, to make it seem like they invented it first. Forcing all the other adopters to play catch up with them.

Re:Yes. (0)

godefroi (52421) | more than 2 years ago | (#37907266)

When Microsoft did this (with .NET to the JVM), it was denounced as an evil business strategy. Is it OK when Apple does it to MP3 players and smartphones?

Re:Yes. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#37919580)

Well according to Slashdot Everything Microsoft does is evil. .NET isn't an evil business strategy, it is actually a good platform. However Microsoft just Messed it up by leveraging the disadvantages of the two idea. Microsoft Platform Only and Slower Operating speeds do to virtual machine. .NET could have been huge if they made their VM and kept it up to date for Linux, Mac, and Unix systems. But because it only works on one platform Microsoft didn't attract any new developers just developers who needed an upgrade from Visual Studio 6.
or
Microsoft could make it a clean compile language with no VM and have all the robust library set and structure and have it run a full compile speeds. So MS Word, Excel and other applications could run native off the platform and developers who need higher performance systems have available tools.

Why Microsoft was eviler then Apple. is that .NET was crippled to keep sales of Windows OS's vs. Apple who's goal was to sell its main product and not cripple it to to say keep Mac Sales up (The did that for a little bit with the original iPod but quickly allowed windows to use it too)

Re:Yes. (1)

godefroi (52421) | more than 2 years ago | (#37933444)

This is now way, way offtopic, but you do understand that MSIL isn't interpreted, right? It's ALWAYS compiled to native code (either JIT or previously) before it's run.

Re:Yes. (2)

RDW (41497) | more than 2 years ago | (#37905962)

That's harsh. Just a few months ago, Blackberry's unique social networking features played an important role in facilitating the high profile collaborative activities of many members of the key under-25 demographic!:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/aug/08/london-riots-facebook-twitter-blackberry [guardian.co.uk]

I would've had first post... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37905212)

if it wasn't for my blackberry's b0rk3d network

Data plans don't "nullify RIM's key advantage" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37905252)

BlackBerries get free email etc. while roaming (abroad). Who else offers that? For people who travel and email for business, that's still a key advantage.

Re:Data plans don't "nullify RIM's key advantage" (1)

griff199 (162798) | more than 2 years ago | (#37905476)

My plan increased $20/mo. Not worth mentioning when overhead totals $2400/mo. The Curve was a POS, crashing constantly.

Re:Data plans don't "nullify RIM's key advantage" (2)

alex67500 (1609333) | more than 2 years ago | (#37905620)

What? Where? Who's the carrier offering this? I want what you are talking about!

Re:Data plans don't "nullify RIM's key advantage" (3, Informative)

Flytrap (939609) | more than 2 years ago | (#37905758)

I don't know where you get that from... but I can tell you for certain that we (Vodafone) charge every mobile network operater a hefty roaming fee whenever their customers cross into any of our extensive data networks - nobody gets a free ride, not even blackberry users. Since RIM have not built an alternative internet, i am pretty certain that, each time you roam, somebody pays. I suspect that what you are considering free email, is probably built into your blackberry package... and since RIM has always prided itself with how little data their devices use, I suspect that the roaming data costs are so small that it does not make for a significant reason to break out the email roaming costs separately.

Re:Data plans don't "nullify RIM's key advantage" (2)

ShoreDiver (995925) | more than 2 years ago | (#37906678)

Almost true. I just got back from a 2 week European trip, and paid about 60 cents a day for 'free' email and roaming. (I have a Blackberry with T-Mobile and activated their international email plan for my stay). This may seem like a lot of pennies, but when you consider that I could email unlimited 1mb pictures back home with no additional charge, this was quite the deal. I have used this service many time over the years, and will probably stay with Blackberry and T-mobile for that reason.

Surcharges (1)

Zouden (232738) | more than 2 years ago | (#37905296)

A lot of carriers in Europe and Australia add a monthly surcharge on BlackBerry contracts. Vodafone Netherlands, for example requires you to pay an extra €5/month if you choose a BlackBerry handset (increasing the price from €23 to €28 per month). There's no similar fee for iPhone or Android users. I'm sure this must be costing RIM more than a few customers.

Re:Surcharges (1)

Halueth (776646) | more than 2 years ago | (#37905366)

so, it's 28 euro's for a BB, or 45 euro's for an iphone. Dataplans are 10euro's per mb if you travel outside the EU. Nice if your sales rep emails you the latest presentation of 10mb.

Re:Surcharges (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 2 years ago | (#37905906)

RIM Blackberries are popular in the UK with a certain group of people for two simple reasons ...

1) the handsets are cheap smartphones

2) BBM - is a private network that most most people's friends are on already

There are also business users but mostly because of the enterprise mail technology .... which is far from unique anymore

Napster (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37905310)

It's the most efficient, one hickup and you need to rethink everything? how about it ran perfect for several years?

Btw it worked for napster didn't it?

Re:Napster (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 2 years ago | (#37905742)

Being down for several days in each of two instances in the last month is a bit more than "one hickup(sic)". I don't think the Napster comparison fits, if you're referring to what I think you are, it was because Napster was forced by court order to vacate its existing "business model". Which I really don't recall was actually a business model because they didn't charge anyone anything.

Arguably... (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37905356)

Given the amount of legacy investment(not just on RIM's part; but on the part of some of their bigger corporate customers) in their proprietary stuff, its relatively good uptime history, and the fact that some people still value its particular set of advantages and disadvantages, it seems insane for RIM to scrap it. Consider, which of the following seems easier and less risky:

1. Scrap proprietary BBM/BIS/etc. and attempt to recreate featureset of the same in midflight with some sort of decentralized setup.

Or:

2. Keep all the various RIM-specific tricks around; and take advantage of the fact that flash is cheap by buying or building an IMAP/Activesync mail client that runs on your handsets(and has a bunch of centralized knobs and switces to keep the BES admins of the world happy). If the customer wants a classic blackberry, turn it off. If they want a decentralized offering, turn it on. If they want both, turn both on.

Re:Arguably... (2)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 2 years ago | (#37905520)

Keep it simple: have an IMAP/whatever client that's automatically configured to recreate the behavior of the "central" Blackberry experience, and fall back to it whenever the Blackberry server has been unreachable for more than N minutes. When the server wakes back up, resynchronise everything and switch back to the mothership. From the customer's perspective, their Blackberry Just Works.

Re:Arguably... (2)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 2 years ago | (#37906480)

Due to active synch, there is little or no reason for the BlackBerry proprietary network. RIM still makes a good quality handset that is reliable but, from a technology stand point it is obsolete. Active synch provides admins the security features needed. If RIM can adopt newer technology and maybe scrap it's OS in favor of a highly modified and customized android flavor, perhaps it can be a force to be reckoned with.

Re:Arguably... (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 2 years ago | (#37908828)

Frankly, I think this is why RIM is doomed. Their centralized setup is a bad design given the current context of Internet/mobile technology. They can't keep it. But then, they also can't move away from it because it's kind of what's keeping them in business. The people who are sticking with them are sticking with them because of their setup, but then the group of people sticking with them will probably continue to shrink until they hit a certain threshold, and then employees, investors, and customers will flee like rats off of a sinking ship.

Re:Arguably... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37916456)

I'd like to argue with you, and on what seem like plausible grounds; but they aren't plausible grounds that have actually held out as often as one might like, so I think I'm going to end up agreeing:

In a rational world, without decision-making being like steering an aircraft carrier, RIM would be sitting pretty: They have a massive legacy subscriber base(which is dwindling over time; but reasonably slowly and predictably, and will be paying out for some years to come), they have a pretty attractive(to carriers and kids) 'featurephone' offering with BBM, email, and good battery life. Nobody will mistake it for an iPhone; but it's dirt cheap by comparison. They also have an existing handset supply chain and set ofcarrier contacts/channels. How could that go badly? Yeah, they do eventually have to wind down their legacy products; but those legacy products will give them about a zillion startups worth of cash with which to come up with new products that suck less!

However, that sort of re-invention just seems to be really, really hard. Kodak is like 6 inches from death, despite having a huge pile of foundational work in digital photography, plus industrial scale photochemical expertise, Microsoft and Apple both had to absorb outside teams to make their transitions from the technologically lousy OS that served them in their youth to the new one actually work(NT with an infusion of DEC, OSX with NeXT), even Big Blue, the Behemoth of corporate sales might, nearly managed to squander a massive pile of legacy cash and was on its way to being murdered by clones of its own invention.

Naively, I just can't shake the sense that having a legacy money tree to shake would be a good thing; but empirically it seems to be a dead-hand-of-the-past sort of affair, weighing on your future decision making...

Re:Arguably... (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 2 years ago | (#37919852)

Nobody will mistake it for an iPhone; but it's dirt cheap by comparison.

Dirt cheap in comparison to "free" (with a 2 year contract)? But sorry, I know that really wasn't your point.

Naively, I just can't shake the sense that having a legacy money tree to shake would be a good thing; but empirically it seems to be a dead-hand-of-the-past sort of affair, weighing on your future decision making...

Yeah, the real problem is that "having a legacy money tree" ends up being a bit of a curse. In order to move on to something better, you often have to murder your money tree, which is hard to do. It's not just difficult from the standpoint of bringing yourself to take a huge risk, but knowing how to time it, and how to market it. Cut off your money tree too early, or execute it badly, and you only alienate your existing customers.

But then there's another problem: when you kill your money tree, do you actually have something else to move on *to*? So what's Blackberry's move here? Right now, due to IT investment in BES, they have a certain amount of institutional inertia that's keeping them afloat, but we're talking about killing that. If they're overhauling it and starting over, what fantastic features will they be offering to compete with Android/iPhone head-to-head?

Why! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37905362)

A couple outages don't remove the reasons why the blackberry is in use. Doesn't matter if it sucks, it only has to be better than the competition in it's particular market. It still is. yawn.

No, They Should Buy a Mainframe (2)

BBCWatcher (900486) | more than 2 years ago | (#37905368)

Centralized computing works fabulously (and inexpensively) if you've got the right infrastructure. Mainframes work.

Re:No, They Should Buy a Mainframe (3, Insightful)

Ubergrendle (531719) | more than 2 years ago | (#37907206)

Agreed. The computing socialist in me who thinks in terms open systems, free market, open source, wild west internet subconciously resists centralized systems like blackberry.

That is, until I have enterprise cost, control, security, and efficiency considerations to take into account. Blackberry administration, security (both device and messaging network), and frankly support are still industry best.

There's no android or iphone device close to the level of security that is offered in a blackberry; if data security (including personal communications) is paramount to your enterprise there's really no other choice. We've tried GOOD and citrix sessions on iphones or tablets, but frankly the performance is crap and the costs prohibitive.

Re:No, They Should Buy a Mainframe (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 2 years ago | (#37908576)

There's no android or iphone device close to the level of security that is offered in a blackberry; if data security (including personal communications) is paramount to your enterprise there's really no other choice.

Care to explain what security is offered by Blackberries that is not by any other technology? I'm only being a little snotty here, because if there's an answer I'd really like to know. However, I've heard from lots of people tout the security of Blackberries without being able to offer a real explanation of the security benefits, and even when they can talk about a benefit, it's some minor security feature that no one uses.

Re:No, They Should Buy a Mainframe (1)

Prune (557140) | more than 2 years ago | (#37911114)

There's an overview here. http://www.cse.psu.edu/~enck/cse597a-s09/slides/security_blackberry.pdf [psu.edu]
Basically, in a corporate network using BES, a proper configuration has the phones are in a sort of permanent VPN with the corporate network, aided by hardware features (not merely acceleration by hardware encryption, but hardware features that restrict reverse-engineering keys from the firmware and a number of other protections that make stolen/lost phones not a security risk), as well as flexible and detailed security policies for each phone that can be controlled by the IT department. The whole phone is really designed around this infrastructure. Non-corporate customers, of course, don't use BES and instead the other endpoint of the secured tunnel is at RIM's servers (this is what BIS is). So RIM only knows the keys of non-corporate customers. Note that there are many hosted BES solutions out there, so you have other options if you're not corporate but also don't trust RIM (given their aiding of spying by the Indian government, say).

Re:No, They Should Buy a Mainframe (2)

nine-times (778537) | more than 2 years ago | (#37911304)

Sorry, but that just doesn't do it for me. Traffic back to the server is encrypted... well great. Encryption on mail servers is pretty standard these days. Lost/stolen phones are still a security risk if they're not locked and the remote-wipe situation is about the same as other phones. You can even set up a normal VPN connection on iOS or Android if you need to.

Yes, you can set a lot of detailed security policies, which most IT departments don't bother to mess with anyway, and ActiveSync provides security policies too.

So I'd still like to know: What specific security features do Blackberries offer, that customers actually make use of, that other phones do not? If anything, the fact that traffic is going through RIM's servers is a security liability.

Re:No, They Should Buy a Mainframe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37911828)

Security on locked iPhone and Android lost phones has a history of being defeated. This is not the case with the BB. Additionally, you can set up VPN but the phone OS itself is not secured by a secure firmware protected by hardware security. There's more to it than the locked bootloader of an Android phone. Also, who cares about what other IT departments do? As a CTO I make sure I've directed _my_ IT department to go over security policies with a fine toothed comb.

Re:No, They Should Buy a Mainframe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37915942)

> ActiveSync provides security policies too

You're comparing ActiveSync security policies with BlackBerry security policies - if you think mere ActiveSync security policies are enough for you, great - you definitely do not need BlackBerry security policies.

Re:No, They Should Buy a Mainframe (1)

Wolfier (94144) | more than 2 years ago | (#37916000)

> ActiveSync provides security policies too

If you're comparing mere ActiveSync security policies with BES security policies, clearly ActiveSync is secure enough for you.

Re:No, They Should Buy a Mainframe (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 2 years ago | (#37919194)

I've worked in a bunch of IT departments, including big enterprise departments, and dealt with a number of BES servers. I don't think I've ever seen BES used to do anything that ActiveSync doesn't currently do.

Maybe you could cite a security policy that BES allows that ActiveSync doesn't? But please provide one that IT departments actually use and care about. The vague "BES provides better control of security" doesn't really explain anything for me.

Re:No, They Should Buy a Mainframe (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 2 years ago | (#37912106)

Another benefit of Blackberry is the device security check itself. Try "rooting" a BB handset. When it boots, the on-board security check will fail. Try installing a trojan - easy because BB allows installation of any signed Java application - and again it will fail at boot-time.

I suppose if you tried for a long time you might figure out what they are checking and be able to sneak something malicious in without tripping the security check. However, it is telling that nobody has done it yet even with huge incentives for stealing email, passwords and all sort of other stuff from high-end corporate executives. Wouldn't someone in China really like to get a copy of some VP's email at Cisco? Sure they would. Except it hasn't happened yet and is unlikely to ever happen.

That is probably the biggest single advantage of BlackBerry - you can distribute the handsets to people that get their PC compromised in 2 hours of reading email and not have any worries about what they are doing with their phones. And this doesn't mean the phones are locked down to prevent the user from doing anything with them, although that is possible as well.

This is one area where BlackBerry wins completely over Android which has been compromised several times even through the Android app store. I don't think Apple is completely immune to this kind of problem either, but so far the app store has been filtering out bad stuff pretty well.

This article is late to the conclusion party (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#37905388)

I think anyone who has ever experienced a blackberry outage and had to explain it to his CEO will have learned how the blackberry chain works and how everything MUST go through their servers creating a global single point of failure.

It's just a bad idea to put all of your eggs in one basket.

far from the end (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37905398)

Andrew Jaguith must be American, in countries with pay per use data models, RIM has a 3:1 advantage over other platforms, when traveling and paying between $1 and $13 per MB of data the savings drasticly add up.

Beyond data compression, RIM's security model is largely supported by having centralized notds, there is no dns spoofing, this helps RIM obtain FIPS certification that much sooner.

What RIM does need to do is improve redundancy, and centralize per country more so when a single node goes down it doesn't cause as wide spread an issue, I can say I have had more service interuptions from my home internet supplier in 4 years than I have had from RIM, and I spend 100+ nights away from home a year

Re:far from the end (1)

BagOBones (574735) | more than 2 years ago | (#37908302)

Unless you administratively block tethering it still doesn't stop your Execs from taking it to Mexico, and watching Neflix with their laptop then getting a $$$$$ roaming bill or higher. Trust me... We have them with both BB and iPhones. Disabling data roaming seems to work best, as using WiFi is something some of them seem to understand.

RIM's real problem is.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37905408)

.... Exchange / ActiveSync and it's abilities keep growing at a rapid rate. And it's much easier to administer with a good selection of policies and lockdowns availible. As much as uneducated halfwits fuck up Exchange installs - seriously you want a monkey to run your mail system? You get shit. Find a real Mail admin and they will make Exchange solid and just works - the fact is that for business ActiveSync is a godawful load easier and works with a much wider range of hardware, verses the nightmare BES can be. Let alone iPhones and Android also talk much better to other mail platforms, not just Activesync.

Once Exchange gains the last bits of the featureset - and for almost everyone the featureset is more than enough - then why the hell would you even consider Blackberrys? The fact is that it's not the network that the issue for RIM, it's the fact the competition is arguably better. As much as it wont wash to some here, Exchange is a platform that RIM is not keeping up with and is not offering anything truly compelling over.

Yes and no. (3, Insightful)

MrCrassic (994046) | more than 2 years ago | (#37905500)

The trivial and common response to this (and the original post I was going to write) is that it needs to GO because its competitors don't do this and, thus, don't have to worry about losing internet and email service if one cluster of huge servers somewhere in their country goes dark for a bit. Many consumers might have agreed with this school of thought with their wallet and went elsewhere.

The thing to keep in mind, however, is that this centralised model was NEVER meant to "serve" regular home consumer usage patterns. Remember their devices from yesteryear? You know, the business-only, no bullshit phones that would be totally useless for Joe Consumer? That, if anything, showed that their target market was for people who needed really good phone and email device with extra high security, if required. Their centralised model (outages aside) ensures the highest quality for both of these requirements with a battery life that is still unmatched by iOS or Android

The problem is that the market has shown that most people are fine with "good enough," and Blackberry devices are FAR from that. Their Their work phones might still rule with email, but their iPhone or Droid does that and much more satisfactorily enough to meet their needs. It's also cheaper per month and has more "apps." Additionally, they are, slowly but surely, becoming secure enough to be seriously considered for the workplace. Once this happens, Blackberry has no leg to stand on.

I think RIM needs to worry about moving their phones to the 21st century. Outages happen; bad market strategy shouldn't.

Re:Yes and no. (2)

nine-times (778537) | more than 2 years ago | (#37907050)

That, if anything, showed that their target market was for people who needed really good phone and email device with extra high security, if required. Their centralised model (outages aside) ensures the highest quality for both of these requirements

How so? What about having all of your email passing through the servers of a 3rd party make it "extra high security"? Email passing between Android phones and iPhones using ActiveSync or IMAP/SMTP+SSL are already encrypted during transfer.

Additionally, they are, slowly but surely, becoming secure enough to be seriously considered for the workplace.

I think you're a little behind in the news. They're beyond "being considered" and they're being used in workplaces. Even enterprise IT departments are supporting them in many cases, but I've dealt with a few small/medium businesses that have been exclusively iPhone for a year or more.

Outages happen; bad market strategy shouldn't.

Outages happen, but there's absolutely no reason to introduce an additional point of failure that can create worldwide outages. ActiveSync works perfectly well for what most businesses use smartphones for, and if the Exchange server and the phone are both working, and you have a connection between them, messages go through. Why put a 3rd party server in the middle, especially if you're going to accept that the server will have outages?

Re:Yes and no. (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#37907928)

How so? What about having all of your email passing through the servers of a 3rd party make it "extra high security"? Email passing between Android phones and iPhones using ActiveSync or IMAP/SMTP+SSL are already encrypted during transfer.

Yes, but remember to set up your SSL trust properly so a government can't force your CA (or another trusted-by-default CA) to issue a cert with your server's name to MitM your traffic. Many people skip this step, making Blackberry about as secure (when it ought to be far less secure).

Re:Yes and no. (2)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 2 years ago | (#37908290)

Remember their devices from yesteryear? You know, the business-only, no bullshit phones that would be totally useless for Joe Consumer?

Actually, I remember their devices [wikipedia.org] from yesteryear as one of the first two-way pagers. [blackberryplanetbook.com] AFAIK Motorola was the only other company doing two-way paging and they didn't have the back end to allow the kind of messaging that has been the hallmark of Blackberry devices from the start.

I believe the upcoming BBX handsets are going to address the consumer market and Blackberry Balance [blackberry.com] will be used for convergence. RIM has always understood the needs of large infrastructures to exert a certain level of control and the BES allows enterprises to place as much or as little control as they wish. It's a stark contrast to the Pied Piper strategy Apple employs or the cat herding [youtube.com] that Android (or OSS in general) tends to engender.

They Do Think Different (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37905508)

Everyone else says "To The Cloud We Go!", RIM's model is the most secure.

Soviet-style IT (2)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 2 years ago | (#37905556)

There will always be a demand for the Soviet-style centralized IT that RIM's system represents. It's the same old kind of mentality that insists "no personal calls on a business cell phone" or (heaven forbid) browsing the interwebs while on company time.

All the companies I know have either switched away from Blackberry, or at least opened their policies to say "get whatever phone-device you want, here's your budget, and tech-supporting it is your problem". Nobody, given that option, chooses Blackberry.

RIM will continue to be profitable, and actually their service will probably improve as the load on their systems decreases.

Re:Soviet-style IT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37905568)

Oh, you used the words 'Soviet-style' to try and make them look bad. Very clever... You should get a job in Hollywood, where the bad guy always has a foreign accent. America always needs to have an enemy/bogeyman right?

Re:Soviet-style IT (1)

Grave (8234) | more than 2 years ago | (#37905640)

Seeing as how RIM is Canadian, this has already been done: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0109370/ [imdb.com]

Re:Soviet-style IT (1)

Lucky_Norseman (682487) | more than 2 years ago | (#37905622)

All the companies I know have either switched away from Blackberry, or at least opened their policies to say "get whatever phone-device you want, here's your budget, and tech-supporting it is your problem". Nobody, given that option, chooses Blackberry.

Do they also say "If your phone is the entry point for an intrusion into the intranet you are fired and will be sued for the cost of fixing everything" or "If internal email comes into the hands of unauthorized persons through your device, you are fired"? If not, is it because they don't care about the security or that they don't allow anything sensitive on the phone in the first place. I'm not saying that Android cannot be secured, but they cannot be secured if everyone has different phones and are their own support.

Re:Soviet-style IT (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 2 years ago | (#37905834)

android phones cannot be secured unless you use an "evil" locked boot loader model with no known root exploits (oops sorry still not secure, there are almost certainly unpublished root exploits being held onto by someone)

this is what trusted computing SHOULD be, not a weapon wielded by outside interests against the owners of devices, but a tool for the owners of many devices to remotely ensure software and configuration integrity.

Re:Soviet-style IT (0)

Prune (557140) | more than 2 years ago | (#37911160)

Mod parent up and grandparent down! Android and iPhone security is still a joke compared to this http://www.cse.psu.edu/~enck/cse597a-s09/slides/security_blackberry.pdf [psu.edu]

Re:Soviet-style IT (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 2 years ago | (#37912358)

You keep posting this slideshow all over this discussion, but I'm not sure what you think the slideshow says. It's light on details, gives very little explanation, and does not compare RIM's security model with those employed by other providers. Could you explain what you're hoping to explain with this slideshow?

Re:Soviet-style IT (-1, Redundant)

alex67500 (1609333) | more than 2 years ago | (#37905656)

In Soviet Russia, email centralise YOU!

1980 called... (0)

mevets (322601) | more than 2 years ago | (#37906310)

and wants you to stop using its smokescreen....
You are supposed to say "Chinese" now.

it's too late (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37905560)

its way too late for that. these guys are gonna sink faster than the titanic. every single other phone out there now is better than a blackberry except for cheap 20 dollar nokias. my boss for example has a blackberry that he's return about 6 times in 6 months for all kinds of problems. I give them until maybe 2013 at the latest

Ass ass ass ass ASSS ASS (0)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | more than 2 years ago | (#37905658)

ass ASSSSS ass ass ass asss at87gyohe m9ioejkml,,,ll,l,ass

World is passing them by (1)

JasoninKS (1783390) | more than 2 years ago | (#37905702)

RIM as a whole reminds me of a scene from the Simpson's several years back: Principal Skinner is wandering around a boarded up part of Springfield that use to house "wholesome" activities and such and he briefly wonders if he's just out of touch with what's going on. Only to come to the conclusion that no...everyone else is wrong. This is how I see RIM/BB. Smartphones evolved and they're still serving up the same ol' stuff. Great, you're a "corporate" phone. Guess what. That market isn't growing anymore.

Re:World is passing them by (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37905786)

Actually executives dont want to be seen with a non trendy ookie phone like the blackberry. They want trendy, something that oozes "I'm rich therefore I'm important" They all want fricking iPhones above the Director level.

I made one "harrumpf" today by showing him my 64 gig 4S.. he only has a 32 gig, how dare a underling have a better phone than he....

They need to right-slice their omnistructure (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#37905750)

Going forwards, they have to leverage cloudsourced meta resources to enhance avoision of non-functational points of zeta-inflection.

If their in-house IT isn't on board with those pre-bleeding edge concepts, I'd be happy to run a seminar at a 5 star spa of their choice.

Re:They need to right-slice their omnistructure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37913356)

the dilithium crystals cannae take much more sarcasm, captain!

Kill the server side (1)

NinjaPablo (246765) | more than 2 years ago | (#37905884)

It's bad enough having to manage GroupWare or Exchange, but having to run some horrible RIM BlackBerry enterprise bloatware on them just so BB users can get email is ridiculous.

Re:Kill the server side (1)

acoustix (123925) | more than 2 years ago | (#37906700)

It still beats the hell out of ActiveSync. Microsoft should be ashamed that a 3rd party can tie in their devices to Exchange better than ActiveSync.

Re:Kill the server side (0)

Prune (557140) | more than 2 years ago | (#37911192)

BES is more important for security, not email. As another poster pointed out, any enterprise with a sensible security point should make it explicit that "If your phone is the entry point for an intrusion into the intranet you are fired and will be sued for the cost of fixing everything" and that "If internal email comes into the hands of unauthorized persons through your device, you are fired" Tell me any iPhone or Android that has a security framework as thought out as http://www.cse.psu.edu/~enck/cse597a-s09/slides/security_blackberry.pdf [psu.edu]

Sincerely Hate RIM (1)

justsayin (2246634) | more than 2 years ago | (#37905996)

This comment is biased, way biased. I absolutely hate RIM and hope they die a slow and painful death. Their licensing scheme took advantage of us for years and now the cheapest Droid blows them away. After setting up a few Droids and a butt load of Iphones, I will offer to buy my users a smart phone just for the privilege of switching them over. That way I get to personally throw the crappy BB phone down the back stairwell myself. Then I put the BB in a box addressed to RIM HQ with a letter explaining and a video showing me and my techs throwing the damn thing against a cinder block wall.

There, I feel much better now.
PS: we only have one user left on the BES and I simply cannot wait to switch him over and turn that server off. No P to V for that server. More like P to oblivion. ;)
RIM you can KMA, long live the Iphone, long live the Droid.

Re:Sincerely Hate RIM (1)

MrSmith0011000100110 (1344879) | more than 2 years ago | (#37906698)

Dude that is great. I thought I was the only one pushing this horrid service out the door as quickly as possible. We give our user base allowances for their own smart-phone and then we only manage the email service. As soon as the split profiles are available we'll just take control of that instead. We haven't had a single problem with remote wipes or anything.

So long RIM...I can't say it hasn't been fun. Because it wasn't.

Re:Sincerely Hate RIM (1)

justsayin (2246634) | more than 2 years ago | (#37933420)

Yeah, I agree. We dont really throw them down the stairs. I usually convince the user to let me send them back to Verizon. Verizon says they give the phones out to charities like for battered/abused recently divorced women. At least, that's what the return envelope says.
Damn try to make a joke and you get branded as a shill.

Re:Sincerely Hate RIM (1)

improfane (855034) | more than 2 years ago | (#37910438)

It seems the shills are out in force!

Look at this guy's ID and past posts. He has been paid for.

Re:Sincerely Hate RIM (1)

justsayin (2246634) | more than 2 years ago | (#37933376)

Sorry dude, remove the tinfoil hat. I am sincerely just another network admin who reads slashdot.
I just happen to not like RIM cause IMO the Iphones and Droids are better.
I exaggerate things in the hopes of making them funny.
My ID is large cause I lost the password to my old one.
If I was paid for then I want a lawyer cause I aint seen no money yet. ;)

Re:Sincerely Hate RIM (0)

Prune (557140) | more than 2 years ago | (#37911246)

LOL you're such a shill. Try posting this again once Android security gets to approach this remotely: http://www.cse.psu.edu/~enck/cse597a-s09/slides/security_blackberry.pdf [psu.edu]
By the way, don't forget to tell your users, if you really have any, that "if your phone is the entry point for an intrusion into the intranet you are fired and will be sued for the cost of fixing everything" and that "If internal email comes into the hands of unauthorized persons through your device, you are fired". A dire warning is about the only way you can secure Android from being the carrier of an attack vector into the intranet--by making your user so paranoid that he won't install any apps and will guard his phone like a madman.

Not healthy (1)

sunfly (1248694) | more than 2 years ago | (#37906164)

Many companies have what appears to be great years right up to the point they go bankrupt. One of the leading indicators they are in trouble is erosion of margin, or their ability to make a healthy profit on each widget (handset) sold. This is happening at RIM. They are in trouble. There is hope. Most companies the size of RIM have enough capital to reinvent themselves. In their case that might mean building a healthy OS, something they have not done yet. It also means being really focused, again something they are absolutely terrible at.

Re:Not healthy (1)

bgat (123664) | more than 2 years ago | (#37906772)

The problem for RIM being, of course, that great alternative operating systems already exist. I don't see how RIM could successfully implement something of their own that wasn't either an also-ran, or simply a reskinned Android device that would expose them to all the "problems" they claim their current technology avoids.

Re:Not healthy (1)

tom229 (1640685) | more than 2 years ago | (#37907332)

Umm... QNX anyone?
You can preview their QNX implementation on a playbook today and expect to see this running on phones as early as this quarter (but likely Q1 2012).

The problem of course is no ones exactly sure how BES or BIS will interface with QNX... if at all.

If it doesn't you'll still have an "iphone like" OS that can run flash and a select series of android apps on a full touch device. Their plan may be to deploy this new strategy out to consumer markets and keep supporting the current software frameworks for business... but no ones really sure yet.

Re:Not healthy (1)

MrSmith0011000100110 (1344879) | more than 2 years ago | (#37910116)

You do realize it's not the software on the phones that bug most admins as much as the software and additional hardware we need to keep in the server rooms right? And honestly Apple and Google are still ratcheting down their respective mobile OS's. You really think that RIM...makers of the BB torch can drop a mobile OS and just expect is to compare to the market that is at least 4-5 years ahead of it? Oh and android support on the playbook has already been proven garbage.

Re:Not healthy (1)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 2 years ago | (#37907824)

Many companies have what appears to be great years right up to the point they go bankrupt.

One reason being that they lay off employees in large batches - just as RIM are doing. 2000 headcount last quarter (10%). Lower salaries -> higher profits in the short term, but no long term strategy.

A significant bad sign is that their executives are running quickly for the exits. [bloomberg.com]

BES Anyone? (2)

sco_robinso (749990) | more than 2 years ago | (#37906526)

RIM is still making money, and the one big factor that everyone seems to forget - BES. Nobody else even comes close to being able to offer companies the level of fine-grained administrative control over their companies devices as to RIM through BES. I work for a public company and whenever the discussion about phones comes up, one of the first questions is how one is supposed to remotely administer, control, and if needed, wipe the phones. The discussion pretty much starts and stops with BES. I'd love nothing more than to use an iPhone, but what am I going to do, install iTunes on every corporate PC? Have each user individually sign up for a 'find my iphone' account? No. With with an OSX Server (running on Apple's official server hardware - a Mac Mini), iPhone control leaves a lot to be desired.

BES is still a HUGE hook for businesses. I know Apple and Google boast that a lot of fortune 500 companies use iPhones/Androids, but until they can demonstrate their business compatibility (ala not having to install iTunes on every corporate machine, being able to centrally restrict apps, etc), RIM is still going to own a huge chunk of the corporate pie.

And when I say I'd love to be using an iPhone (or Android) - I'm serious. I use a new Bold 9900, and I think it's a POS. It can't even smoothly play the HD video that it recorded, despite it's crystal HD engine or whatever they call it. The browser reminds me of IE5. Hotlinks and the ability to click on them is still a fairly new, radical concept.

Re:BES Anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37906732)

Have you looked into Goodlink's software? I haven't used it, but it looks like it provides a lot of remote management tools for IOS and Android

Re:BES Anyone? (1)

Lucky_Norseman (682487) | more than 2 years ago | (#37907074)

Does it include things like disabling camera for users with access to sensitive areas? Or forcing SDcard encryption?

Re:BES Anyone? (1)

sco_robinso (749990) | more than 2 years ago | (#37909684)

From what I could see, the Good management suite does it by sandboxing everything into a separate app. So you then have a separate app for mail/calendar/contacts, etc. Although I suppose there's arguments on both sides of the fence for doing it this way, I think this is kind-of a step backwards. Everything is going towards a convergence model, where you have a unified inbox/contacts/calendar app for all your accounts, personal, work, and otherwise. Palm was the first big innovator with this with WebOS, followed by Windows Phone (mostly 7.5) and iOS 4 and 5. When I book an appointment, I don't want to check 2 or 3 or 4 calendars.

All you really need is a way of purging the device of corporate data, which may or may not mean wiping the whole device. Many companies already manage this (including my own) - if you want to hook in your (personal) phone into the corporate systems, you have to acknowledge it will get wiped when you leave. Simple as that. If it's a corporate device, it gets wiped regardless. The whole point is being able to securly wipe the corporate data at will.

Re:BES Anyone? (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 2 years ago | (#37912424)

...one of the first questions is how one is supposed to remotely administer, control, and if needed, wipe the phones. I'd love nothing more than to use an iPhone, but what am I going to do, install iTunes on every corporate PC? Have each user individually sign up for a 'find my iphone' account? No. With with an OSX Server (running on Apple's official server hardware - a Mac Mini), iPhone control leaves a lot to be desired.

You don't need iTunes to set up an iPhone anymore. You can administer and control (to some extent), and wipe the phone using ActiveSync. If you're using BES, I assume you have an Exchange server? Well then, you're all set.

Re:BES Anyone? (1)

Wolfier (94144) | more than 2 years ago | (#37916032)

> You can administer and control (to some extent), and wipe the phone using ActiveSync. If you're using BES, I assume you have an Exchange server? Well then, you're all set

I assume you haven't used BES. It's understandable why you think ActiveSync might be an adequate replacement. (hint: the level of fine-grained control offered by BES is way more reaching than what an administrator can do with ActiveSync.)

Re:BES Anyone? (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 2 years ago | (#37919152)

Ok, so maybe you can tell me what common "fine grained control" is actually used by IT departments that BES provides and ActiveSync doesn't. (hint: if you have to look this up, it probably doesn't count.)

Wrong (1)

tom229 (1640685) | more than 2 years ago | (#37907198)

RIMs centralized model is probably all that's keeping them alive right now... at least in Canada.

Every provider in Canada offers an atrocious data plan, or a "blackberry plan" (I'm assuming by subsidy from RIM) that you can only use on blackberries. The "blackberry plan" of course comes with free emails, BBM, facebook, and text messages but no "data" (ie. dynamic web browsing).

Not only does this give lower budget users a cheap way to access popular data services but it ties them in to proprietary technologies like BBM where they build networks and become dependent.

Re:Better than wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37910478)

There is actually one company in Canada (Koodo, owned by Telus) that has the best deal to get your Blackberry used at its full potential. They give you a 'Data Connect' package for $25/mo and you can use up to 2Gb (with a G). I believe this also lets you tether with a Playbook.

News alert! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37907392)

Another company is buying them.
This weird transition junk happens before a public announcement comes out.

Watch the news, people.

Cloud Computing (1)

JPyObjC Dude (772176) | more than 2 years ago | (#37907774)

I laugh until I cry when I see people saying that the blackberry infrastructure is old school, when the big corporations and users are throwing so much money and data at cloud computing.

Blackberry backend is cloud infrastructure in the purest form. The guarantee of the BB Cloud is that It offers a guarantee that your data will get through to the end customer. This is the essense of cloud computing. Yes, when it goes down your data gets held up but this is the same with any cloud infrastructure. In the case of this latest outage, I do not believe there was much if any lost transactions and it simply came down to long delays.

Yes, it is true that RIM can do a much better job at building and scaling their infrastructure to be future ready. Tripple fault tolerance on all infrastructure in any cloud computing is an absolute must and this should be the minimum that all companies adhere to. RIM will need to raise the bar a few more noches to ensure that their cloud maintains the highest possible level of quality of service.

Many argue that BIS and BES is too complex a model and needs to be simplified. This cannot be farther from the truth. In order to make large and complex solutions robust and scalable, you must add complexity by adding extra layers within the infrastructure in order to make it work. Stable, secure and light weight messaging and data transactioning can only be done with a cloud infastructure in between.

The biggest challenge with the blackberry cloud is not its instability but rather that when it fails, many users are affected and thus it is good news to post on blogs. In reality, the BB cloud is likely more stable on average than most other solutions out there for messaging and data transfer from mobile devices. The only reason you do not hear otherwise is that failures are localized and would only affect hundreds of users which does not make for very good news.

- JsD

Re:Cloud Computing (1)

BagOBones (574735) | more than 2 years ago | (#37908426)

We run both BBs and ActiveSync devices....

From a business point of view BB has more points of failure, PERIOD.. However it is more data efficient and secure.

BB Email
Exchange->BES/BIS Server->Internet->RIM Network->Internet->Mobile Provider->BB
6 hops
Most common reason for failure? RIM Network

ActiveSync / iPhone
3 hops
Exchange->Internet->Mobile Provider-> Device.
Most Common reason for failure? Mobile Provider issues.

At last in our environment in the last 4 years we have had more failures with our BBs than any of our Android or iPhone users... Also our user base is constantly opting out of company BBs in favor of ActiveSync devices.

Re:Cloud Computing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37911088)

RIM Network->Mobile Provider
In theory ->Internet->Internet->[...]->Internet->Internet-> in both cases too.
Most common reason for failure? Exchange, in both cases
Apart from that, what have the Romans ever done for us?

Re:Cloud Computing (1)

Prune (557140) | more than 2 years ago | (#37911258)

BB security is about more than email: http://www.cse.psu.edu/~enck/cse597a-s09/slides/security_blackberry.pdf [psu.edu]

Re:Cloud Computing (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#37914620)

More spamming Prune?

Not broken... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37908532)

I mean, people use it, they like having it all there. The Blackberry *does* support people using their own servers, and people choose not to do it. The Blackberry server is convenient for people in terms of setup, the manageability stuff (being able to remote wipe your phone if it's stolen for instance) is nice (and there isn't some IETF standardized method of doing this so it's not going to fly without the central authority to do it as it stands...). The Blackberry compresses all it's data too (web and E-Mail) -- in the past this greatly sped up page loads... for a while it was useless... now that AT&T and VZW are going to horribly restrictive capped data plans this is important again.

          That's really all I can say... it seems a bit odd from a technological standpoint, but people have the choice of NOT using the centralized servers and they choose to use them.

The strength of BB (1)

drolli (522659) | more than 2 years ago | (#37909086)

is that they get key management right. No external CA, everything is in their hands.

Every company or organization who wants to operate something similarly safe can already do it (disable all external CAs on the devices you give to your employees, and roll out your own CA in the correct way). It will cost, probably the same amount it would cost to operate a BB, since the main cost is not the technology or the setup but the logistics to get qualified and reliable employees in a safe organization to distribute the keys onto the employees.

Now if several organizations want their employees to communicate safely on the other hand then its getting a little bit more troublesome, but then a compnay like RIM could provide a mail transport agent between companies which requires some more authentication than usual.

Um... yes (1)

epp_b (944299) | more than 2 years ago | (#37910956)

A completely centralized network model that services clients across the entire planet is, by definition, broken.

single point of failure (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#37911350)

I think the concept was always broken. It's why I no longer use a Blackberry, even though it's the best integrated device with the best keyboard. Our Enterprise server went down for a week and a half, for reasons I will not go into right now, and by the time it was up again many of us had switched to Android or iOS. BES provides some really great features, when it's running. A single point of failure is fine, until it fails. And then it's not funny anymore.

It's more a question of control (1)

Casandro (751346) | more than 2 years ago | (#37916622)

Who controls the BES? If it was based on an open protocol, everybody could just run their own server. Since its not, you have to either use the BES of your network operator, or buy a product you cannot look into.

Of course the network operators see this as a feature. They want control, and they want to do more than just shuffling around bits. That's why they heavily subsidize everything giving them control over the device. For a long time this meant that devices supporting OpenVPN or VoIP wouldn't be subsidized. Since the majority of phones are bought by operators, the devices are built according to the wishes of the operators.

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