By Matt Kwong - Monday, January 7, 2013 - 0 Comments
How a start-up in Atlanta is stealing the BlackBerry maker’s most important clients
In the mobile tech trade, a business built on communication, rescinding a party invite is one way to send a frosty message. So when John Marshall, CEO of the Atlanta-based software firm AirWatch LLC, learned that Research In Motion Ltd. had “disinvited” him and six executives from the BlackBerry World expo last spring—a week before the May 1 conference, and with their Orlando flights and hotels already booked—the snub was obvious.
“Now we’re seen as a direct competitor,” Marshall says. RIM refunded the airline tickets. AirWatch, a “Bronze sponsor” since BlackBerry World in 2011, yanked its funding from the 2012 conference. The BlackBerry maker’s hostility toward the little-known southern start-up was telling. Theirs is a see-saw relationship. When big organizations dump RIM’s BlackBerry Enterprise Server—the once-pioneering software for handling workers’ emails—they contract AirWatch to protect the data on mobile devices like iPhones and Android phones. Consumer choice is driving the migration, says Jefferies analyst Peter Misek, who tracks RIM. “As RIM’s fortunes have faded, these alternative smartphone platforms have risen.” Continue…