Optical/IP Networks

RIM's Backend Kicker

5:45 PM -- Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) and Palm Inc. better hope that there really are millions of corporate email accounts out there just waiting to go mobile, because BlackBerry users don't show signs of ripping out their Blackberry servers anytime soon.

The new push email updates and devices are really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this market. And the gadgets are like the visible part of the frozen mass. What really sinks the competition is the Blackberry server sitting silently in the IT room.

For instance, the Microsoft push email system ties into their Exchange Server 2003 platform, but several of the Blackberry users I spoke to want to access email from IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)'s Lotus Notes software, a feature that RIM has offered since 2001.

Palm is clearly trying to piggyback on this installed base by linking its email devices directly to the Blackberry server (See Treo Hits New Highs .)

This might prove to be a way for Palm to sell more devices, but at this point it's very hard to see rival vendors persuading Blackberry users to rip out their backends.

Microsoft and Palm really are going to have to find a whole swathe of potential new email users to sell to, because the Blackberry ain't budging.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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