So What's All The Fuss About?
By Carlo Longino, Fri Feb 06 01:00:00 GMT 2004

Today RIM announced that its BlackBerry platform gained its one millionth subscriber. That's it?


It took a while to sink in, but then I realized I was completely underwhelmed by this story. For all the hype and media attention BlackBerrys have gotten -- and I include myself in that -- just a million users? That's not even one tenth of one percent of total mobile users, or 0.08% for the numerically inclined.

The BlackBerry is a solid product that certainly inspires devotion and loyalty from its users. But just a million of them? I'd certainly forgive you for thinking they were ubioquitous. At least something like i-mode, another favorite of the mobile media, has got over 40 million users, roughly a third of the population of Japan.

RIM is making some headway in the market, though, as it's signed up a host of device makers to license its platform, but what might have been presumed to be a big lead over other mobile e-mail providers may not be so big after all. As more and more Microsoft Smartphones enter the market and the OS continues to emerge, it could dislodge the BlackBerry as the platform of choice for enterprises looking to mobilize their e-mail, particularly Exchange servers. And don't forget RIM rival Good Technology either, which has released a new version of its GoodLink system that's now compatible with Pocket PC devices as well as Palm ones.