Research In Motion launched a new software platform Tuesday that lets businesses manage smartphones made by rivals that have been devouring the BlackBerry maker’s market share.
BlackBerry Mobile Fusion was launched as a “next-generation mobile device management solution” for companies faced with a growing trend of employees wanting to use their iPhones, iPads or competing Android gadgets for work.
“Organizations face pressure to allow employees to bring their own devices into the workplace,” said RIM vice president of enterprise product management Alan Panezic.
“For businesses and government, managing a mix of mobile devices on any scale is chaotic.”
A strong selling point of the platform was that it promised IT managers they would be able to give Apple or Android mobile devices data control and security features that have made BlackBerry smartphones popular with companies.
BlackBerry Mobile Fusion software is available as a free download but RIM will charge companies fees based on numbers of devices being managed.
The Waterloo, Ontario-based firm reported a net loss of $125 million for its fiscal fourth quarter to March 3, compared with a profit of $418 million a year earlier.
That dragged down the full fiscal 2012 profit to $1.16 billion, down sharply from $3.4 billion a year earlier as RIM battled against Apple’s iPhones and iPads and an onslaught of Android-powered devices.
The results provided a rocky start for chief operating officer Thorsten Heins, who was named president and chief executive after the company’s co-chiefs stepped down in the face of investor pressure for a change.
The company has suffered from the costly delay in launching BlackBerry 10, which will use the new QNX operating system, and the commercial failure of the PlayBook tablet computer.