RIM Just Lost a Soul Mate

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Research In Motion (NAS: RIMM) just can't catch a break. Then again, luck finds doers -- and RIM hasn't done much to deserve a break lately.

The latest nail in the BlackBerry platform's coffin comes straight from the Pentagon, where RIM's smartphones have long been the only approved communications gadget. Top-secret information deserves top-notch security, and only RIM's product would do. It was a big deal when a handful of BlackBerry 7 devices were approved for Defense Department use last spring, for example.

If corporate IT bosses were RIM's best friends, the military was its soul mate.


But that just changed in a hurry.

The Defense Department just commissioned a new system to support Android and Apple (NAS: AAPL) devices on military networks. The new solution must support "at least 162,500" non-BlackBerry smartphones and tablets, and could be expanded to reach 8 million devices in the end. If the network can manage and connect BlackBerry devices, too, that's a bonus -- but it's not an absolute requirement.

Losing the Pentagon's absolute trust means losing a major selling point -- perhaps the last one RIM had left. The company can no longer claim to blow the competition's security features away with a quick nod toward the banks of the Potomac.

The BlackBerry 10 platform upgrade is RIM's last hope. But that solution keeps getting postponed, allowing Apple and Google (NAS: GOOG) to steal more mindshare every day. Maybe even the recently launched Microsoft (NAS: MSFT) Windows 8 software has time to gain a foothold before RIM takes another swing.

And by then, it'll be far too late to make a difference.

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The article RIM Just Lost a Soul Mate originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares of Google. Check out Anders' bio and holdings, or follow him on Twitter and Google+. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Google, and Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Apple, Google, and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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