What If: RIM Released BlackBerry Connect for the iPhone?!

It's WWDC 2009. Steve or Phil or Scott or Joz or whomever is handling the heavy lifting for the iPhone 3.0 section and release-date announcement smiles and says -- "There's one more thing...

"Last year we showed you Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync support. Nobody expected it, but we were blown away by the reception. This year, we're announcing BlackBerry Connect support for the iPhone. With this, not only can you chat with your team over BlackBerry Messenger, but you can push data right from your Corporate BES. And to tell us more about it, ladies and gentlemen, here's CrackBerry Kevin the Co-CEO of Research in Motion--"

Sounds crazy, doesn't it? It does to me. I know it does to Kevin. No way in Hull (it's in Ontario -- look it up!) this happens, right? It's not like Apple would ever do business with a competitor such as RIM... or Microsoft... or Google...

Would Apple even want BlackBerry Connect -- a software layer that emulates varying amounts of BlackBerry functionality on other devices like Symbian, Palm, or Windows Mobile -- on the iPhone? They've certainly got some degree of business integration now with the aforementioned Microsoft ActiveSync. And from RIM's side, while they have licensed BlackBerry Connect in the past, it's not like they've been putting any emphasis on it in the present, have they?

Aside from letting iPhone users instachat more seamlessly with BlackBerry users -- dogs and cats living together, as Dieter would say -- is there anything really in it for consumers either? It wouldn't give the iPhone a keyboard or the BlackBerry the ability to run more than a handful of tiny, on-memory apps. And, instead of breaking down more proprietary communication protocols, it would just be extending PIN the way it's already extended ActiveSync.

Still, crazier things have happened. What if this did? Would you want it?

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

What If: RIM Released BlackBerry Connect for the iPhone?!


This would be very cool, but there's no way it'll happen. RIM would be stupid to allow it... they'll lose customers!

Hell yeah I would want it. BES is the only reason I gave my my iphone for a blackberry. I refuse to carry 2 phones. RIM makes a lot of money off the sales of their BES servers. They will lose device money but if they license blackberry connect they cannot say no to apple. It would be illegal. They would have to stop blackberry connect all-together.

I forgot to mention. My opinion is for apple to buy RIM and put the BES through the apple development machine as well as get rid of the blackberry software and make blackberry hardware (yes with keys). They can take over the corporate market with iBerry and the consumer market with iPhone. You heard it here first ladies and gents.

i too have become addicted to the red light and would love to see instant notifications like bbry on the iphone.

And yes, I would definitely want and would pay for a service like this. It would make the iPhone so much more useful as a business device it's not funny.
And there is no way Apple would or could buy RIM... RIM would put up too much of a fight. Be much more profitable for RIM to license Blackberry Connect.

I won't lie, bb connect + bbm would make the iPhone perfect in my eyes. I remember telling Ash. Hehe. Like you said, no way in Hull.

In fact, I would pay the difference!
BTW, it could happen. The iPhone data plan is not Apple's, it's AT&T data unlike RIM and their own data server.

I don't think RIM would do such a thing, although I don't think it would cause a mayor lost on RIM side. In my case, I went back from the iphone to my blackberry just for the simple fact that I never got used to the keyboard but don't get me wrong the iphone is a good phone but i like blackberries more.

The only reason why many people have a blackberry is BBM. This is one major weakness of the iPhone . they either create their own typeof BBM style function, or have to buy RIM in my opinion. They need to stay ahead of the game!

Can someone put me out of my misery and spell it out for me...
ICal will sync on iPhone 3.0
If Contacts will sync on iPhone 3.0
If mail already pushes via Mobile Me
What exactly is the feature gap between IPhone and Blackberry?
Are we just talking about a 15 min slowness of Mobile Me's push and lack of Mac Mail ToDos.. Or is the the security you would want?
Or is it a more fundamental problem than the above?
Please explain, I don't get it..
Signed- A Blackberry owner, who is trying to cure himself of red light fever...(honestly, its not very GTD to be watching your inbox..!)

Casper: Blackberry push is implemented in a way that it hardly touches the battery life. And BB have it patented. Push on all other platforms, including the iPhone, is just as functional - it just destroys the battery really quickly.

Im on the edge of getting a blackberry storm because of this. I wish my iphone did have something like BBM or at least pushed all my mail like the blackberry does. I was hoping the 3.0 update would have something like that on it but it doesnt look like it will. So it looks like i may be saying good bye to my iphone. sniff sniff.

If...and it's a big IF the iPhone gets BB Messenger. I will camp out...do whatever it takes to get that new iPhone. It's really all that's missing for me. Apple will have the market cornered and there will be no competition at all..it'll be wrap. The chances of RIM allowing Apple to do that are slim to nil, but we can all dream, right?

If BB msgr were implemented into the iphone that would MORE than OK by me ;) that's the only thing that appeals to me from the BB....but I don't see it happening.

As a blackberry user, if bbm becomes available on the iphone, i will switch to the iphone. I would love to see it, but RIM would be crazy to allow it. I am locked in now to them for that reason.

Being a former BB user, and current iPhone user, BBM is the only thing i miss, and wish i had for my iPhone. iPhone is def a better phone than ANY of the BB's IMO, and having BBM on the iPhone would solidify that opinion.

I do get push email on my iphone. Fully synched calendar and contacts immediately. Becuase I have had this since the beginning I am wondering why other people haven't. Although the iphone email (on my phone at least) is far better than the Blackberry, Browsing is better and of course the apps are better, my daughter still wants a blackberry because it has BB Messenger and her friends have blackberries. It is now the only thing Blackberry has left. Setting up Push on my iphone was as easy as it is and took about 2 mins..

For those who didn't know, iphone has released their own I'm software/app. Its an iphone to iphone instant messaging capability. Its called Ping. Download it and enjoy with other iphone users.
I agree. I would be great if we could chat via BB to Iphone but it'll take some time for it to happen. BB was to release their Blackberry Application Suite in 2007 for Windows Mobile phones which would allow those phones to install BB software in addition to the windows software. It does include BBM. Now we're coming to the end of 2009 and it still hasn't been released. Supposedly its suppose to be out before the year ends but we'll see.

Yeeessss Ping! is here... I do have a Blackberry Bold, I bought it before iTunes 3.0 release... I didn't sell my BB because most of my friends use it and my husband use iPhone.. I also didn't bought iphone 3Gs because I have iPod Touch... And the good news is Ping! can be use with iPod Touch..so I don't have to buy anything new but still connected with all my BBM friends and iPhone friends... it's not our war .. It's their business "war" :) we costumer just enjoy all this great technology do to make our life easier... Peace!

I think this would be great, especially from an IT perspective. We haev deployed over 150 iPhones and our BB numbers have dropped. There is no way to monitor the iPhone like a BES, so by incorporating a license structure for the iphone in a BES would benifit RIM and help Apple to get more of a push into the Enterprise market
... Then again Apple could just buy-out RIM.