At this year's Buy-Side Technology North American Summit, technology leaders at several major buy-side firms discussed their bring-your-own-device strategies, but most of the talk was around the Apple iPhone and iPad, and not Android or BlackBerry.
Mobile phones running the Android operating system are not having much success on Wall Street, at least according to one buy-side technology head. Scott Condron, BlackRock's CTO, noted during the opening C-level panel discussion that his firm enacted a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) program a year ago, and of 10,000 employees, only 10 people had requested access for Android. "This is an Apple story," he said.
This doesn't surprise me as a Motorola Droid owner—when my contract is up in December, I will be switching over to the iPhone. Once affectionately known as “CrackBerrys” for their ubiquity and addictive nature BlackBerrys have been on the way out when it comes to users on Wall Street. So does this mean that the iPhone will soon enjoy a monopoly as more hedge funds embrace BYOD strategies?
BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIM) has been working to overhaul its device and has been trying to build interest for next year's launch of the BlackBerry 10 operating system. But that also means that consumers have ignored the BlackBerry 7. No buy-side participants I’ve spoken to profess to be happy with a company-provided BlackBerry compared to their personal devices.
The Samsung Galaxy Note II phablet, which is the combination of an oversized phone and a miniature tablet, is drumming up a good deal of interest in advance of its US release this month. Users—including my brother—love it, the original phablet sold well, and there seems to be much excitement for this latest release.
So maybe I'm being a crotchety old man who longs for the days of sleek and small. I should also note that it's an Android device, which have been known to be susceptible to viruses, anathema to hedge funds obsessed with privacy and security.
Still, some competition is good. You can point to a litany of reasons why the BlackBerry managed to squander most of its capital in the business world, but its sheer dominance and lack of competition probably led to complacency.
Can the same thing happen to the iPhone? Apple lovers have worried that without the visionary Steve Jobs at the helm, the products will suffer. So far, there haven't been any major signs of slippage—notwithstanding Apple’s much-criticized attempt to take on Google Maps—but without an obsessive leader, comfort can lead to lethargy. It happened with BlackBerry; it can happen to the iPhone, too.
Buy-Side Technology North American Summit Wrap-up
For anyone who presented or attended this year's Summit, I'd like to send our sincere thanks. It's your support that allows these events to happen and, as such, please do not hesitate to give me a call (+1 646-490-3973) or email me (email@example.com) if you have any recommendations for future events or would like to know how to get involved.
Also, check out these stories that came from the event, and expect to see several more over the coming days:
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