TCO Comparison of Enterprise Mobile Solutions: Windows Mobile and RIM BlackBerry

Ofcourse there’s more to an Enterprise Mobile Solutions discussion than just TCO, but in many discussions TCO is an important driver. I do question by the way how many companies actually still make the business case for mobile email (regardless if its RIM or Microsoft). The paper referred to in this post compares the RIM BlackBerry TCO against a Windows Mobile solution. 

The paper is sponsored by Microsoft, however it is the first recent paper I’ve seen, let me know if you know of other TCO reports …

This white paper is a comparative lab-based study of mobile platforms benchmarking the Microsoft Windows Mobile 6 Messaging and Security Feature Pack coupled with Exchange Server 2003 SP2 solution against the RIM Blackberry Handheld 4.x and Blackberry Enterprise Server 4.x.

By: Wipro Product Strategy and Architecture Practice,  June 2007

Download the TCO Comparison of Enterprise Mobile Solutions white paper

Update 6/7/07 : As many people have indicated the document is only available in .docx format (Word 2007). I have put a .PDF file on my blog for those who have not yet upgraded or installed the compatibility pack ;-).

Download the PDF version of the report : here

Peter de Haas
Peter de Haas

Peter is gedreven door de eindeloze mogelijkheden die technologische vooruitgang biedt. Met een scherp oog voor het herkennen van oplossingen waar anderen slechts problemen zien, is hij een expert in digitale transformaties. Peter zet zich met volle overgave in om individuen, teams en organisaties te begeleiden bij het ontwikkelen van nieuwe vaardigheden en het implementeren van innovatieve oplossingen.

Artikelen: 3821

14 reacties

  1. Its an easy comparison.
    If you want an unreliable mail platform – exchange – and want an unreliable, insecure mobile platform – windows mobile, then go for it. TCO for two unreliable and insecure architectures is easily going to swamp any corporate.
    Windows mobile phones as you know have an appaling return-to-manufacturer rate = aboout 50% in six months. So how does that factor? Windows mobile devices secure ? Ho ho.
    (Security wise, BlackBerry is certified end-to-end secure here in the UK by the security services.)
    Then there’s the training for windows mobile end users, because lets face it – the UI experience in windows mobile is far more “geek” and far less intuitive. Its no iPhone, is it ? Whereas the BlackBerry – I’ve taught non-geeks how to use it in one minute. “There’s the trackball, there’s the menu button, and there’s the “go-back” button. Easy.
    So why are you going out swinging against BlackBerry ? I know they *own* the mobile handset market in corporates, and still have a cachet value.
    In other words, those poor souls that are locked into the unreliable and insecure exchange 2003 mail system can at least have a PART of their mail solution work properly.
    Oh. Sorry. I get it.
    Its all a cheap shot at getting your user base to blindly adopt the latest and greatest Exchange 2007, isnt it ?
    I’m guessing by this action the adoption rates are on the floor. Hardly surprising, as MS inflicted yet another rip+replace platform change – windows 2003 64 bit – on the poor customer. And as we know, customers just *love* taking on yet another new operating system just to support a single application, dont they.
    —* Bill

  2. Peter,
    I can guess which way the report falls anyway. 😉
    One quick question though – why have this been posted in DOCX? If I were a Windows Mobile user wanted to affirm my buying decision, or get competitive information on alternative platforms, I couldn’t read this yet.
    Not until Q3, and users will likely need to do a ROM update to get that compatibility anyway. Assuming their carrier/IT allows them to do that, of course.
    A .doc file would be a better choice for this, surely?
    Whilst it’s laudable to push the new file format, when it comes to competitive information I’d think that you should use .doc or .pdf to reach as many people as possible…

  3. I can’t read the document? What’s a docx file? Haven’t they heard of pdf?

  4. The analysis is flawed for several reasons:
    1) Only shops of more than 2000 mobile devices were considered, but this has been extrapolated down to much smaller 100 and 500 user environments. However other factors were not adjusted, such as using MSDE instead of full SQL Server in smaller environments.
    2) Windows Mobile 5.0 support is available for free with Exchange Server 2003 SP2. BES is a third party solution that runs on top of Exchange Server 2003 (or Domino). Of course it’s going to cost more. What would be truly interesting is to throw in BES on Domino and see where it falls. 🙂
    3) There is no discussion of deploying BES on other platforms. I can assure you that deploying BES on Domino is much less than $3,300 per user per year for 100 users. I’ve done it for closer to $1500, including phone service.
    All in all, another fatally flawed pseudo analysis that has little bearing on reality.

  5. Wow I need to thank Ed for pointing you all in my direction (again) :-). Thanks Ed, I now owe you many beers …
    Maybe needless to say, but everyone is always welcome even when ED doesn’t point here 😀
    Some proofpoints for your arguments are missing (again)
    – Exchange is unreliable because …
    – Windows Mobile devices have a high return rate because …
    – Windows Mobile users require training because … (name the year if your user experience)
    I don’t see it at swinging at BlackBerry all of a sudden. As you may know Microsoft views RIM BlackBerry as a competitive solutions for some years now. You have a good point that RIM still has a lot of mindshare and a powerfull / easy to use solution. Microsoft is catching up at rapidly and overall has a much better mobile patform stiry compared to RIM. As I indicated in my post I do see TCO as a discussionpoint, but many other arguments apply, such as accessing other information systems besides email / calendar.
    No cheap shots for selling Exchange 2007 just a very good value proposition.
    Good point on docx, I do agree with you it is not smart to assume everyone already can hanlde this format. I have posted a .PDF file as well.
    .docx is the native Word 2007 fileformat, I guess you knew this already, but you made your point 😉
    1) Not sure where SQL comes in this picture
    2) You mean compare TCO of Exchange + Windows Mobile against Domino + BES + BlackBerry ?
    3) Ofcourse you would argue that a Microsoft sponsored TCO does not meet your standards. Hence the fact I asked for other TCO analysis that you may know of. I havent come across an independent TCO analysis favorable for RIM in the past 3 years …

  6. Microsoft views lots of things as a competitor even though the established vendor is looking at Microsoft like they’re an annoying nuisance. It’s like the 10 year old wanting to play with the bigger kids.
    Regarding you response to me:
    1) Read the report, particularly pages 11 and 13. BES uses SQL Server, except in smaller installs MSDE can be used.
    2) No, add Domino + BES + BlackBerry to what you already have. Currently the cost of the Exchange infrastructure is factored into the overall cost of the BlackBerry solution. You pretty much have to build the same Exchange infrastructure either way, it’s just in one case you’re adding BES on top of it. By switching out the messaging layer it would somewhat isolate the costs of the BES portion. Or showcase that BES on top of Exchange is more expensive than BES coupled with another messaging platform.
    3) And this is not an independent TCO analysis that paints Windows Mobile in a good light, either. It’s an analysis based on data from 2005 that has been reviewed in 2007, done by an IT outsourcing company that generates a substantial amount of its income from providing MS solutions. How credible is that?
    Generally speaking I don’t need a TCO analysis to tell me what’s right for my company. We choose the best fit at the best price point that fits with our current needs and future direction. I can look at the licensing costs, do a test install, and get it figured out fairly quickly.

  7. @Charles
    1) ok
    2) That would basicly mean TCO of Exchange + BES vs TCO of Domino + BES ? Thesere’s a number of TCO reports out there. The most recent one is Ferris Research which compares Exchange 2003 vs ND7. They also mention mobile access to email but that’s not quite accurate. NOt sure if adding BES to that would do the trick.
    3) I am not debating credibility here. I highlighted that the report is MS sponsored. I asked you / others if you know of independent sources who have done an analysis.
    I fully agree with you on the last point. Generally speaking that is what happens. Many organisations who are on the E2003/E2007 platform move from a BlackBerry solution to Windows Mobile. Some stick with BlackBerry. TCO is rarely the compelling factor in such a process (as I highlighted in my introduction of the post).

  8. Patrix,
    I am learning all the time 😉
    As you also see I have again highlighted the fact that Microsoft has simple solutions available to provide downward compatibility.
    Sorry about the search I am glad you are persistent and have good memory 😀

  9. Widely accepted formats aren’t “downward” in terms of compatibility just because Microsoft has declared darkness the new standard for light.
    I don’t follow TCO reports, or care about them, so I’m not able to provide anything recent.

  10. Here is a collection of TCO documents made available by RIM:
    Some are co-sponsored, others I could not discern if they were independent or not. I think with 10-15 minutes and Google I could find equivalent doco that supports Good Technology as having the best TCO.
    The Microsoft reports all make wide sweeping assumptions, like *everyone is already using Exchange XXXX* or whatever version supports their agenda in that particular report. Same goes for assumptions of support is already in house, so there is no incremental costs, but there sure is for BlackBerry in their reports.
    The last assumption also pretty much paints these so called Microsoft professionals as being pretty stupid as they are assumed to be smart enough to support a WinMob device with no incremental costs, but they are not smart enough to do the same for a BlackBerry. This cerainly has not been my personal experience.
    Further, this report presumes all organizations are only Exchange houses and as previously mentioned, running the latest version that supports the report, and they do not consider mixed environments. The focus of the report seems to me to be larger deployments, more than 100 devices, trust me that is a large deployment. It is my personal experience that that particular environment, in 2007 is still pretty rare. WinMob can not be a single solution in a mixed environment. BlackBerry can.
    Lastly, with regard to applications, WinMob is restricted to only running Windows applications, don’t even try to do browser based apps. Whereas the BlackBerry solution is based upon an open standard Java environment, meaning that with very little effort an existing application can be modified by the existing development staff to make it work on the BlackBerry device. Little if any incremental costs for development or support.
    I won’t even get into handheld device form factor, single source manufacturing, or efficient use of bandwidth.

  11. @ Charles,
    I should have chosen my words more carefully on the formats.
    I have by the way put i a request / question to the team to get back to me on the why we only publish certain information in .docx format for example. I hope to get a response anytime soon and hope the answer will be that other formats will be added 😉
    Agree on the TC reports, but they do serve the purpose that attention should be paid to costs as well.
    @ Pete
    Thanks for the reports, I will look into them.
    I will get back to your other points by tomorrow as they do deserve a bit more time than I can spend right now to address.

  12. Some of the comments that have been posted truly show the person bias of the poster rather than any real-world technical epertise.
    – Exchange server is certainly not unreliable. I work at a company that uses exchange to support over 200k active accounts and we’ve only had one unplanned outage (~15min) in the ten years I’ve been here.
    – If the Exchange infrastructure you’ve dealt with seems unreliable, talk to the local admin/architect. either their design or implimentation is seriously flawed.
    – Windows Mobile devices do not have a significantly higher return rate than Blackberry devices. We use both extensively and both types of devices are subject to the normal abuse any mobile product experiences. given the rapid growth in this sector, all mobile device users do want to upgrade often…perhaps you’re experiencing some induced failures?
    – If you work with a large company and your infrastructure hasn’t moved to a 64bit operating system…time to have a long talk with your IT folks. The advantages are significant and the rollover impact minimal.
    – If *you* are the IT person who thinks migrating to a 64bit OS platform seems difficult or unnecessary, please grab your iPod and iPhone and go get a marketing job somewhere, you don’t belong in IT.
    – I certainly don’t think that any TCO study should be taken as fact. It is a data point…take a look, compare to other reports from the industry, talk to leading implimenters in that industry. Above all, don’t accept information from those who write rather than those who execute as fact

Reacties zijn gesloten.