Amazon's Mobile Story Grows, RIM's Falters

As Amazon grabs the tablet spotlight, RIM's failing product and marketing strategy makes some CIOs lose the faith.
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The new and old faces of mobile computing collided on our site this week.

Amazon debuted a splashy new consumer tablet that prompted enterprise IT to race to ask security questions, before the device walked through the front door. RIM, meanwhile, heard growing doubt from enterprise IT about its ability to keep up with its mobile rivals.

Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet comes with a new Web browser, Silk, that splits computing duties between the device and Amazon's EC2 cloud. One consequence, as InformationWeek's Thomas Claburn reports, is that Amazon has a record of where you travel on the Web.

The company says that it will use the information not only to speed your visits to frequently visited pages, but also (of course) to enhance their business intelligence-based picture of you as an Amazon customer.

Amazon hasn't specified exactly what data it retains, or in what cases it will keep the data for longer than 30 days, Claburn reports.

Is it a privacy compromise you're willing to make on your personal Kindle Fire device? As InformationWeek contributing editor Jim Rapoza commented on Tom's story, "I'm almost less concerned with this then I am with how my ISP can track surfing data. I'm pretty sure I know how Amazon will use this data (to improve their own capability to sell stuff). With the ISPs, I'm less sure how they are using data and more concerned about what they are doing with it."

Of course, many enterprise RIM BlackBerry users already face a similar scenario, Claburn points out, since like Silk, BlackBerry Enterprise Server acts as an intermediary between the user and the Internet. Users of enterprise BlackBerry devices already operate under the assumption that Web surfing data is tracked.

Speaking of RIM, the news around the company continues to darken. Thursday, RIM had to quash a rumor (fueled by analyst speculation) that it was halting production of the ill-fated PlayBook tablet.

Our "Secret CIO" columnist, John McGreavey, has created quite a conversation around "RIM: What's Going On?" He argues that RIM has fallen so far behind the mobile pack that a CIO must now worry that users will laugh at him for RIM allegiance.

And based on the story comments, it seems he's not the only CIO who's losing his BlackBerry religion--despite RIM's long hold on enterprise IT, and long history with mobile security and management.

As one of my Twitter followers noted yesterday, "If CIOs lose the BlackBerry religion: Uh-oh."

Some of our readers are debating the right steps for RIM to take to recover from its current slump. But others have already moved on. Consider this comment on the story:

"RIM is done. It's only a matter of time. No innovation and resting on yesteryear's laurels will sink any tech company. They refused to take the iPhone and now Android seriously."

Finally, speaking of reader comments, we've rolled out a new commenting system here at As community manager Tom LaSusa notes, the old one was, well, the stuff of horror movies. I hope you'll accept our sincere apology for the old system--and join the conversation on our site again. I look forward to hearing from you.

Laurianne McLaughlin is editor-in-chief for Follow her on Twitter at @lmclaughlin.

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