BlackBerry lives another day… thanks to Nokia

The 3G auctions have been delayed more than once, mobile number portability has been postponed many times and there isn’t one deadline which was ever met. The Indian government, not happy with its track record, is trying to set the record straight. It has found Blackberry. India set a deadline for an answer from BlackBerry and it got the answer quite promptly, one day ahead of schedule.

We are the government. We can do anything.

Of the 41 million Blackberry users, 1 million are in India. Quite a sizeable customer base to be ignored. Also India is not the first government to raise concerns. Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, UAE, France, Lebanon and Algeria has raised security concerns in the past. No other country has gone this far to ban the services.

Indian officials wanted access to the encrypted messaging and email servers of BlackBerry and also that the servers be placed in India. BlackBerry will give immediate access from Sep 1. It was given 60 days to set up a server in India. In all likelihood, BlackBerry will budge. Not because it is dealing with government but it is dealing with government and competition at the same time. Nokia and Apple are breathing down its neck. Nokia, very slyly, announced that it was setting up a server in India. This announcement came few hours before the Indian government’s meeting with Research in Motion (BlackBerry). Nokia has cornered RIM fair and square. A classic case of corporate rivalry, only seen in the movies.

Or has Nokia actually helped Blackberry?

If you have options then you choose. If you don’t have any options then you take whatever is available. If Nokia did not make an announcement, and if BlackBerry had other plans, maybe the services of BlackBerry would have been banned from August 31. This would actually have helped Nokia and Apple. Many IT companies were already planning to move away from BlackBerry, thinking the ban on its services is imminent. Nokia has played it in to the hands of BlackBerry.

Gaining new customers is important and retaining existing customers is paramount. BlackBerry lives another day and retains most of its customers, thanks to Nokia.

What would have happened if Nokia delayed its decision by few days?