Many recent articles have identified issues that Research in Motion may have in growing its' user base in countries like India, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Why might growth be limited in these (and presumably some other) countries? Because RIM's network is too secure. The governments of these countries want RIM to relax some of their network security so that they can read private emails. One of the most appealing features of RIM products (at least for North American and European clients) IS the secure network for governments and corporations. Unfortunately, we are spending too much time talking about whether or not RIM will relax some of its network security for these countries. What we should be asking is 'why do they want to read the private emails of their citizens and employees?' To me, that is the much bigger question that warrants discussion. These countries are overtly saying that they want access to private emails and some might consider that an infringement of human rights. So far, RIM has steadfastly denied making any changes for these countries and I hope they hold that line, because if they relax security for these countries, it goes against their core strength and competitive advantage. It will be interesting to see if anyone else brings up the right to privacy issue that is screaming for attention.
It looks like RIM may have come up with a solution for Saudi Arabia and they have curbed some of the threats that have been floating around, will the same solution work for some of the other countries? Be careful what you wish for vis-a-vis global expansion. Some customers may be more effort than they are worth.