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As Mobile Messaging Surges, Will President Obama Be Stranded on the White House Land Line?

Enterprises continue to show strengthening interest in mobile messaging. In 2008, the total number of delivered mobile messages grew from 129 million to 227 million. This large jump in enterprise mobile messaging follows the overall rise in text messaging that VeriSign calls a fast-growing global trend.

In addition to the explosion in enterprise messaging, VeriSign said the overall growth in mobile messaging was primarily driven by the use of messaging for social and political change and marketing, as evidenced by President-elect Barack Obama's successful mobile campaign and the use of mobile messaging for charitable donations. But now that Obama is on the verge of inhabiting the White House, the rumor is that he will have to give up his cherished BlackBerry.

Throughout the campaign, Obama had his BlackBerry with him almost constantly. In some ways, it defined him as the first computer-literate presidential prospect, promising a new forward-thinking, 21st century technological mindset for the White House. But the BlackBerry as symbol might not survive the transition to power: The Presidential Records Act (which demands that all official correspondence become available to the public) might end up tearing the device from Obama's clutches.

Obama's aides have said that the president-elect is hoping to be the first president to grace the Oval Office desk with a laptop. And I'm sure he can't even imagine functioning without that BlackBerry. Like many of us, the device has become a part of him. It still defines him.

And we're left asking, "Why should he give it up?"

Surely, the government's crack IT squad can configure the BlackBerry to receive mail from a secure primary server, thus satisfying the requirements of the Presidential Records Act. In this scenario, the mail resides on the main server, which simply pushes data to the device. Yes, the messages are still readable on the phone, which in typical circumstances could be lost or stolen. But do you really think Secret Service is going to let Obama lose his BlackBerry?

Perhaps it's time to introduce not just 21st century client devices but also a 21st century technological mindset to the Oval Office. BlackBerry devices flourish in enterprises across the country. These businesses maintain data security, and they comply with archival regulations. It should be no problem for the White House—in 2009!—to do the same.

Maybe it's up to Obama. Mr. President-elect, I challenge you to make it work

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