With the likes of Microsoft eyeing its turf, the outfit behind the ubiquitous BlackBerry knows it has a fight on its hands

Long have the would-be competitors to Research In Motion's popular BlackBerry wireless messaging device looked on in envy. None seem to have acquired quite the cachet of the little blue devices that hang from many an executive's belt, and certainly no would-be rivals have earned a nickname like the oft-repeated "Crackberry."

As smart handheld devices go, the BlackBerry is the king of the hill. A recent market survey by Gartner pegs the number of RIM's (RIMM ) BlackBerry units shipped in the second quarter at 840,000, out of a total market of 3.6 million devices. That's nearly double the 442,000 Treo smart phones that rival Palm (PALM ), RIM's closest competitor, says it shipped in the same period. RIM itself pegged its total subscriber base at 3.11 million.