RIM CEO: We Want to be in Third Place
September 26, 2012 11:11 AM
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(Source: Jason Mick/DailyTech (Original Image: AP))
RIM urges developers not to "be mislead", that "the [BlackBerry 10] launch is just ahead" in Q1 2013
A lack of ambition? A grim dose of reality? No matter how you interpret it, embattled Research in Motion, Ltd. (TSE:RIM) CEO Thorsten Heins' recent remarks are a testament to how far the giant has fallen, even as it hopes to rise from the ashes.
I. A Burning Platform
At a press unveil of beta hardware for the BlackBerry 10 platform, Mr. Heins said his company's short term goal is to get back to third place. He remarks, "We have a clear shot at being the number three platform on the market. We're not just another open platform on the market, we are
Three years ago hearing the CEO of RIM say that his company was shooting for third would have elicited confused chuckles. Back in 2009, RIM was at the top of the market. One of the most valuable tech stocks, RIM employed nearly 20,000 people globally. It sold more smartphones that any other OEM -- in fact nearly
1 out of every 2
smartphones sold at the time was a BlackBerry.
Ex-RIM CEO Mike Lazardis's
in 2009 -- "Sometimes we have to put the brakes on. We've shown that we can handle annual 100% growth. I'm not sure we could handle more than that."
The Rimdenberg has cruised from star to scorned. [Image Source: Jason Mick/DailyTech LLC]
Well RIM indeed hit the brakes. It's been a
tumultuous flaming crash
ever since, with RIM's brand image going from glowing to garbage due to the company's failure to keep pace with competitors in pushing the hardware and software envelope. Today
less than 1 in 20
smartphones sold is a BlackBerry [source]. RIM has
laid off nearly half
its employees. If you invested $22,000 USD in RIM back in 2008 you today would be left with less than $1,000 USD, thanks to the company's
II. A Comeback?
But CEO Thorsten Heins is convinced his company's new platform will be superior to Google Inc.'s (
Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean"
, Microsoft Corp.'s (
Windows Phone 8
], and Apple, Inc.'s (
He comments, "It has all the table stakes we need to have for consumer [success]. [Y]ou climb a mountain step by step. I'm not thinking about BlackBerry being the number one smartphone, BlackBerry needs to be number one in mobile computing."
RIM CEO Thorsten Heins would be happy to be in third place at this point. [Image Source: The Verge]
Unsurprisingly, much of Mr. Heins' critique of the competition focuses on Apple -- a brand darling that has arguably innovated the least since 2007 in the user interface department. Much like Microsoft RIM feels that pushing apps into the background -- the strategy Apple
-- hinders busy users as it increases wait times. Both BlackBerry 10 and Windows Phone 8 feature persistent apps that are simultaneously running.
RIM takes things even a step farther than Microsoft, though, displaying actual thumbnails of the running app in a "multitasking zone". Of course, there are some downsides to this approach -- some customers may prefer a more stylized animated widget and there may be battery life penalties for rendering an actual thumbnail of each active app.
III. RIM Serenades Developers in Odd Pitch
In its latest in a
bizarre marketing pitches
RIM released a video alongside the event titled "Devs, BlackBerry Is Going To Keep On Loving You", which features an odd rock song about BlackBerry 10 and RIM's "transition".
The rather out-of-tune RIM crooner promises, "Don't be mislead, the launch is just ahead."
Of course RIM has been promising that since mid-2011, so whether it meets its Q1 2013 deployment target remains to be seen. Whether developers -- and customers -- still have any love left for RIM also remains to be seen.
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Build custom features on top of an OS with the app support
9/26/2012 3:00:02 PM
RIM's best move would be to give up on the BB OS entirely, and focus on building their business-friendly phones and apps on top of another OS that has broad application support.
Even though I prefer Android for my own phone, WP8 would actually make a lot of sense for this given their business-oriented target market.
RE: Build custom features on top of an OS with the app support
9/28/2012 3:55:13 AM
WP7 didn't sell either. WP8 is better and there are more choices... but if Windows 8 tanks in the market, it will reduce the number of WP8 sales.
MS is positioning the Deskop<>tablet<>Phone to feed-loop in order to jump start into the Tablet/phone business.
I've been using Metro UI for almost 2 years on my Android phone, going to Android 4.0 with my new phone has wiped out my desire to use the WP7/8 Metro UI.
RIM spending 3 years to get BB10 to market shows major FUBAR. They could have gone Android with no money down and on their phones 2+ years ago. It would take them what.. 2 maybe 3 months to validate and ship an Android phone? Same for Nokia is WP8 bombs.
Android UI, while it functions mostly the same - the hardware makers can customize the skin and some functions for a slightly different experience. Using an almost pure Android 4.0 on my Atrix HD is a better experince than using the UI on Samsung GS3. SONY looks very different and sony-style slick. HTC is also quite nice in its own way. They handle task-switching slightly different.
RIM could have easily made their OWN BB-style skin, install their OWN BB APPS that is only for their hardware (if they want)... As it is, their hardware is vastly out-dated, their playbook is 1.5 years of failure.
"We can't expect users to use common sense. That would eliminate the need for all sorts of legislation, committees, oversight and lawyers." -- Christopher Jennings
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