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Blackberry Businesses Cellphones

RIM Collapse Beginning? 305

Posted by Soulskill
from the friction-catching-up-with-inertia dept.
jfruhlinger writes "After the announcement of disappointing BlackBerry sales last quarter, RIM shares started to plummet. Blogger Chris Nerney wonders if this isn't the beginning of the company's death spiral, with the exodus away from RIM's BlackBerry platform too far along to stop and the company too small to compete with huge rivals like Apple and Google."
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RIM Collapse Beginning?

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  • And thanks for all the Blackberries. It's been fun.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      For a company that is still selling 15 million phones every quarter, and are only doing 40% more revenue year over year, they definitely sound like they're collapsing.

      So they might not continue to grow at such an incredible rate. They're still making money hand over fist and certainly seem to have plans to fix the issues people talk about. I have a playbook and I'm generally impressed with it - lack of a few apps notwithstanding.

      • by wiedzmin (1269816)
        Remember Palm (a pioneer in PDA's and a very profitable entity) and what happened to them after the flop of Palm Foleo? BlackBerry's Playbook is their Foleo.
        • by gstoddart (321705)

          Remember Palm (a pioneer in PDA's and a very profitable entity) and what happened to them after the flop of Palm Foleo?

          I think that's when HP bought them. ;-)

          So it sounds like:

          1. Make popular, leading edge product
          2. Suffer market decline and get bought out by HP (or another big player)
          3. Profit!

      • by 517714 (762276)

        When your market share drops from 19% to 14% in one quarter, that is not incredible growth. Research In Motion issued a warning stating that its smartphone sales would hit the low end of its projected 13.5 to 14.5 million in unit sales this quarter.

        If they don't leapfrog their competition with their next product, they will be marginalized quickly.

        • by gstoddart (321705)

          When your market share drops from 19% to 14% in one quarter, that is not incredible growth. Research In Motion issued a warning stating that its smartphone sales would hit the low end of its projected 13.5 to 14.5 million in unit sales this quarter.

          I remember hearing about six months back (possibly even more), that the biggest problem facing RIM wasn't so much that their growth was in decline ... but that their growth relative to the rest of the smart phone market was slowing.

          Even then, the number of iPhone

      • If they made sinks, you would be right. But in the hardware industry you usually have to have large volume to keep the price down. If they can't keep up with the other makers, then they are going to see their price rice and that is the spiral that is being talked about.

  • by iONiUM (530420) on Friday April 29, 2011 @01:14PM (#35976624) Homepage Journal

    While most indications seem to point in that direction, considering the playbook was not well received, and blackberry's current flagship devices are out-dated, at best, I feel it's kind of early to make this kind of claim.

    I think blackberry has probably two more quarters to get a solid business phone that rivals Android/iPhone devices that runs "OS7" (nobody really knows what that is yet, though I do not believe it's QNX..) If they can pull that off, maybe they'll have a chance..

    • by Metabolife (961249) on Friday April 29, 2011 @01:15PM (#35976648)

      I have a feeling that they'll begin to focus more on software, perhaps taking their BBM service to other platforms first.

      They should do what they did initially.. be rock solid on the business end, then phase back into the consumer realm.

      • by swb (14022) on Friday April 29, 2011 @01:28PM (#35976810)

        My sense is that they jumped the shark by failing to either make BES free or eliminate it and dependence on RIMs network completely.

        I can remember the pre-active sync days when it got ugly within organizations when the last BES license got used up. They were expensive and buying another block wasn't always viable.

        Just as soon as Activesync became viable and the onslaught of WinMo phones that supported it came out I began to see customers at the mid/small level abandon the expensive and complicated BES for direct SSL communication. No more dedicated BES server, no more expensive licenses.

        Had BES become free to use it might have helped prevent the loss of those markets; eliminating it completely would have been even more beneficial.

          • by danomac (1032160)
            When did they do that? We started phasing out blackberries where I work due to cost. Most users weren't terribly happy with the user interface of the blackberry either.
        • by hawguy (1600213) on Friday April 29, 2011 @02:14PM (#35977346)

          Just as soon as Activesync became viable and the onslaught of WinMo phones that supported it came out I began to see customers at the mid/small level abandon the expensive and complicated BES for direct SSL communication. No more dedicated BES server, no more expensive licenses.

          We saw the same thing happen when exec's started clamoring for iPhones. But most of them came back to Blackberry when they realized that they were missing some important functionality, (like the ability to see availability when booking a meeting), had problems with dropped appointments accepted on their iPhone, and have had problems with missing emails -- emails that show up in their inbox on outlook and blackberry, but not on the iPhone.

          For me personally, the big thing that's missing on my Android/ActiveSync mail client is a way to configure message filters to decide what to deliver to the device. I get some status messages from some devices that I generally want to read during the day, but don't want to see them on my Blackberry (and don't want to get woken up at 3am by a flurry of unimportant informational status messages, but I do want to be woken up by the ones that say we're out of disk space).

          I have about a dozen filters on my blackberry to filter out the noise, and though I can set up Outlook filtering, the kind of filtering I want to do is client-only, not server side, so if Outlook isn't running on my desktop, the messages don't get filtered.

          The Blackberry has another nice feature that saved my butt once - I was out of town, and our VPN concentrator failed and didn't failover to the backup device. No one could VPN into the office to fix it or even diagnose. Since my blackberry is essentially on our internal network, I was able to ssh into the backup concentrator, reboot it and get it online. All while 8000 miles from home. Took me 10 minutes to fix it, while it would have taken an hour or two to get someone to the office to fix it. I realize that this also makes the blackberry a potential back door into the network, so most people don't have unrestricted network access on their BB.

          I don't think Activesync is going to push out all of the corporate RIM/BES users just yet.

        • BES Express has been free for almost a year now. Almost the same featureset as BES, but no BES activation required on the phone. BB devices with standard BIS access can connect to BESx servers and get full data sync.

      • by dimeglio (456244)

        I just got a work-provided upgrade to the Bold 9780 (standard issue here and for the foreseeable future). I'm not worried for RIM but their tablet need to do better.

    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday April 29, 2011 @01:23PM (#35976762)

      Reason is the US government loves Blackberries. Seriously, it is like the one and only smartphone they use. There are a number of reasons for that, not the least of which being BB takes security very seriously and they are all FIPS certified and all that jazz.

      So while they might shrink if their consumer market gets gobbled up, unless the government ditches them they should be fine.

      • I think if Blackberry wants to survive they should look to the thinkpad model, where the laptop was perceived as a piece of 'corporate warrior' kit. I think their inroads into the consumer market are dead ends....

    • RIM has been too slow. I can't blame them because new Android phones have been coming out at a furious pace. I'm looking into buying a smartphone now, and Blackberries are completely out of consideration. The only thing they have going for them is rock-solid security, which is still attractive for the business market. I hope this kind of situation will put the fire under their asses to come out with something more competitive. The next few years for RIM will be rough.
      • Don't see how the security is any better than a direct https link between Exchage and your phone. Going through 3rd party servers means plenty of risk of exploits in future even if things are fine just now. The best thing they have going for them is their cheap international roaming costs IMO.

        • by b0bby (201198)

          I have a BES Express server; you can control a lot of stuff on the phones, in addition to the remote wipe capabilities, and I'm sure the full BES has even more control. You can control what types of Bluetooth devices can connect, etc. It's not just secure email, there's a ton of centralized security features on these things. And when you're running your own server, the encryption is between your server and the phone; despite it going through RIM, they can't see the data. So, the big enterprise guys aren't r

          • How can you be sure that they can't see the data though? Even if their current server software can't, what's to stop them changing the system so that it's possible? I'm not the tinfoil hat type, as in our company has BBs and I doubt anyone would even be interested in out email, but I always find that claim that RIM can't see the mails a little silly..

        • by T5 (308759)

          Don't see how the security is any better than a direct https link between Exchange and your phone.

          It's not an issue of data in flight. It's a matter of data at rest on the smart phone itself. BlackBerries have strong encryption that covers everything stored on the phone itself, including the removable media. No other smart phone comes close. It's FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standard) 140-2 blessed, which is good enough for sensitive but unclassified information storage by US Federal government users. It meets several other governments' requirements as well.

          FIPS 140-2 certification is the o

      • by vakuona (788200)

        Don't blame Blackberry's failings on the pace at which Android devices are coming out. Apple is doing very well without refreshing their phone every 3 months. The problem is that they are not making the right products for the market out there. The market is no longer captive, they can't just depend on being blackberry anymore as a marketing strategy. And they totally failed to _get_ apps.

      • by Jawnn (445279)

        RIM has been too slow... ...only thing they have going for them is rock-solid security...

        You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. "Rock solid" means, in my book at least, unquestionable, bomb-proof, without "back doors" that can be opened with a key given to any government that whines loudly enough. See sibling's comments about RIM rolling over and peeing on themselves for the U.A.E.

      • I personally can't stand the things, but they also have multiple-day battery life with even fairly heavy usage.
    • by Kenja (541830)
      Only thing Blackberry had going for it was security, which they gave away with their capitulation to United Arab Emirates and other governments instance on access. There is no reason to get a RIM device over Droid or IOS and many reasons to not get one.
      • How was their security any better than an Exchange https connection? People always go on about Blackberry security being amazing, but I just don't see it, for exactly the reasons you say and more. If you're relying on 3rd party servers, you run the risk of them selling out, being hacked, going bankrupt and someone seizing their servers, etc.

        • by 49152 (690909)

          The security is not any better for you, it is better for your corporate masters.

          You see, they get to have complete 100% control on what you can or cannot do with the device. Event to the point of remote wipe if you loose the phone or decide to quit withouts giving it back.

          That is the big difference and what they mean by "better security".

          • Please explain how that's any better/different than what Apple offers?

            http://www.apple.com/iphone/business/integration/ [apple.com]

            • by sarhjinian (94086)

              What Apple offers can be fairly easily circumvented (all you need to do is wipe the device yourself).

              The abovementioned "it's better for your corporate masters" is dead-bang-on.

    • by yog (19073) *

      Rim makes good phones. I use Blackberries (I program on them at work) and Android (my personal phone is a Nexus One) and overall the Rim phones are more reliable as phones go. The Android/iPhone is a handheld internet portal that happens to make phone calls, not always very reliably. For example, in bright sunlight it's difficult to even see the keypad to dial a number on.

      On the other hand, the app market drives phone sales nowadays, so anyone who wants something beyond a basic flip phone is likely to go

      • by MrMarket (983874)

        They need to break free of their corporate mentality and market this thing to the general public, not just their loyal BB users.

        ...or they could compete in the tablet space where no one else is: the enterprise. I would love to see someone take the paperless office seriously. Developing an application suite to help people do all the things they do with paper in the office on a tablet. There are some settings where writing an annotating is preferred over typing. If I were BB, I'd go after that user experience in the office. They should be thinking of all the reasons people still need to print stuff or write on paper (and lose it), an

      • by ganjadude (952775)
        I think the opposite is true (in general) about tethering. I dont WANT my tablet to have 3G, Why do i want to pay for 2 "lines" when I can tether my phone to my tablet?
    • Thing is, BB makes their money in the enterprise space, and that population doesn't replace phones on a whim or every 1-2 years. They made big decisions in committee, and aren't as beholden to the "must have the latest thing" mentality

    • by Andy Dodd (701)

      Why do people keep on talking about BlackBerry running QNX?

      It's like talking incessantly about Android phones running Linux and iOS devices running BSD - the core kernel doesn't really matter that much, it's what you layer on top of it.

      There's nothing new about QNX, it's been around for well over a decade. Just like there's nothing new about Linux (even about Linux on mobile phones), but Google's userland layer on top of it has made major waves in the smarphone market.

    • by sribe (304414)

      I think blackberry has probably two more quarters to get a solid business phone that rivals Android/iPhone devices that runs "OS7" (nobody really knows what that is yet, though I do not believe it's QNX..) If they can pull that off, maybe they'll have a chance..

      That would require smart & effective leadership. Have you listened to the delusional babbling of RIM's co-CEOs lately? RIM is already dead; they just won't realize it for quite a while longer.

  • by ArhcAngel (247594) on Friday April 29, 2011 @01:14PM (#35976628)
    WOW...I guess that's why I don't read IT World.
    • by Moby Cock (771358)

      Agreed. The BB has always been and continues to be very well suited for enterprise use. The foreseeable future has a place for BB and RIM.

      • by COMON$ (806135)
        Sorry, that is a lie. BB no longer has a place in my enterprise environments. They are expensive, require additional data plans with Verizon (on top of the regular data plan). The devices themselves offer only basic functionality.

        In the real world enterprises we are moving away from BB because they are not offering what Apple and Android can. Apple and Android have better word processing, far superior web capabillites, robust applications, and with servers like Good, we no longer have the dependenc

        • by ArhcAngel (247594)

          Sorry, that is a lie.

          A lie? seriously! How pompous and arrogant you must be

          They are expensive, require additional data plans with Verizon

          That is Verizon's fault not RIM's. Maybe it's your mobile provider you should change.

          So sorry, NO, in the real enterprise world we are tired of dealing with...

          I don't remember giving you my proxy to make blanket statements for me and I doubt you speak for the entire enterprise world. For organizations that don't need the stability and security that a BES/Blackberry provide there are indeed some moving toward other devices. For any group that deals in sensitive information they need to protect there just isn't any competitor t

    • by wsxyz (543068)
      Yea, keep dreaming that it's just IT World. Go look at Google news and search on RIM. Even the Canadian newspapers are questioning RIM's future.
    • Indeed. WE'll complete ignore that this is a debt free company with a strong portfolio, significant income, and expanding user base, and go right to the doom and gloom headline.
  • and close them down as symbian before handing the keys over to microsoft

  • RIMM Put Contracts (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The put option volume on RIM stock is staggering. Just today alone there have been 67 put contracts sold at a $27.50 strike price for January 2013. Even crazier is that even though those contracts are currently $20 out of the money, they still sold in the $1.50 range... Certainly the market is betting that RIM is toast.

  • Recent marketing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AndyAndyAndyAndy (967043) <`afacini' `at' `gmail.com'> on Friday April 29, 2011 @01:16PM (#35976650)
    As many in the U.S. (and elsewhere?) have probably seen, they've been trying to market the BlackBerry as a social networks platform... quite explicitly at least, for "flirting." You know, the very unrealistic ads featuring hipster boys and girls raving about how BBM lets them connect. (Finally!)

    Anyway, it's a huge departure from what people associate with BB and is obviously a bit of a desperation tactic. You can bet they're trying to cash in on the affluent youth, but if it's backfiring, it may alienate the corporate buyers from investing in the newer BB models.

    A risky move, and unfortunately for RIM, it doesn't look like it will work.
    • Seems to be working fine for them in Canada... most of the high school kids I know buy blackberry as their first smartphone... and I know that CIBC just bought a lot of blackberries for one of their departments about 3 weeks ago... (Replacing pagers and older non-BB phones)
      • by bogaboga (793279)

        Seems to be working fine for them in Canada...

        Question is..."For how long?" The trend lines are not in RIM's favour!

        most of the high school kids I know buy blackberry as their first smartphone...

        That is until they discover Android. Take the Galaxy line of phones from Samsung. The latest Galaxy S2 leaves the newest BlackBerry phone in the dust if you exclude enterprise capabilities. These features do not matter that much to those high school kids. I know because I teach them.

      • It's nice to give little countries a chance once in a while, right?

        RIM was a success story for Canada, a chance to present a world-class Canadian-made product.

        Total world assimilation into the RDF seems so ... boring.

      • Re:Recent marketing (Score:4, Interesting)

        by cyber-vandal (148830) on Friday April 29, 2011 @02:40PM (#35977754) Homepage

        Same here in the UK. Blackberries seem to be in the phones of the young and trendy (i.e. not me ;-)). I see plenty of cool kids with them and very few with iPhones. The iPhones seem to be in the hands of rich students or middle-aged people who wish they were still cool.

    • by mewsenews (251487)

      Up here in Canada the local hip hop station has been playing a song called "swaggberry" talking about how if you don't have a BBM pin, where you bin?

      It's an awful song and it's so obviously bought and paid for

    • Given the Sidekick's gruesome demise at the hands of Microsoft, RIM actually has a pretty strong claim to being the dominant "good messaging dumbphone" of choice. Because of the emphasis on solid keyboards, and the ability to reuse the stuff they've been refining for corporate since forever, they are nicer than the no-name junk; but their comparatively modest hardware specs and data use make them cheaper than the smartphones that people actually want. At least if advertising in my area(and observation of wh
    • The problem with trying to pull business from the consumer market with Blackberry Messenger is that it doesn't do you any good unless your friends have Blackberries too.

      • Unless they make an iPhone and/or Android app (yeah yeah, WP7 and WebOS, too) to allow those users to keep in touch with their BBM-using friends. They'd have to come up with some really compelling use for it--like maybe it'd also provide a front-end for Facebook or Twitter--but the issue you raised could indeed be addressed with some creativity.
    • by Abreu (173023)

      Blackberry messenger was, until a few months ago THE ultimate social network for yuppie kids in Mexico, but WhatsApp has been replacing it almost everywhere.

      A lot of kids still love their Blackberries, though (the Curve is the favorite model, by far)

  • I truthfully believe the beginning of the spiral started as a very very small circle of people at the center of a spiral that only the RIM Board and Execs saw and either ignored or misunderstood.

    The moment the spiral started was when Steve Jobs stood alone on a black stage and pointed a colorful touch screen at the audience and then spoke convincingly of the world to come in personal communications.

    I am an outsider, but from what I see, if you wait 3-4 years in a new market evolution-revolution, you die. W

  • RIM RIP (Score:3, Funny)

    by tigqc016 (754659) on Friday April 29, 2011 @01:17PM (#35976668)
    RIM has three options. 1) Continue the course they are on and become a niche player in smartphone market. 2) Transition to Android, port their systems to this new O/S and maintain their viability. 3) Get purchased by third party who transitions RIM's systems to third party's systems. An Apple purchase would be sweet as it would get Apple access to BBM and Enterprises, kill off competing Pad. Purchase by MS would mean port to WP7 (embrace, extend, extinguish). Purchase by Android marker would give similar outcome as an Apple purchase. as I see it (aisi)
    • I think there's a 4th alternative: Understand and focus on their -core market-, which is corporations. One could be very profitable selling secure and manageable (from the IT/CIO sense) phones and pads to just the Fortune 500 and governments.

      What surprised/disappointed me about the Playbook was the absence of the level of information assurance support for that device. It's the Blackberry's primary selling point to what I see as their core market. Better to have announced a delay associated with "getting

  • Stability (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TheNinjaroach (878876) on Friday April 29, 2011 @01:17PM (#35976674)
    RIM's Blackberry platform was years ahead of the game. Since then, Microsoft released ActiveSync which furthered their Exchange dominance and enabled email, calendar and contact syncing on just about every other phone platform available.

    Meanwhile, RIM clings to their dying subscription-based revenue model and does nothing to address any of the stability concerns on their phones. We have C-level executives today using brand new Blackberries that lock up or fail to sync on a daily basis - and the best help our Email guys can offer is for them to remove the battery for a few seconds before powering the phone back on.

    Seriously RIM, you have the most mature EMail-centric phone platform on the planet, but your phones are lagging behind the much younger competition in critical areas like stability. I guess that's why we're recommending Android or iPhone to all of our business users with phones up for replacement..
    • by fermion (181285)
      It is easy to write off RIM, just like it es easy to write off Apple. The iPhone will never compete against Nokia. The iPhone will never sell through a single vendor. Globally Nokia stills dominates, and does not use Android. Apple is becoming the top handset seller. In fact, Android does not apear to be able to compete direct against the iPhone, as now that there is Verizon iPhone, Android market share has fallen.

      Android is the current thing. Many vendors are making many phones, and they are selli

  • I don't know (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Haedrian (1676506) on Friday April 29, 2011 @01:20PM (#35976720)

    My impression is that RIM phones are kinda like Jags. You buy them to 'show off' that you're a buisinessy type.

    You'd expect a hot-shot businessman to use serious phones like Blackberries. You don't expect him to mingle with the rest of us and our androids or iOSes.

    BB had been technologically backwards for ages. They barely have any touchscreen devices (its 2011 people), and the app store is more 'serious'.

    So I don't know, I think RIM was dying for ages. Just that its a 'show off' phone, so its aimed at people who want to look 'fessional but don't know jack about technology. So lots of people.

    • They barely have touchscreen devices? They've had the Torch out for a while, and the Storm out for even longer. They're adding touch to the curve and the bold this year. And people don't buy blackberries because they "don't know jack about technology." I bough my blackberry, and will continue to buy blackberry phones in the future because: a) The battery life is wonderful. Stock battery lasts me a good solid 3-4 days between charges. That means that when I switch to a heavy use scenario for some reason, I
      • by Haedrian (1676506)

        They barely have touchscreen devices? They've had the Torch out for a while, and the Storm out for even longer. They're adding touch to the curve and the bold this year.

        BB Storm:November 14, 2008
        iPhone: June 29, 2007
        Nokia 5800 Xpress: January 2, 2008

        Bit late to the whole touchscreen party don't you think? These weren't the first phones to have touchscreen on them. Now tons of phones have touchscreens... and they have... wow... 2. One of which is 2 and a half years old. Oh right and the playbook. Heh.
        -
        The Modern market isn't buying mobiles just to phone with them. They get them for the apps. Which is why having good sound quality isn't much of a large sales emphasis as you

    • Not the case any more. I transitioned our firm from Blackberries to iPhones a year ago, and its been a roaring success. Its just so much more user friendly, even our technically inept users who had trouble using some of the functionality on RIM devices took to the iPhones very easily. Add to that the numerous apps available and its become the most popular business tool in the company, even more so than laptops. I know of other firms as well that have moved over with similar results. So I dont think it can
    • by jittles (1613415)

      My impression is that RIM phones are kinda like Jags. You buy them to 'show off' that you're a buisinessy type.

      OMG my boss to the tee. I was in a conference call with him a couple of weeks ago and he was giving the guy his contact info. Here's how it went:

      Boss: If you need to reach me you can call me on my blackberry at 555-555-1212
      Guy: Ok so that is your cell phone number?
      Boss: Yes that is my blackberry number.

      Come on. Can't you just call it a cellphone like everyone else?

  • by Antarius (542615) on Friday April 29, 2011 @01:22PM (#35976744)
    In already uncertain economic times, this is terrible news for RIM employees and their families.

    I propose we make some sort of action to make RIM Jobs safe!
    • Perhaps it's time for them to accept that producing your own phone OS is just too much work for a small player, and load their BlackBerry software suite on Windows Mobile.

      If they managed to become BBW, they would have a truly impressive amount of weight to throw around.

      • by vakuona (788200)

        The problem isn't that it is too much work. They can easily cover their costs for that. The problem is market are notoriously fickle, and producing your own OS is risky - differentiation can be a blessing or a curse. If Palm could afford to o so, then so could Blackberry.

  • ... and the company too small to compete with huge rivals like Apple and Google.

    I don't even know what this means. There are many examples of small companies which are able to compete just fine against bigger (presumably more established) companies. In fact, in this case, RIM was the established company when Apple and Google entered the cellphone business. If RIM has not been able to hold onto their lead, it's not because they're too small. More likely they were just caught standing still.

  • by strick1226 (62434) on Friday April 29, 2011 @01:25PM (#35976774)
    The fact that the Playbook tablet was released without a native RIM Email client--and also did not include the official BlackBerry Messenger app--made me stop and reconsider just where Research in Motion finds itself these days.

    The news that RIM suddenly just renamed [crackberry.com] BlackBerry OS 6.1 as OS 7 strikes me as an additional sign of desperate moves, too; the OS isn't a major change, as it's not the desired/anticipated move to QNX base or anything.

    I used BB's for years, and appreciated them for their excellent email support at the time. The truth is, though, once I had a taste of the Android platform, my days with RIM were over. The nearly-perfect Google data sync and number of applications are big advantages but, for my wife and I, it really came down to the fact that the browser didn't lock up the whole damned phone when a website became unresponsive.

    Perhaps they can pull themselves together here--it's not an impossibility--and they're still in much better shape than Microsoft in regards to the smartphone market.

    • by Rich0 (548339)

      Yup, RIM was competitive back when the competition was a feature phone with WAP support.

      Now only inertia keeps them around. No company would invest in the platform at this point unless the ROI was really quick. Once everybody migrates to either iOS or Android RIM's sales will plummet.

    • by pr0t0 (216378) on Friday April 29, 2011 @03:26PM (#35978364)

      Your last line reminds me of something I've wondered for a couple of years now. Why doesn't the company whose server and desktop operating systems and software often found in the enterprise, team up with the company whose handsets are often found in the enterprise? I mean in the wake of iOS and Android's success, I don't see the MS/Nokia deal being enough of a defense...at least not in the US anyway.

      BUT, I think a MS/RIM partnership would be HUGE. RIM's security and notification system, MS software and network integration; it'd be a big win for enterprise. I could see many businesses feeling comfortable putting their mobile eggs in that basket. I'm not even a real fan of either company, but I would feel like the mobility needs for my enterprise would have a secure road map for development, infrastructure, and support.

  • Eh.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday April 29, 2011 @01:26PM (#35976782) Journal
    The golden boys of Wall St. seem to have a very limited attention span for boring commodity producers who aren't continually heaping up the growth or delivering larger profits every quarter. It is unsurprising that they would turn on RIM rather sharply: RIM has, after all, fallen from being The phone of the Serious Set to being a smart-ish phone that lags behind Android and the successor to the sidekick among impecunious text-messagers. Party is over, dudes. Margins are set to be less exciting from here on in.

    However, there is a large difference between having your share price plummet and "collapsing". RIM has consistently had, and will likely continue to have, the ability to deliver phones that squeeze reasonable performance out of hardware that is practically Nokia-esque in its distance from the leading edge. This means that RIM can afford to make their handsets cheap. Unlike other cheap handset makers, however, they have a relatively well regarded platform in terms of security and integration with enterprise email systems. Their aggressive pre-crunching of data before it goes over the airwaves(and the fact that their web browser blows goats through capillary tubing) also means that carriers are often pretty willing to make RIM data plans incrementally cheaper than those for smarter phones whose appetite for data reflects their PC heritage.

    Given those two sets of facts, I would very much agree that RIM's ability to command exciting margins in the future is in the tank. Apple, among the mainstream, and high end androids, among the techies, have the premium niche sewn up for now. MS and HP's positions are currently unenviable; but both are fresher and more dynamic than RIM. The cheap seats will, increasingly, be dominated by semi-KIRFs running stock android pumped out by the assorted Pacific rim OEMs who used to be the anonymous servitors of brands you've heard of. However, given those two sets of facts, I would also argue that RIM should be able to embed itself fairly solidly in its niche, and hang on for a fair length of time. The market for boring business email phones is not exactly small, and RIM has by far the most mature offering in that area.
  • by bogaboga (793279) on Friday April 29, 2011 @01:31PM (#35976848)

    Sooner or later, RIM will have to ditch BlackBerry for DroidBerry.

  • They said the same about Motorola. They are still around.

  • by neiras (723124) on Friday April 29, 2011 @01:36PM (#35976904)

    Several years back I worked on some software for the Blackberry (pre-Pearl). Over the past couple of months I've written software for the Playbook as part of their runup to release. The experience was just as shoddy both times. Just getting started on a project is an exercise in intuition and quite the struggle. Tooling is spread across multiple archives; some of it is/was windows-only; documentation is poor or misleading.

    I remember my former CEO standing in my office nearly 7 years ago with myself and a colleague, saying "Hey, I have [some senior RIM guy] on the line... Anything you want to say to him?" Both myself and my colleague looked at each other, then said "Tell him RIM treats developers like crap. We need better tools."

    Not the most intelligent thing to say, I guess, but it was a casual conversation and we were both pretty frustrated. Of course, the RIM guy had no response.

    RIM's attitude towards developers only works in an environment where they are the only game in town. They aren't anymore, and their enterprise customers' resistance to change is the only reason they haven't already crashed and burned.

  • IMHO, it was RIMs service that made the company. Once others caught up they had to compete at the hardware level too. They started putting out half-baked hardware and software like the Storm and it's OS (I went through four before giving up). I am now on the 3GS and it has been rock solid for 19 months. Now the Playbook is out the the reviews I have read are like deja vu.
  • by RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) <taiki.cox@net> on Friday April 29, 2011 @01:46PM (#35977028)

    Normally when there's an article where the answer is best left, "I don't know." It's usually shit.

    However, the author of this article is making a pretty good case that RIM's screwed. Profits are down, marketshare is down, and developers are looking to develop for iOS and Android more than QNX and BB6.

    I don't think it's that dire, not yet. The upcoming quarterly results are going to shellack their current stock price even worse and shake off the RIM faithful.

    The big question is, what about next quarter? RIM doesn't need to be #1, or #2, or even #5. They just need to be profitable to honestly survive.(This is the maybe.)

    The question I have for the BB faithful is whether or not RIM's going to start trimming out it's product tree and offer a more limited lineup of phones and focus on optimizing their OS or if they're going to go do something crazy. I think that the Playbook doesn't need to be a winner in the market, just drive sales for BB6 devices, and BB6 devices aren't bad at any rate. (This is the no.)

    OTOH, if they were capable of that, they wouldn't have lost ground share in the corporate world to iOS and Android not to mention share in the consumer market. I've seen friends flee the BB Ecosystem after realizing their device model line of choice isn't getting upgraded. This would be the most likely and really sad big fat yes.

    RIM's probably going to take it in the pants, but, they have some outs, let's see if they take them. Even if they pare out some of the more redundant lines, like having 4 or so models of the Curve, other BB devices with modern hardware and an optimized OS with better browser should be enticing enough to bring the BB faithful back to the fold. Just, leave Flash for the Playbook.

  • I'm not really sure what they could do at this point to turn the ship around.

    Much like Microsoft they sat on their ass for the last 5 years. I think it's too late for them, as it was the case with Nokia. At least you know that Nokia has a foothold in the consumer market with some smartphones, a ton of burners and a fairly strong brand.

    Blackberry is synonymous with corporate and boring. It's a glorified pager for rapidly-declining business segment. There is virtually no enthusiasm in the platform and mainstr

  • It started when... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Friday April 29, 2011 @02:40PM (#35977744) Homepage

    They rolled over and gave the keys to everyone's kingdom to whatever whiny monarch or head of state that wanted it. It instantly destroyed their credibility as to the "security" of the data..

    Honestly if they told the king of Saudia Arabia to stuff it up his rear the would have had a LOT of instant credibility to the business world. Instead they rolled over and said , "here this is how you read everyones emails, can we do anything else for you?"

  • I would've stuck with a BB if it weren't for two things:

    1) I could only use my BB flatrate with an extra push data option that added to my allready steep premium for a HSDPA/UMTS data flatrate. This sucks. They should've offered a lesser security option for push email or a switch-off option all together so people who aren't corporate users could use their BBs as any other smartphone user. They didn't and instead had carriers buy the full BB server package and pass the price on to their customers, naturally.

  • by ivoras (455934) <<ivoras> <at> <fer.hr>> on Friday April 29, 2011 @03:31PM (#35978402) Homepage

    RIM was a "one-trick-pony" company in a world where people needed the functionalities they now get from "ordinary" smartphones but which the telcos and phone manufacturers refused to provide. If iPhone and Android didn't happend when they did, I would probably own a Blackberry now simply because nothing else did Internet and e-mail decently, but they tried to milk that platform without innovating for far too long. They may or may not be in trouble right now but in 2 years - who would want to buy a new Blackberry?

    It's easy to be prophetic after the battle but imagine if RIM made the first Android phones instead of HTC - they would be unstoppable now.

  • by wisnoskij (1206448) on Friday April 29, 2011 @03:53PM (#35978636) Homepage

    Sure they might have to cut back a little or at least slow their growth, but they are still blackberry the classiest smart phone out their.

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