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Does RIM's "Huge Loss" Signal Wider Handset Market Deterioration? 278

Posted by samzenpus
from the blood-in-the-water dept.
zacharye writes "RIM was expected to deliver a nightmarish, -30% year-on-year revenue decline into the May quarter — the company issued its latest profit warning just four weeks ago. Yet it ended up missing the lowered consensus estimate by 10%, generating just $2.8 billion in sales. The reasons for RIM's decline are well-known and will be rehashed again over the next 24 hours. But the size of the F1Q13 sales miss raises another question: apart from Apple and Samsung, is the handset industry drifting into serious trouble?"
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Does RIM's "Huge Loss" Signal Wider Handset Market Deterioration?

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  • No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ghn (2469034) on Friday June 29, 2012 @12:30AM (#40490185)

    Look at apple's profits.

    And please stop the sensationalist question mark titles.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Z00L00K (682162)

      The handset industry is facing the same problem as the PC industry did during the 80's and we will end up with 2 or 3 large players.

      • Re:No (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 29, 2012 @01:08AM (#40490413)

        We only have a handful of large players in the handset industry right now.

        If it's like the PC industry, we'll get exactly what we want for dirt cheap from any one of a 1,000 different manufacturers operating on razor-thin margins.

        That'd be nice, and I'd like to see Google take their Motorola Mobility purchase and kick off that trend right now.

      • So... (Score:5, Informative)

        by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Friday June 29, 2012 @02:28AM (#40490783) Journal

        HP/Compaq, Lenovo, Acer, Asus, Dell, Samsung, Sony, Fujitsu... who among these would you call small players? A small player in my mind is a store chain that sells rebranded or white label computers, not an asian mega giant.

        Just because YOU don't shop around, doesn't mean nobody else does.

        • Re:So... (Score:5, Informative)

          by Karlt1 (231423) on Friday June 29, 2012 @06:55AM (#40491917)

          HP/Compaq - their PC division makes so little money they thought about getting rid of it.

          Lenovo - usually loses money every now and thn thy make a slight profit.

          Acer - hasn't done well since the netbook craze.

          Dell - Is seeing revenue and profit decline and trying to move away from PCs to services.

          Sony - reported billion dollar losses.

          Does that seem like a healthy industry?

          • Re:So... (Score:5, Interesting)

            by alfredo (18243) on Friday June 29, 2012 @09:10AM (#40492765)
            All of the above used the same OS, and all were competing on price. Sony did try to distinguish themselves in the design department, but they couldn't match the Apple design team. HP made some handsome machines, but once booted, they looked like everyone else. They were all Microsoft's bitch, and though it gave an advantage in some markets, they had no control of the quality of the OS. In the end, they were boring in design and use. Their products were associated with work. Booting up your home computer shouldn't remind you of the crushing boredom of your beige box in your cubicle.
            • Re:So... (Score:4, Informative)

              by Karlt1 (231423) on Friday June 29, 2012 @09:29AM (#40492943)

              How is this any different from the phone industry?

              Samsung - makes 26% of the industry profit because they can manufacturer their own components.

              Motorola Mobility - hasn't made a profit ad a standalone entity in two years.

              HTC - very slim profit. 1% of the industry profit.

              Sony/Ericson - losing money.

              RIM - losing money.

              Nokia- losing money.

              LG - losing money.

              Only three mobile companies are making money - Apple 66% + of the industry profits, Samsung most of the rest with HTC making 1%.

      • Re:No (Score:5, Interesting)

        by gl4ss (559668) on Friday June 29, 2012 @03:22AM (#40491083) Homepage Journal

        The handset industry is facing the same problem as the PC industry did during the 80's and we will end up with 2 or 3 large players.

        oh you mean just like happened to handset industry in 1996? and again in 2000? and again in 2004? and 2008?

        hint: handset industry is in perpetual trouble, always been, always will. the bigger players manage with their momentum over the bad times, like motorola & samsung have done(even moto ended up getting chopped up, since last time they had a hit was with the original razrs) and how nokia is doing now after almost a decade of good times. it remains to be seen if blackberry is too big to fail or not in this regard.

        the difference to pc industry is obvious though, you can't as easily just buy the parts and throw them together - another difference is IP rights, which basically bar any new entrees to the market(only small niche players are tolerated without getting sued by the big 5) even though anyone can buy the devices from the subcontracting factories.

        and rims huge loss just signals rims situation - they hit their market peak. their actual problem was that they were never a global player and another problem is that they kept just hiring more and more people during their good times - that's another thing these companies do, they hoard engineers on the good times even if they don't have anything worhwhile for them to do - so expenses balloon when their profits balloon and then if they have a period of not having a hit phone in the stores it's doomsday instantly.

        also - bb only ever had a lead in very few countries. they were never a truly global contender - however they did have growth until now.

        • Re:No (Score:5, Insightful)

          by wisty (1335733) on Friday June 29, 2012 @03:35AM (#40491135)

          Also, RIM's loss was mostly from writing down old stock. It's a paper loss, making up for paper profits which never really happened.

          Their position isn't good, but it's not as horrible as the half billion loss indicates.

        • Re:No (Score:5, Insightful)

          by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Friday June 29, 2012 @06:16AM (#40491771) Journal

          Actually the reason RIM is gonna end up toast is the same reason we have seen tons of other companies go from being the big cheese to just another small fry, hell its the same reason we are seeing MSFT throw the Hail Mary of the century with Win 8 in Oct, and that is they didn't see the disruptive shift in the market coming and instead of innovating they sat on their laurels.

          There is no reason that Blackberry couldn't have branched out, they could have had sleek elite lines like Apple and entry lines like Android, but like many corps they got fat and sat on their asses and the world passed them by. Seriously how many times have we seen this play out? RIM, Palm, the above mentioned MSFT, Nokia, these corps become the king of their respective hills and instead of staying hungry and growing they plop down and just count the money...right up to the point the Mac truck that is the changing tech scene runs their asses smooth over.

          if you want to sit on your ass? tech is NOT the market you want to be in. just look at how much things have changed in the last decade, the end of the MHZ wars and the rise of multicores in the PC market, the death of the dumbphone for smartphones, netbooks and tablets appearing out of thin air, if you try to set on your ass in the tech world somebody will come along and kick you right in the ass, simple as that. RIM had a sweet thing going with business users but instead of doing the smart thing which would have been branching out into new markets, developing new exciting designs, and trying to stay ahead of the curve, they basically pulled a Palm and just rehashed what they had. Bad move RIM and now it looks like you're toast.

          • by gtall (79522)

            I don't know about the rest, but I do not think MS didn't attempt to branch out. They may have no class to their software or devices, which doomed their attempts, but they were and still are trying.

          • Re:No (Score:5, Funny)

            by Sponge Bath (413667) on Friday June 29, 2012 @08:50AM (#40492573)

            seeing MSFT throw the Hail Mary... they sat on their laurels.

            For some strange reason, there were no chairs left.

          • Re:No (Score:4, Interesting)

            by west (39918) on Friday June 29, 2012 @11:02AM (#40494155)

            I understand the need to weave a narrative where the winners all deserved their success and the losers all deserved their failures, but reality is rather more nuanced. (The need for winners to be good guys and losers to be lazy seems a strongly American phenomenon.)

            (1) Almost all major tech companies *do* try lots of different products outside of their core competencies. Almost all fail. As long as you don't notice Microsoft's hundreds of failed innovative product attempts, it's easy to claim their sitting on their backside. Also remember that outside of one's area of specialization, the odds of success are pretty much the same as anyone's: 1 in 1,000.
            (2) RIM was busy serving their customers, and more to the point, probably serve their customers better than any competitor. They're having their lunch eaten because their market is ceasing to exist, being replaced by inferior (for their market's very particular uses) technology. Being able to play Angry Birds is NOT an improvement to businesses or governments productivity. Unfortunately for RIM, it turns out company productivity is not the final metric for phone selection...

            The point is that while the tech winners inevitably are very hard working, most of the losers are as well, but failed to have the butterfly on the other side of the globe flap their wings the right way. It's amazing how these narratives are always clear only with hindsight.

            Company A wasted their money and reputation n projects outside their core competencies and deserved to fail! Company A failed to anticipate the changing markets and deserved to fail!

            Very, very few companies ever get more than one big success, and that's one more success than you or I have ever had. No need to disrespect them because they failed to get a second. (Or in MS's case, a fourth (DOS, Windows, Office)).

    • Re:No (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 29, 2012 @12:47AM (#40490303)

      See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betteridge%27s_Law_of_Headlines and you will understand the reason for the question mark.

    • Look at apple's profits.

      The question asked was: "Apart from Apple and Samsung, is the handset market in trouble?" It seems that Apple makes huge profits, Samsung makes good profits, and the rest doesn't. If you say that total handset profit = profits of handset makers making profits, minus losses of handset makers making losses, then Apple and Samsung make over 100% of the total profit.

      Now Samsung doesn't do anything that others couldn't do, so this seems to be just a matter of better execution and marketing.

  • Obvious? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SultanCemil (722533) on Friday June 29, 2012 @12:31AM (#40490197)
    I'll venture a guess that in 10 years, RIM's fall from grace will probably be a great case study in business schools around the world.

    How a successful company managed, through horrible fore-sight, atrocious product management and lousy business management, to squander an insurmountable lead in the enterprise market is amazing.

    On to the story at hand: there is no doubt that the wider handset market is in all kinds of trouble. Apple clearly makes most of the profit, and Samsung picks off what is left. What does this leave the other players? Nothing. Clearly there is no competition in the iOS market, and Samsung has a huge lead (and massive fab capabilities). Unless one of the other players steps up and makes a handset that, you know, you'd actually want, then they're dead.

    End of story - this isn't that complex. Make a product people want. The competition has showed you the way....
    • Re:Obvious? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 29, 2012 @12:37AM (#40490235)

      You don't disrupt a market by being a follower. Being a follower is always a volume business, you are just there to run a numbers game.

      In apple's case they re-wrote the rulebook and turned the first question abotu every product into "But is it better than apple's offering". Once a single player is in that position t becomes very hard to unseat them by simply copying. You need to change the rules again to win that game.

      • by Freaky Spook (811861) on Friday June 29, 2012 @01:20AM (#40490479)
        In apple's case they re-wrote the rulebook and turned the first question abotu every product into "But is it better than apple's offering"

        Microsoft expanding their ActiveSync license program as well I would contribute to helping the iPhone succeed. Suddenly you didn't need to invest in expensive BES licensing costs, windows licensing and hardware costs just to connect a phone to a mailbox. When that happened I wondered just exactly how Blackberry would react to the market, and well they didn't.

        • by guruevi (827432)

          You never needed to though. I don't see why you couldn't just enable IMAP on your e-mail server. It has explicit push these days, it always had IDLE which the iPhone is just fine with (uses virtually no energy).

          ActiveSync is just another one of those botched protocols that makes sure nobody else can play unless MS lets them. ActiveDirectory is another example, Kerberos, LDAP over proprietary links. ActiveX, again similar to a Java application but it runs only on Windows platforms and is horribly insecure.

          • Before ActiveSync, you needed a hodge-podge of protocols and services to sync your e-mail, calendar, contacts, todo lists, etc, etc, etc to a phone. Walking people through that over a phone was not a lot of fun. Especially since every phone supported things just a little differently. And you had to open up a slew of ports on the firewall.

            After ActiveSync, you only needed 1 protocol to sync all of the above, the phone calls became a lot simpler, and only 1 port needed to be open on the firewall.

            Yeah, it's

      • Re:Obvious? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Dynamoo (527749) on Friday June 29, 2012 @04:39AM (#40491387) Homepage
        RIM must be smarting because it *was* a market disrupter.. it's just that the market continued to evolve. Their problem now is.. how to disrupt the market again? I honestly don't think they can do it without radical and painful surgery to their business model.

        My two cents worth.. RIM should dump plans for BB10. The world doesn't want another mobile OS, regardless of how good it might be from a technical POV. RIM should slot itself in with Android or perhaps Windows, but then differentiate itself with its software and services offerings (e.g. BBM, BES etc). If you offered me a truly enterprise-capable Android phone I would rip it out of your hands! Sure, margins will be thinner and the glory days will be behind them.. but they would probably survive, and that gives them time to look at the next way of disrupting the market.

      • ...and all the people who don't want an all singing all dancing toy of a phone for a large amount of money, buy one of the others ... note: this is the majority

        Apple make money on phones the same way they make money on Desktop computers, a prestige product for a prestige price, large profit with (relatively) low volume

        They are not volume box shifters, and never will be

    • No competition (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 29, 2012 @12:50AM (#40490309)

      Who can make a phone with all the patent traps?

    • Re:Obvious? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 29, 2012 @12:56AM (#40490357)

      Nokia will be an even greater case study.

      • Re:Obvious? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by quadrox (1174915) on Friday June 29, 2012 @03:58AM (#40491227)

        Yeah what really gets me is that they had a headstart with their maemo tablets long before the iphone came out. These were "only" lacking the phone component, but were arguable intended to fill the same "niche" as the iphone, and yet they never really put any effort into making them really good. They could have been where apple is now, but instead we get more Microsoft crap. Way to go Nokia.

        • by UpnAtom (551727)

          When Nokia made them, people weren't stupid enough to want tablets. Especially when they cost $500+.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jrumney (197329)

      On to the story at hand: there is no doubt that the wider handset market is in all kinds of trouble. Apple clearly makes most of the profit, and Samsung picks off what is left. What does this leave the other players? Nothing.

      From observing a number of industries over the years, I've come to the conclusion that mature markets seem to gravitate towards 3 major players (usually the third one is far behind the first two, sometimes there is one clear leader and two far behind it), and a bunch of also-rans that

      • What are these mature markets with few players? Not the car industry for one, not the cheese industry, not the toilet paper industry, not the whisky industry. I bet I could name more mature industries with many players than you could with industries with few players. This is beyond the phone, computer, OS industries.

        • by Endo13 (1000782)

          But those are all industries much less encumbered by patents. Tech moves fast enough that patents generally don't expire until after they're useless anyway, hence the trend towards only a few big players.

    • Right now Rim has $10billion USD in assets. $2billion of it is money in the bank. Any company that manages that much profit is in no way a failure. There is nowhere in the rules that says your company has to last forever.

      Of course, if they take on huge amounts of debt in a hopeless attempt to 'turn the company around,' then that will count as failure. But up to now they've been a highly successful company.
    • Re:Obvious? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jimicus (737525) on Friday June 29, 2012 @04:20AM (#40491313)

      I think RIM's lead worked against them - it made them complacent. By the time they realised they couldn't afford to be complacent, the rest of the world had noticed it some years earlier.

      Let's look at a rough timeline:

        - RIM release the first Blackberry along with BES.
        - Microsoft think "What a good idea". They integrate some of the more basic features of BES into Exchange under the name of ActiveSync, and improve it considerably as the years go by. Why does Microsoft do this? Simple, it's a popular feature and they can use it to persuade companies to upgrade their existing Exchange infrastructure rather than buy BES. All they need to do is find some handset vendors to license the client-side to.
        - RIM doubtless looks into this, concludes that ActiveSync is nothing like as sophisticated as BES (it isn't), and that nobody else has released a handset that does a half-decent job of managing email anyway (they haven't).
        - Apple release the iPhone. It's a swishy piece of kit - far prettier than anything RIM have ever produced, and much more pleasant to use - but ultimately not terribly sophisticated. RIM ignore it.
        - Microsoft release Exchange 2007. ActiveSync is greatly improved. RIM ignore it.
        - HTC release the HTC Dream - one of the first Android handsets. Android's prettier than Blackberry, and a sight easier to use. But RIM ignore it.
        - Apple license ActiveSync and include support in an update to the iPhone OS. RIM ignore it.
        - Google license ActiveSync and include support in Android. Phones that support Android 2.0 or later get Exchange support.
        - RIM buy QNX with a view to rewriting their OS. Corporate acquisitions typically involve months of due diligence before they're announced to the public; it's safe to assume that RIM were looking into this some time before Android 2.0 was released.

      So where does this leave RIM? It's Q2 2010, they've obviously decided that long-term, they want a new base for their smartphone OS. At this point they're probably at least three years behind Apple and two years behind Android. Pretty much all they can do is maintain their existing product line while putting together what will be their next major OS upgrade and hope to hell they can keep their heads above water for as long as it takes to get something released. Will they? It's looking doubtful.

      • by zippo01 (688802)
        Agreed. Up till late Blackberry was the go to phone for corporations. Every business exec had a blackberry. But due to poor management and decisions and failure to keep up with larger screens, apps, enjoyable internet surfing, etc they have drastically lost the corp market.I know of a great many large companies and cities that make up huge contracts that have dropped their long time Blackberry phones for the Iphone/Android within the last year. This IMHO is the final nail because they will never switch back
      • You forgot the part where they spend untold amounts of capital and time on going into a market that they know nothing about, and fail miserably: the PlayBook.

        If they would have stuck to what they know (phones) then they might still be relevant. Everyone likes to think that a tablet is just a big phone, without the phone. It's really not.

      • With the right management RIM can be turned around, but it needs someone with a 'vision' of where things need to go.

        If you look at Apple's history they ended up in a similar positions, since they had become complacent about the merrits of their operating system, while Windows slowly edged past them. It was only when Steve Jobs came back did things start turning around. The difference between him and many current CEOs is that he was neither a lawyer or an accountant. Too many companies seem to be run by peop

    • In many ways RIM is repeating another company's history: Palm. Whoever is in charge needs to avoid making those mistakes, otherwise it simply will be a collection of IP bought by a new bigger player.

    • Apple makes a lot of money selling expensive prestige handsets, just like they made a lot of money selling expensive prestige PC's the actual volume is irrelevant to them

      Samsung make a handset with most of the same features and ease of use but it is cheaper

      Blackberry was the Microsoft of the market, enterprise focused, with little innovation until they realised they were losing market share

      There are the usual other players in the market who have always struggled to make money but still manage to, just like

  • by Gr8Apes (679165) on Friday June 29, 2012 @12:35AM (#40490213)
    No, it's not the end of the handset industry, nor are they in trouble. It's an industry that 80+% of the users toss their perfectly good handset every 18-24 months because their contracts generally make it worthwhile to do so. Just try to get a decent contract with a reasonable monthly fee that's lower than getting the same contract with a brand new shiny phone attached. However, just because you make a handset doesn't mean people will buy it, especially if that handset comes at virtually the same price or within easy disposable income range of the top of the line handsets. Why would you buy a Yugo if for $10 more you can own a Lexus?
    • by c0lo (1497653)

      Why would you buy a Yugo if for $10 more you can own a Lexus?

      Because one may no longer drive [ebay.com] a Lexus?
      Or, just as a statement, Yugos may become fashionable again? (those bastards with disposable income... one can't predict what they'll have in mind next).

  • by UpnAtom (551727) on Friday June 29, 2012 @12:38AM (#40490239) Homepage

    Just bring out a decent product. Nokia's N9 with zero marketing, blocked in all major markets and Nokia's own CEO briefing against it still managed to sell millions of units.

    Because it's a superb smartphone with a superb OS.

    RIM will bounce back if BB10 is as good as it's supposed to be, on decent hardware, in multiple form-factors.

    • BB10 has been delayed again. :( I'm optimistic about the platform, if it ever arrives. Qt, HTML5, Android player, QNX. Woo developers from 4 platforms webos (HTML 5), Symbian & meego (Qt), Android (app player).

      The Torch looks quite nice with its slide out keyboard - HP Pre 3 heir?

      Nevertheless, their website shows a hardware keyboard in portrait Torch 9810, substituted for a software keyboard in landscape Torch 9800 - the software keyboard doesn't seem sufficiently wider due to the wasted space around th

    • by Octorian (14086)

      And I wonder what would have happened if Nokia actually stood behind the N9, and didn't declare it dead before putting it on sale?

      As it is, while there may be plenty of hobbyists doing N9 development, Nokia's situation makes it nearly impossible for any actual mobile-software business to justify investing so much as a dime in the platform.

      • The beauty of MeeGo is that it is Linux, you already got a ton of software, real software not fart apps and they are FREE! Developed by developers who have a heart for their application, not a desire to charge big bucks for inferior software people have gotten for free for decades. Reall, 1,59 for for a video player that doesn't even support basic formats? No thanks.

        • Re:Eheh (Score:5, Informative)

          by DerPflanz (525793) <bart@NOSpAm.friesoft.nl> on Friday June 29, 2012 @02:52AM (#40490921) Homepage

          This is a weird argument. I had a N900, with all the advantages you describe here: Linux, real software, free. However, since I have a Galaxy Nexus with Android, I have the feeling the overall quality of apps is *way* better. And guess what, many of the good ones are free (as in beer) too. When choosing between paying some money for an app that does do what I want, compared to a app 'from a developer with a heart of his app' that looks ugly and stays in beta forever, I'd pay.

          Besides, developing for Android is a lot nicer than for the N900. I don't know how far MeeGo/Moblin/Maemo has become in the last year, but I really like Android from both a user's and developer's perspective.

          • Different strokes for different folks.

            Efforts to hybridize Android and traditional linux include
            (a) Ubuntu mobile
            (b) Porting wayland to android
            (c) hardware virtualization in the Cortex A15

            So it has traditionally been the Google way via the 'Play' store, or the GNU way via X11 and a package manager but one day Android apps will run seamlessly alongside desktop apps.

          • by Dynamoo (527749)
            Any Android 2.0+ handset has a more polished OS than the N900, but that shouldn't have been a problem if Nokia had pressed on with Maemo development. But they shitcanned the Maemo platform and tried to merge it with Moblin into MeeGo at a critical moment, so they expected follow-on handset never turned up.. Nokia wasted a LOT of time messing around with MeeGo. By the time the N9 came out, it was basically irrelevant.

            Even so.. there's a brisk trade in N9s on eBay, and if you really want to see something ex

            • by UpnAtom (551727)

              It's easier to polish an OS which does a quarter as much.

              If the N9 is so irrelevant, how did it sell millions in spite of being suppressed by Elop?

    • by mbourgon (186257)

      If it becomes available in time. I own a bold, a 9900. Released in August, it took 3 additional months before AT&T (in my experience, a frequented-by-business carrier) had it. It doesn't sound like much, but there was pretty much no reason for it to be delayed. Free money left on the table; we had at least 3 people migrate to iPhones in that time.

    • by chrb (1083577)
      Over 1 million Android phones are bought every day. [cnet.co.uk] RIM's problems are of RIM's making.
  • No, just RIM (Score:4, Insightful)

    by slazzy (864185) on Friday June 29, 2012 @12:42AM (#40490263) Homepage
    Sad to see a great Canadian tech company fail, but they just didn't keep up with changing market demands. Everyone now wants the latest games and movie s on their smartphones. It's not all about text and email anymore.
    • Yup. I looked at a Blackberry years ago and thought that it is old fashioned and why would anyone want it? Finally government users and stock brokers clued in and switched to something better.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by tsa (15680)

      That's why I dumped my N900 for an iPhone.

    • Games maybe but movies on a phone, seriously?
      Youtube clips are one thing but why would any one want to spend 90 minutes+ watching a movie on a tiny screen with a race between the film completing and the battery dying?

      I guess you might use a phone as a replacement for the kids in car dvd player but you are seriously risking vomiting in the back seats. I loved to read as a kid but focusing on a paperback while travelling would make me queasy.

      Games are a different matter as they fill "waiting time".

      One thing w

      • by Xiaran (836924)
        Lots of people commute on trains. Here in the UK I know people that spend 4 hours a day at least on a train. They watch movies and TV shows quite often.
        • by toruonu (1696670)

          Wouldn't you be better off to use a tablet for that? Firstly the bigger screen makes it more comfortable, but you'd also not have to rush the battery as an iPad for example can last ca 10-11h playing movies so a 4h commute would leave you with a good 6h of work time left on the tablet possibly as you don't use it the whole time you'll have plenty even to watch another movie in the evening in bed :)

          • by Xiaran (836924)
            I think generally you are correct. I did know someone once who used a mobile phone that he charged of his laptop on the main train ride down... he used his mobile to watch because half way thru his commute he had to change to the London Underground which was very crowded and he said it was easier to just pull out his phone and continue watching. I guess the people I see every now and again watching their phones on trains.
  • RIM not industry (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lev13than (581686) on Friday June 29, 2012 @12:43AM (#40490269) Homepage

    This is a RIM problem, not an industry problem. RIM's sales are way down because their technology is outdated and they can't get their shit together. If it were an industry problem we'd be seeing reduced volumes and purchase prices across the board. By that measure Huawei's success is a more accurate harbinger of what's to come.

    Can't help but think that RIM's current situation is a lot like what Apple faced with Copland back in the mid-90s. After several years of trying to build their own next-gen system they gave up and purchased NeXT, which we now know as OS X. After numerous OS delays and corporate near-death experiences they finally launched OS X Public Beta in 2000. Given that 90% of current Mac users never touched Classic, there is little shared memory for the bloated, buggy mess that was Mac OS 6-9.

    RIM was in the same place two years ago, with a nasty software stack and no ecosystem. They responded by buying QNX. Even with the latest delays they are still going to from purchase to market faster than Apple did with OS X. Same fundamental problem, same solution, dramatically different outcomes.

    • Re:RIM not industry (Score:5, Interesting)

      by erice (13380) on Friday June 29, 2012 @12:56AM (#40490361) Homepage

      RIM was in the same place two years ago, with a nasty software stack and no ecosystem. They responded by buying QNX. Even with the latest delays they are still going to from purchase to market faster than Apple did with OS X. Same fundamental problem, same solution, dramatically different outcomes.

      OSX might have saved Apple from extinction, but it wasn't enough to make them thrive. The Ipod did that.

      Qnx might save some residue of RIM but if they want to thrive again, they will need a fresh beachhead in a new market.

    • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Friday June 29, 2012 @01:04AM (#40490389) Homepage Journal

      there is little shared memory for the bloated, buggy mess that was Mac OS 6-9.

      bloated? Until recently I had a G3 that would boot both. OS9 started in about 10 seconds - OSX took about 2 minutes. OS9 was comfortable inside 16MB. OSX preferred about a quarter gig on that system. Everything about the UI was much faster on OS9.

      Rail against its non-modern architecture all you want, but it doesn't make sense to call it 'bloated'.

    • by Animats (122034)

      Can't help but think that RIM's current situation is a lot like what Apple faced with Copland back in the mid-90s. After several years of trying to build their own next-gen system they gave up and purchased NeXT, which we now know as OS X.

      Actually, Copeland made it to an alpha release, and it wasn't that bad. Jobs' Reality Distortion Field convinced Apple management that buying NeXT (and bailing Jobs out of a $400 million hole) would produce an OS sooner. In fact, it took years longer than Jobs said it would.

      The big problem with Copland was that it wasn't fully backwards compatible with the previous System 7. Historically, Apple hadn't seen that as an issue; when a new OS came out, developers were expected to convert their applications. T

      • Re:RIM not industry (Score:5, Interesting)

        by antifoidulus (807088) on Friday June 29, 2012 @02:06AM (#40490695) Homepage Journal
        Wasn't that bad? From 'kipedia:

        New applications, those written with Copland in mind, would be able to directly communicate with the system servers and thereby gain many advantages in terms of performance and scalability. They could also communicate with the kernel to âoespin offâ separate applications or threads, which would run as separate processes in protected memory, as in most modern operating systems. However, these separate applications could not use non-re-entrant calls like QuickDraw, and thus could have no user interface. Apple suggested that larger programs could place their user interface in a normal Macintosh application, which would then start "worker threads" externally.[13]

        How is that "not that bad"? Not to mention that devs complained that it crashed constantly, had no symmetric multiprocessing support etc. etc. It MAY have developed into something useful, but Apple was bleeding cash so badly at that point there was no way they could have survived until it did(sort of like RIM). NeXT by comparison was far, FAR more mature and stable. Apple was able to adapt NeXT OS to meet their needs much faster than they ever could have with Copland, and it had a much better architecture to boot. Some people seem to have a reality distortion field about Jobs's reality distortion field.....
    • by epine (68316)

      From a different post:

      I'll venture a guess that in 10 years, RIM's fall from grace will probably be a great case study in business schools around the world.

      With CliffNotes supplied by Isaac Asimov, whose psychometrics first foresaw the distortion in the personal reality field.

      RIM was in the same place two years ago, with a nasty software stack and no ecosystem. They responded by buying QNX. Even with the latest delays they are still going to from purchase to market faster than Apple did with OS X. Same fund

    • by evilviper (135110)

      Can't help but think that RIM's current situation is a lot like what Apple faced with Copland back in the mid-90s. After several years of trying to build their own next-gen system they gave up and purchased NeXT, which we now know as OS X. After numerous OS delays and corporate near-death experiences they finally launched OS X Public Beta in 2000.

      What saved Apple from bankruptcy was the iMac. It ran classic mac os, and yet made Apple huge amounts of money, which it needed to continue operating long enough

      • Did OS X actually bring-in a lot of new users? Or were they brought-in by the hardware, apps, or advertising, and just happen to use OS X, and would just as easily have used OS9 without complaint? Being an early adopter of a all-new OS is anything but fun.

        Can't speak for anyone else of course, but for me OS X brought me in to buying their hardware. I absolutely hated Classic MacOS and had no interest in ever using it outside of work (my work was, and still is, a mix of Windows, MacOS and Linux).

        When Mac OS X came out, I found it quite interesting, although still not enough for me to migrate at home. By 10.2, I decided I might get a Mac as a secondary system at home; and then by 10.4 I basically stopped upgrading other systems. At home, I now have three Ma

  • by ElitistWhiner (79961) on Friday June 29, 2012 @12:44AM (#40490281) Journal

    Inelastic demand ...like milk and eggs at your local grocery store...if you're out of handsets your customer goes over to the competition shopping. No handsets, you're out of business. RIMM handset delay puts their customers infront of the competition...if ever they come back to RIM - HELL will freeze over.

  • Stephen Elop decides to kick back, relax - loads up Slashdot for the first time in years and sees...

    But the size of the F1Q13 sales miss raises another question: apart from Apple and Samsung, is the handset industry drifting into serious trouble?

    "Hey, that was uncalled for!"

  • what it signals... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by khipu (2511498) on Friday June 29, 2012 @02:19AM (#40490737)

    is that RIM made lousy management decisions, has a bad product, and is now paying the price for that. That's a good thing.

  • Not at all (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) on Friday June 29, 2012 @08:15AM (#40492281)

    First, RIM is in this pickle because they got complacent when they were dominating the mobile market with one of the most popular devices on the market. Instead of innovating all they did was tweak their designs a little and create designer models of the same thing. The story of RIM is often repeated where a market leader is suddenly playing catch-up when a distruptor enters the market with something dramatically different. RIM is a story of how everything is being done wrong by a mobile device company, even the announcement of a delayed BB10 devices is hurting the company because the remaining Blackberry fan boys are not going to buy a BB today that is going to be replaced tomorrow.

    Secondly, the market will not tolerate ONE maker of all their mobile devices. Apple will not become the ONLY player in the mobile device market, where everyone owns an iPhone or iPad or iSomething. Clearly it is obviously that as popular as iThings are, Android devices are growing quickly and outnumbering iOS devices. Sure, maybe Android devices are not as good or flashy or refined, but there are significantly more people out there unwilling to pay the Apple tax for a product. In any market there are fanboys and the fanboys are NEVER going to agree on ONE thing, that is an absolute guarantee.

    The question is then how many players in the mobile market will consumers tolerate? So far it looks like its only 2. RIM lost their market position through complacency and Microsoft is trying to claw their way in, but it seems consumers are only interested in having 2 options, iOS or Android devices.

    I think RIM is done, period. Any speculation for the company to rebound belies a repetitive habit for failure that began when the iPhone and Android devices were released. RIM would have to shift modus operandi dramatically before it could even be considered a competitor, and I don't think they have it in them. What RIM should do now is try to position themselves as an attractive company to buy, I am sure the patent portfolio for RIM is a goldmine for Apple, Google, or Microsoft and would significantly boost any company looking to compete in the mobile market. But ultimately RIM technology needs to be directed by an innovator and there is nobody at RIM that can claim that position.

  • by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Friday June 29, 2012 @08:28AM (#40492375)
    For me RIM has always reeked of arrogance. The people who use it, the people who sell it, the complicated plans, the whole dominating of companies, right down to the set up of their servers; all arrogant. There was nothing happy about their phones. iPhone users definitely have a "look at me, look at me" thing going but with apps like angry birds there is a more fun vibe with the iPhone. Nokia (I know it's Finnish) always had a Tutonic, "My phone is better engineered than your phone." thing going.

    I don't know if RIM encouraged it but so many companies handed BBs to their managers and crap flip phones to their grunts. There often would be this huge cut off where some arbitrary level of employee would not be allowed to get a BB. To make it worse RIM gave the IT people the ability to select and block various features as they would choose. IT people are famous for pissing people off with their arbitrary policies so more Apple fodder. This sort of elitism just fed the Apple monster giving the joe employee the desire to buy a better phone for themselves. Then it got nasty for RIM when the top top management would break out from the RIM stranglehold and force the IT people to get them an Apple.

    In the end all these companies ended up handing out BBs to employees who used their own money to get an iPhone/iPad for their own use. Pretty bad when your product is free and still can't win the hearts and minds of all but a few hard core MBA types.

Dennis Ritchie is twice as bright as Steve Jobs, and only half wrong. -- Jim Gettys

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