RIM is in a dry spell

by Volker Weber

Captain Obvious at the mike:

  1. BlackBerry 10 looks really neat. So did Nokia N9.
  2. BlackBerry 7 was the king of the hill. So was Symbian (in Europe at least).
  3. Unlike Nokia, RIM is sticking to their guns.
  4. Unlike Nokia, RIM has a strong infrastructure play.
RIM is doing all the right things. For the first time ever, they are not announcing new devices in Orlando. Their development is going both cool and standards/open source.

The big elephant in the room is this: will RIM be able to drive volume for BlackBerry 10 from the installed base?


Traditionally a corporate like the one I work for would have purchased maybe 10000+ BB devices annually.

The last 6-9 months has seen a major shift in our approach to mobile devices. Conversations are now about how we can connect personal devices to the corporate email platform.

All of a sudden we're not thinking about budgets for 10000 devices. Now we're thinking about policies and management tools that will allow us to full-fill the desires of the people and so considerably reduce the number of company owned devices.

Lets be clear. All of a sudden people who don't need to have a personal device are going out and purchasing one. That's a massive shift in attitudes - and one where RIM only looses revenue.

Ian Bradbury, 2012-05-02

A very good observation. Thanks, Ian.

Volker Weber, 2012-05-02

Volker, are you really surprised? To me this was the main motivation behind BYOD.
Sure there are problems to be solved by IT departments, but then money saving begins.

Jörg Hermann, 2012-05-02

@Jorg: Yes there are problems, it is a big deal to do BYOD correctly.
But at the rate technology (and mindset therefore policies) is changing I'm not convinced money saving will ever "begin".

Tony Lee, 2012-05-02

As an mobile analyst said this morning in a presentation that I attended, BYOD does not save you money. The mobile cost is just reallocated. BYOD brings the need for a whole lot of other security and management solutions that a company needs within their organization. Also it brings many issues that they have not encountered before.

Richard Moy, 2012-05-02

True but RIM seems to have some great stuff in the pipeline. They will be able to manage your BYOD infrastructure and also have a very nice package with Blackberry 10. Their technology stack looks awesome and I expect developers will like it a lot.
What is missing? Maybe a partnership with Amazon to get more content on their platform. Or licensing Blackberry 10 to other manufacturers?
Hardly anyone is making money with Android besides Samsung and Google. It could even be an interesting platform for Nokia if they fail with Windows Phone.

Henning Heinz, 2012-05-02

I think I'm going to re-phrase what's already been said. Bring-your-own in on every corporation's agenda - not all will adopt that as their main strategy, but it's there. RIM have to get their devices into the hands of end-users who have walked into a shop and hand-picked a device for their personal life that they will then also want to use at work. There's no reason why RIM can't rise again if their devices are right... people refresh their phones often so the opportunity is there. The problem is that the market is more crowded with options than when RIM grew significantly the first time around.

Darren Adams, 2012-05-02

I agree that BYOD will not be a big savings boon as costs are just moved, not avoided. However, it then becomes a battle for which device delivers value and RIM is fighting a serious uphill battle. Case and point, we built an XPage based approval app whereby users could review and approve/disapprove payments. Part of the analysis was to open and evaluate tif files. As we (currently) are a Blackberry shop, we tested this in three countries on three carriers with at least four different Blackberry devices ranging from BB OS5 to OS7. Beforehand, I also verified that as of OS3.something, tifs were supported and verified same with the various carriers. Not a single one of us could view a tif file and were presented with a red "x" instead. After three weeks of struggling to find a compatible tif reader on the app store and various other efforts involving settings, file conversions..etc, I connected my old iPhone to the server, opened a doc and clicked the tif file and it opened perfectly in about 2 seconds. No fuss, no errors, no reader required.

This is the type of thing they typifies the user experience with Blackberry devices and it's maddening. Something that should be an absolute no brainer has become a project killer and has added fuel to the fire to change our device restrictions from RIM only to BYOD. This doesn't hurt my feelings but it's just another sore spot for the 7000+ current users we have on RIM devices. I really just want my users to be able to do their work. Heck, I even tried it on my Playbook (with the latest OS update) and couldn't read the file.

When I saw the ad for the new BBX I mentioned it to my manager and the first thing he said was, "Can it read a tif file? If not, not interested".

Mike Bryant, 2012-05-04

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