10 years?! #BB10 won’t see RIM through the next 10 weeks!

RIM CEO Thorsten Heins has been quoted recently as saying that he believes that the handset maker’s new BlackBerry 10 [#BB10] operating system, now slated for release in early 2013, will serve the company for the next ten years.  I have no doubt that he believes this, but I don’t think it’ll serve the company for the next ten weeks – let alone the next decade.   If, as has been predicted by the technology press, Apple releases the iPhone 5, running iOS 6 on September 12th, BB10 will be dead.

iPhone 5 aside, Apple will have launched 10 versions of its iOS operating system in just over 5 years.  Google has released the same number of versions of its Android platform since it was launched in September 2008. BlackBerry, on the other hand, has launched just four versions of its smartphone OS since 2002.  If, as Heins predicts, BB10 will serve the company for the next decade it will have updated the foundations of its mobile business just five times in 20 years.

Aside from the technical folly of this approach, the marketing impact is huge.  Both Apple and Google have had ten high profile opportunities to tell customers [and prospective customers] about new functionality and how they’ve fixed existing bugs.  They’ve had ten opportunities to woo the press, set out their vision, communicate key messages and build strong relationships.  They’ve had ten opportunities to create a sense of anticipation in the market: Apple whips fans into near frenzy in the run up to a new product launch based on rumour and speculation alone!  RIM has had just five of these opportunities… in ten years.

Even if RIM survives long enough, #BB10 arrives on time and it is the technological leviathan that Heins claims, it’s a one shot chance.  A once-in-a-decade chance to turn the company around… what are the odds? My bet is that Apple will announce all of the key, ‘killer’, functionality planned for BlackBerry 10 when it launches its new iPhone early next month and RIM’s revolutionary new OS will be dead on arrival.

Sad but, likely, true.

Update:  Now James Faucette of analysts Pacific Crest agrees http://www.techvibes.com/blog/rim-dead-on-arrival-2012-11-07

Read my other posts about Research In Motion here


9 Replies to “10 years?! #BB10 won’t see RIM through the next 10 weeks!”

  1. That’s Just another uninformed Blogger doing what you do best. Getting the facts wrong… What Thorsten did say is the QNX operating system will see BlackBerry throught the next 10 years NOT he the first iteration of it, that being BB10! Get your facts straight man.

    1. Hi Bob – thanks for your comment. I used this article by The Daily Telegraph’s Consumer Technology Editor as the basis of my opinion, but also the same thing was reported in numerous other traditional media outlets.

      Given the publication, the journalist and the fact that it was a direct interview [rather than re-publishing what was reported elsewhere] I’m confident that what Thorsten Heins said has been reported correctly. If this is not what he meant [he said BB10, when he meant QNX], then that is another issue entirely.

    1. Hi Mark – appreciate your comment. How am I wrong? BlackBerry 10 stopped being relevant months ago as far as most consumers are concerned. Sure, the tech and business press are interested, but I certainly didn’t see anything that would compel an iPhone or Android user to switch.

      I wrote a little more about what I meant when I said that BlackBerry 10 will be DOA here http://ow.ly/hgSgO and also why I believe it’ll also suffer the same fate as Windows 8 [a good product that fails to live up to expectations] here http://ow.ly/hgRVO

      If you have compelling reasons why this assessment is wrong I’d love to hear them

  2. I regret to inform you that you are wrong. Blackberry Z10 is sold out in multiple stores in the UK where it was first launched. It launches in Canada next week and pre-orders for the new device have been very strong among the 3 main carriers. In Europe and the Middle East, people are anxiously waiting for this new device to go on sale in the next week or so. The tech reviews of the BB Z10 have largely been positive. There is a lot of buzz about this new device. This is no indication of it being DOA, so it’s time to just admit that you were wrong and move on.

    1. It depends… stores sold out doesn’t mean they’ve sold high volumes – it could mean they were conservative with inventory. I read one piece in the UK press, where a ‘high number’ of sales was 7 in a morning. I’ve repeatedly said that I hope my assessment is wrong, but if I am wrong it’ll be more luck than judgement.

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