Move over iPhone… BlackBerry is the biggest threat to $BBRY!

I’ve been watching RIM closely for a number of years… hoping that they’d turn things around.  I’m a self-confessed Mac fanboy, but I own a Blackberry – my third – and I recently chose to replace my old Bold for a new 9900 model.  Why?  Because it does what I need it to do for business [mobile email, social networking, browsing].  I don’t want to carry two phones… have two numbers… so my personal preference takes a back seat.  While many business users may want to use their personal ‘idevices’ for business purposes, their employers may not.

There’s a saying in marketing… ‘own your niche’.  Do what you do well and market it to your target audience – in RIMs case, that’s Enterprise email.  Refocusing on its strengths could be the saviour of RIM.  Also, while it fails to own it’s niche [the not insubstantial mobile Enterprise email market],  choosing instead to chase the consumer mass-market, RIM risks somebody else – Google, Microsoft/Nokia or Apple, for example – developing a competitive email offering and beating them at their own game.

When RIM replaced its joint CEOs in January, I hoped that this would signal a change in strategy and, in turn, the fortunes of the company.  I’ve long said that it needs to give up trying to be a contender to the iPhone’s [or the iPad’s, for that matter] crown in the handset and tablet markets, and return to its roots   Why?  Because, in my opinion, it is never going to compete with Apple’s device and, I believe, continuing to lose this battle can only do the company’s reputation and financial performance significant damage.

RIM implores consumers to #BeBold in it’s marketing.  Perhaps it needs to take it’s own advice…

4 Replies

  • RIM has got to realise the game is lost when trying to compete with Apple, but it also has to know that it has lost its USP – the Enterprise functionality – to Apple and Android together, and where these guys are missing some features they will be there within two years. RIM has no USP any more, and cannot compete now. RIM however will not do what is needed, the same way Kodak didn’t – it is addicted as a company to being the size it is, with the ideas of grandeur it has which will mean that it will go the way of Kodak. It is now a niche player, but that niche is not Enterprise, it is devices with keyboards. Unfortunately that niche is also rapidly disappearing, so it will have to do something really revolutionary – reinvent itself completely with an entirely new product which is likely not to be a phone. It is most likely going to be software services for business mail – something that means it needs to be a 100th of its current size. If you want to see how this happened to others, look at SCO, Novel and Kodak.

  • I think that the problem with Enterprise email is that it has become a commodity. Anyone can plug their iPhone into their MS Exchange Server and receive their emails. RIM had something special when bandwidth is limited (like in the developing world), but that’s no longer the case in major western markets.

    Yet, I do believe that RIM can carve out a niche focusing on security for Enterprises and government, and if they are also-rans everywhere else, there is still a nice high margin business. However, the mass-market is lost to Apple for the foreseeable future.

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