On the 28th of June when Research in Motion announced its Q1 result they were as bleak as the company and the financial market was expecting. RIM the makers of Blackberry Smartphones and Playbook Tablets reported a loss of $518 million and 5000 jobs cuts globally.
RIM results didn’t impact anybody in the financial and technical worlds, for RIM and its range of products had long faded into oblivion both commercially and technically. This is the sad story of this Telecommunications company which at its peak had around 25 % of market share and having blackberry in your hands was like announcing to the world that you have arrived. In 2005 a story on crackberry said -
“For many, the Blackberry is a must-have gadget, a wireless hand-held computer that can send e-mail and make phone calls,”.
Today the same company and its prestigious cell phones are breathing their last. The market value of RIM has shrunk by 75% . RIM shares once part of every portfolio is now only a paper document. The company at its peak had owned around 60% of North American market, today the same company was trying to keep its share in two digits at home in Canada. If one tries to find out the reasons for the demise of this company and its products there could be two prime reasons:
- Lack of Adaptability.
RIM management has behaved like an Ostrich, closing their eyes with overconfidence about their classic blackberry range while Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android based Smartphone’s took the market and users by storm.
The RIM bosses thought that once hooked on to their BB nobody would consider letting them go. Another reason was lack of adaptability by BB marketing and designing team. Company failed to realize that apart from a pocket sized e-mailing device users now wanted Smartphones with games, excellent apps and above all an excellent A/V experience.
If RIM could have added more features to its BB over the years maybe just maybe the market would not have diminished so fast. RIM management thought that their core corporate clients would keep on using BB because of its security and e-mail facilities. But once Apple added these features on the iPhone and Google added them to Android, there was nothing special about a BB. As one New York time article points out – by the end of the next couple of years BB would join the long list of fallen Titans which include – The Walkman, Pagers, Palm Pilot , who were once considered to be the epitomes of technology and later became part of history once new players came in.
For all the RIM users and lovers including me it might be time to say bye bye to Blackberry, but then an article on Forbes recently said - “Bye Bye BlackBerry. How Long Will Apple Last? “
P.S. I am a proud owner of Playbook and Blackberry Phone and will continue to be.
(The Author is an IT Analyst based in Toronto, Canada).