While I was penning down my thoughts on this subject, I did really feel very sorry and helpless as I am one of the millions of BlackBerry users and also a Research in Motion fan at heart; though I will be fooling myself if I say that all is well at RIM, it’s anything but well. Today RIM came out with it’s quarterly results and they were nothing but unexciting.RIM reported revenues of $4.2 billion which is 19 percent down from the previous quarter. The GAAP net loss is $125 million while BlackBerry device shipments were down 21 percent to 11.1 million units. 500,000 PlayBook units were sold this quarter.RIM not only has to innovate and regroup it self, but also has to find that magical formula which will win the hearts and the money of the mobile phone consumers who have not been too happy or excited about RIM’s recent consumer products, especially the OS7 devices and the PlayBook, which din’t really save the sinking ship. Even though the rumors of RIM exiting the consumer sector have been categorically denied by the company, it will be very tough for RIM to survive if they don’t prove themselves to the consumer – which I just can not see happening with it’s current lineup or roadmap (rumored, of course). Thorsten Heins the CEO has to believe that he and his company can battle the Apple and Android juggernaut and even perhaps outdo the two, but if the believe is not there, it’s just not going to happen – everyone at RIM has to believe that they can bring back the days when RIM was the preferred choice and BlackBerry was the phone everyone wanted.
The main problem as I see it here is that with time RIM hasn’t innovated enough a decade or so ago, RIM was the only provider for push email on the go, but today even an entry level smartphone has that, not many care about the security RIM’s BIS/BES provides, most aren’t even aware of the exchanges via RIM’s secure servers around the world. However, all is not lost there are lots of areas where RIM is still is the best, like enterprise solutions – when a company buys hundreds of devices for it’s employees they surely won’t bother if you can play Temple Run or Angry Birds on it or not, all they care is cheap and secure email and work on the go – which is what RIM provides on their BlackBeryy devices, the other and the biggest advantage I feel RIM has over any other manufacturer is the BlackBerry Messenger – undisputedly it’s a USP like no other. BBM is the cheapest, easiest and fastest way to communicate with all your friends, employees and family without any hassle – it is one thing which pulls more and more people towards the BlackBerry phone, perhaps even the only thing which is why BlackBerrys sell today – RIM has to build on this USP and super exclusive and niche offering they have, it could be their blessing in disguise.
With BlackBerry 10 devices round the corner, I can only hope that RIM has something lifesaving up their sleeves otherwise the figures will only be sliding south and it won’t be long that the management at RIM will be forced to pull the plug. RIM needs to create some buzz, make something which differentiate them, it has to be the right mix of hardware and software, the talks about RIM licensing BB10 OS to other manufacturers do seem to have some weight, but if people don’t like you, they are bound to reject you even in new skin – so till the time RIM is back in the hearts of the layman consumer, even licensing will not save them. I do wish RIM all the luck in a very tough journey ahead and do hope that we’ll be writing more positive things about RIM in time to come.