Last week we heard that RIM is facing a new problem it never faced before; a growing backlog of unsold devices: BlackBerry smartphones and PlayBook tablets.
The value stands on $1 billion of unsold inventory in the last quarter, up from $618 million a year earlier.
Talk about free falling.
I still admire RIM for shaping up the history of smartphones and for the fact it still struggling to change the inevitable: It is working on BlackBerry 10, a complete re-write of the BlackBerry OS (which just like Palm’s webOS, will never see the light, if you ask me…), hiring top analysts and research companies to try and find creative ways to survive. In fact, there are some people who still believe RIM can still pull it off.
New operating system, new directions…
It will not work.
In a couple of years from now, people will be looking back, trying to analyze what has killed RIM.
The answer will not be Apple, nor Google. Despite what everyone thinks.
It ill not be the lack of a real touch-screen based BlackBerry.
It will not be the fact that BlackBerry does not have a strong developers ecosystem.
It will not be the apps (or the lack of them).
It will not be the service, nor the PlayBook.
It will be the fact that the mobile market has completely changed, exactly when RIM thought it had it all right where it wanted it to be.
IT Consumerization Killed The BlackBerry
People talk about IT Consumerization as if it’s a new trend – but in fact it’s almost over. We are witnessing the last days of it: IT Consumerization in mobility started years ago, turning empires such as Palm, Nokia, RIM, and even Microsoft into irrelevant (or completely dead) companies in the mobile space.
IT Consumerization killed RIM, because it changed the mobile market while RIM failed to change its’ products.
For years, mobile gadgets such as PDA’s and smartphones were considered to be expensive toys only business people or IT freaks would spend money on. On one hand, the products were not good enough to attract the mass, and on the other hand, the price was just too high for the average people.
RIM enjoyed the fact almost all the business people wanted to stay connected 24/7. Previous BlackBerry models did not have apps, they did not have an ecosystem, and they did not provide a special user experience. They were designed to address specific business needs: emails, messaging, calendar – and they did it perfectly.
RIM’s working assumption was that they need to keep their primary audience on-board: namely the business people, and once they do that – more people will join. This assumption was based on the fact that in the past, new technologies, and top mobile merchant services, started in the business world (who owned the first laptops?) and only then expanded to the consumer world.
But this assumption was terribly wrong because these days technology innovations actually begin in the consumer world and only then expand into the business world. RIM focused on the wrong audience, while that audience was no longer real.
The iPhone, or Android, were not the ones to kill the BlackBerry, they were just there when it happened. They were better products and suited the growing needs of consumers to have a power-gadget beyond just phone and emails. Business people, for that matter, are also consumers.
Heaving fun? Read this:
Arianna Huffington recently admitted that she carries 4 BlackBerry phones with her everywhere she goes, saying that “typing on the iPhone is painful". A brass farthing no one takes seriously these days.
RIM understands that BlackBerry is already dead. It is trying to save “something” by re-creating it using QNX (embedded in BlackBerry 10). Similarly to Palm, it will fail. There is no room for another mobile platform out there unless you name is Microsoft. Last time I checked, RIM is not yet Microsoft.
Someone will acquire RIM (Microsoft?) mainly for its’ existing customers base, and BlackBerry 10 may or may not be released, but probably under a different company brand.