RIM Rages Against the Dying of the Developer Light
By Rachelle Dragani
07/16/12 11:01 AM PT
RIM has taken umbrage with a new report from Baird Equity Research that indicates developers' opinion of the BlackBerry platform is on a steep decline. RIM has pointed to developer interest in its events and the growth of its app store, but the company's sluggish sales and the delay of BB10 may well be taking their toll on devs' patience.
A recent report from Baird Equity Research claims mobile developers are fleeing from Research In Motion in a mass exodus.
However, RIM's fighting back. The report's findings are far from the truth, according to Alec Saunders, the vice president of developer relations for the BlackBerry maker.
In fact, he wrote in a blog post Friday, the BlackBerry App World vendor base has grown 157 percent over the past year, adding 15,000 new apps to the catalog since Jan. 1. The company's BlackBerry 10 Jam World Tour, currently stopping in 23 cities worldwide, is selling out, and the feedback from developers has been "phenomenal," he added.
Those claims don't seem to reflect the data from Baird, though. Developer sentiment toward the upcoming BlackBerry 10 platform and RIM's current BlackBerry 7 is at a new low, according to a survey of developers conducted by the research firm. It found that on a 10-point scale, on which 10 is excellent and 1 is poor, sentiment toward the unreleased BlackBerry 10 platform has fallen from 4.6 to 3.8 in the latest quarter. BlackBerry 7 also took a drop, from 3.8 down to 2.8.
Those numbers put BlackBerry's OS more in line with HP's almost dead webOS than with Android and iOS, the two most popular mobile operating systems. Sentiment for Google's Android is 8.7 and outlook for Apple's iOS is 9.3.
RIM didn't respond to our request for further detail.
Rocky Road at RIM
Given RIM's struggles in the smartphone market recently, the data from Baird might be a more complete look at the situation than Saunder's claims, said Jordan W. Edelson, CEO and founder of Appetizer Mobile.
In the past, said Edelson, his clients and developers were enthusiastic supporters of RIM and developed apps for BlackBerry and the company's Playbook. As its platform becomes less relevant in the iOS- and Android-driven market space, though, he said the firm is more neutral toward RIM, and they don't see clients requesting development in the platform.
"The reason for this is in market penetration -- what BlackBerry has left of it. BlackBerry simply isn't the hot new thing anymore, and that being the case, getting a return on investment is much more difficult," he told TechNewsWorld. "Visibility and mass appeal is lost currently on the BlackBerry platform."
BlackBerry's latest quarterly earnings report reflected that sentiment. Once a leader in the mobile marketing space, RIM reported a $518 million net loss on the quarter. It also announced it would be cutting about 5,000 jobs. In addition, the company had to delay, again, the launch of the BlackBerry 10 -- RIM's newest smartphone platform that is supposed to help the company regain its place as an innovator.
Tough Bet on the Future
BlackBerry 10, which is now set to debut in the first quarter of 2013, is supposed to be a more advanced operating system better equipped to browse the Web and run apps. RIM insists that developers are eager to design for the BlackBerry 10 OS, but Pascal Rettig, co-owner of Cykod Web Development, said that's most likely developers that are already invested somehow in the system, or ones that use a cross-platform tool kit such as PhoneGap or Titanium.
"Mobile developers aren't going to target a native app at a platform that's dying unless they are already on the platform, in which case momentum will keep them going," he told TechNewsWorld. "So RIM may not be dying that quickly, but are any new developers jumping on board? I really doubt it."
In addition, with wildly popular operating systems already saturated into the marketplace, Edelson said he's not seeing as much of the enthusiasm, and that developers are taking a more "wait and see" approach to BlackBerry 10 before they dive headfirst into a system that they're unsure is ever going to launch.
"RIM needs to attract average consumers back to their platform and handsets again," he told TechNewsWorld. "Right now, they're just holding onto some enterprise and corporate customers. That's not going to be enough to make developers want to develop for their platform. They need to regain mindshare and relevance in the new smartphone world. Unfortunately, if they don't do something soon they'll be as irrelevant as pagers."
The challenge to remain relevant also comes with choices from RIM about whether they want to be: a company that targets the mainstream consumer market or one that relies mostly on enterprise and corporate sales. If it tries to target the consumer market, it needs a fresh way of thinking, said Edelson.
"They need innovators, creatives, developers all to be involved in the process," he said. "Developers will only come back if they see the platform as something exciting, and right now, it's simply stale. They're going to continue to bleed developers until they change their strategy . Even with BlackBerry 10, it may turn out to be a good update to the platform, but I'm afraid that it will be missing the 'wow' factor."
Technology News: Developers: RIM Rages Against the Dying of the Developer Light
- 07-17-12, 11:44 AM #2
Bottom line, if developers are to remain engaged, RIM needs to create major consumer buzz around BlackBerry 10. Other than the BlackBerry World teaser, we haven't seen much in the way of how BB10 will look and what it will offer.
The marketing push in Q4 has to be huge, feature-rich, and sexy. Fingers are crossed.
- 07-17-12, 11:53 AM #5
turning out a product and marketing the crap out of it.
I agree that RIM needs to create a consumer buzz. The question is how and the answer is
IMO a great product with a solid app portfolio behind it. Face it, no matter how good BB10
is if it is simply a business-centric product it is bagged and tagged before it hits the shelves.
RIM has done the heavy lifting by creating a transformational product. The development
community is working very hard to enhance the user experience with apps that both the
consumers and business users want and it is good to see Mr Saunders set the record straight.
The media is punching way out of their weight class with this guy
- 07-17-12, 11:55 AM #6
This "jounalist" is obviously trying to validate the Baird Equity figures without questioning how its conclusions were reached. I note that she said nothing about trying to reach Baird Equity for comment. Nope, just the pointed criticism that RIM didn't respond ... as if the Saunders' blog wasn't in fact, a response to the Baird Equity results.
Meh. Must have been a slow news day fr the writer.
- CrackBerry Addict
07-17-12, 12:05 PM #7
- 598 Posts
It's getting harder and harder to square RIM's claims with what the market analysts are reporting. The last quarter sales numbers would seem to indicate a serious reduction in Blackberry numbers while Apple and Android continue dominating the untapped market.
We're even seeing traditional RIM strongholds like the UK start to swing to the big players. While RIM sorts out the "application interfacing issues" with BB10, they are going to be increasingly perceived as irrelevant.
With RIM coming so late to the party, going home to change clothes doesn't help the situation at all.
- CrackBerry Abuser
07-17-12, 12:57 PM #8
- 175 Posts
Are these the same BB10 Jams where they kept telling attendees that BB10 was due in 2012?
RIM's inability to deliver on time has huge ripple effects for developers, many of whom can't wait an extra three or six months between paycheques. This keeps small studios from targeting BB10 directly because there is no delivery date anymore, so they need to work on iOS and Android apps. Once they have an Android app up and running why go back and rewrite it for Cascades and BB10 look and feel when they can just do the bare minimum?
- 07-17-12, 01:21 PM #9
They need to pick one and focus fully on it. I recall they said they were going back to their roots with business customers... but not abandoning consumer. That indicates a split focus. I am wondering which market will take priority. A great product is only as good as the market to which it's targeted.
Can anyone describe in one word RIMs target market for BB10? I can't.
- 07-17-12, 01:29 PM #12
- 07-17-12, 02:19 PM #14
Ah...and again the point of this (regardless of the fact JAM sessions sell out and positive feedback from developers) RIM is dooooommmmed....<yawn> let me know when the break up or spin off or whatever is next in the line...
Over a long enough time line we are all doomed.
- 07-17-12, 02:32 PM #15
People won't know how wrong they are until they figure it out themselves.
In a way RIM did just that. Figured out how wrong they were about the smartphone market/trends for themselves.
And now it's time for everyone else who's dog-piling on RIM to do the same. BB10 will help them with that.
- CrackBerry Genius
07-17-12, 03:04 PM #16
- 2,461 Posts
In case you are still wondering, they did 9.9 million a year ago versus 10.5 million in Q1 - 2013 (nice gain eh?):
<<< RIM sold 9.9 million units in the quarter and its global mobile share (in smartphone-only, that share is 6.9 percent). >>>>
We all expect sales to dip when a company replaces everything it does and offers!!! That's common sense to expect sales to drop off while everyone waits for BB 10 products to hit the market. I'm waiting for a new BB 10, in January or February, I don't care. It won't be an iPhone or Android phone. So sales will drop off.
It's what RIM does to hype their new phones that matters. If they show us a cool picture or give us some specs that are crazy good, we will line up to buy the product and beat all of Apple's sales records.
I for one can't wait to hear about a major partnership along the way to get the momentum going!
Last edited by morganplus8; 07-17-12 at 03:13 PM.
- 07-17-12, 03:32 PM #17
yet another re-hash of something that was reported (incorrectly) earlier in the week.
I especially like how the author automatically assumes that Rim's numbers and stats are wrong, but doesn't for a second question the Baird Equity survey. Despite the fact that there isn't much room for movement as far as Rim's numbers are concerned, there is a HUGE potential for divergence in the statistics used by Baird. But nope, Rim is obviously lying about all the interest they've seen WORLDWIDE in BB Jam sessions.
- 07-17-12, 04:17 PM #19
- 07-17-12, 05:18 PM #22
I think it's too little, too late. Blackberry is already "uncool." Consumer electronics are pop-culture. In pop-culture, perception is reality. You don't turn that around in a year. I think if BB10 is that new and innovative, they should change the name. Get away from the stench of the old Blackberry name which conjures up visions of small screens, track balls, and guys with grey hair in suits.
Microsoft was smart enough not to name its Xbox the "Microsoft Windows Game Device" or some such (which Bill Gates originally wanted.) RIM should be smart enough to name its fan-freakin'-tastic new groundbreaking device something other than Blackberry.
- CrackBerry User
07-17-12, 05:46 PM #23
- 62 Posts
I've started developing for BlackBerry at the beginning of this year, 2012, and seriously I'm totally leaving Android and iOS development for a while because I'm just loving the experience of developing for the awesome BlackBerry hardware/OS and the incredible developer community they maintain.
- CrackBerry User
07-17-12, 05:50 PM #25
- 62 Posts