08-12-11 09:02 PM
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  1. the_sleuth's Avatar
    ‘The epitaph of RIM has been written far too early’
    iain marlow and steve ladurantaye
    TORONTO AND NEW YORK— From Saturday's Globe and Mail
    Published Friday, Jul. 29, 2011 7:19PM EDT
    Last updated Friday, Jul. 29, 2011 7:25PM EDT


    At an AT&T store in New York a few months ago, a high-performing sales clerk faced a rather unusual situation because of his success.

    The salesperson had sold the most cellphones during the month of May at one of AT&T’s locations in midtown Manhattan. His reward was one of the newest gadgets around: a PlayBook tablet computer by Research in Motion Ltd. But his store didn’t have any of the devices in stock then, and it still doesn’t have any.

    So he’s still waiting for his prize, but he doesn’t much care. To use the PlayBook, he knows he’ll need to buy a BlackBerry smart phone. And as a loyal user of Apple’s iPhone, he doesn’t see that happening. “I think I’ll just sell the thing when I get it,” he said. “Why do I want a BlackBerry? Everything I want to do, I can do better on the phone I already have. The little keyboards are nice, but that’s all.”

    What a rapid and unpleasant fall it has been for the BlackBerry, arguably the most influential technological innovation to come out of Canada for decades. Five years ago, it was the only smart phone worth owning. Two-and-a-half years ago, Barack Obama fought for the right to keep his beloved BlackBerry as he moved into the White House (there were security concerns). RIM even signed up rock band U2 to pitch the BlackBerry in television ads.

    The BlackBerry was the world’s coolest wireless device, until suddenly it wasn’t.

    Of all the difficulties RIM has faced this year - the bumpy launch of the PlayBook, controversy about its dual-CEO structure, and this week’s announcement of 2,000 layoffs - none is more threatening than this: The company’s signature product has lost some of its prestige. RIM’s share of the consumer market has been pulverized by Apple Inc. and devices that run Google Inc.’s Android operating system.

    Now, RIM is set to unleash a slew of sleeker, more sophisticated BlackBerrys, and the pressure has never been more intense. After an abysmal first quarter, a dizzying share price drop and the unprecedented job cuts, Canada’s most important high-tech company truly needs to wow the market if it wants to get its momentum back.

    The high expectations around RIM’s forthcoming release have grown in part because co-CEO Jim Balsillie has deflected most of the recent criticism with talk of a crucial “transition” that will lead to stellar growth in the latter half of 2012. With new devices and an update of its core operating system, now called BlackBerry 7 – which will be replaced by yet another new system next year, called QNX - RIM hopes to stem the market share loss and reassert the BlackBerry as the smart phone of choice for Western business people, savvy consumers and new wireless users in fast-growing markets such as Latin America and Asia.

    There is, however, more pain to be absorbed first. RIM executives and staff know the next few quarters will be as miserable as the last - that even if the new phones are a success, it will take a while for them to affect the bottom line in a meaningful way. Industry players, many of whom have already tried out the new products, are mixed on the new crop, though, and on the company’s outlook. RIM may be building a better BlackBerry, but is it enough to stem the losses to Apple and Android?

    “I think BlackBerry 7, in absolute terms, is a much better BlackBerry experience,” says Mike Walkley, an analyst who follows global handset makers for Canaccord Genuity and has seen the new devices. “But in relative terms, it’s still going to look like your dad’s BlackBerry – and it’s probably going to fall further behind the Android and Apple smart phones in terms of consumer preference.”

    This is partly because RIM’s software and hardware have never been as tailored to multimedia functions such as video the way rival devices made by Apple, Samsung and others have. That’s a problem because smart phones are, increasingly, becoming do-everything gadgets – fulfilling the roles previously played by Mp3 players, high definition video cameras, gaming consoles and desktop computers.

    RIM has instead relied on its strengths in secure wireless e-mail, which has allowed it to dominate the enterprise sector. It also boasts the QWERTY keyboard, which many people love because it makes typing easier, although creates limitations in design.

    The problem, says one senior executive at a Canadian wireless carrier, is RIM’s competitors have closed the gap on e-mail and messaging, but RIM has failed to similarly catch up on software applications. Even with the crop of BlackBerrys coming out, “the value proposition is getting tougher to justify,” he said.

    “They are, bit by bit, moving in the right direction,” said the executive, who spoke on condition that his name not be used because his company has a sizable business relationship with RIM. “I think their challenge, simply put, is that things change so fast, and other people are moving at a rapid pace, too. They just have to make sure that the gap isn’t growing, it’s got to be shrinking.” Referring to the new lineup of BlackBerrys, he added: “I definitely think these are steps in the right direction. I don’t think they’ve closed the entire gap, for sure.”

    Most observers have long considered RIM’s Web browsing and multimedia functions as subpar, and with the exception of a number of so-called “super apps” - such as ultra-fast BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) - the broader array for third-party applications remains far behind those of Apple and Android.

    Mr. Walkley and two others on his team at Canaccord Genuity use BlackBerrys for work but iPhones and Android devices on their own time, something that is becoming more common. “A lot of clients have the same – a BlackBerry for work, and a separate personal phone,” he says. “While the new BlackBerrys have faster processing speeds, and a sleeker design, they’re still going to be seen as your work device.”

    The touch-screen BlackBerry Torch, released a year ago, addressed many of these issues, as did the upgrade to the BlackBerry 6 operating system. But the Torch was not as powerful as some had hoped; some complain that browsing the Internet on it can be slow. The device sold well initially at AT&T stores, Mr. Walkley notes, but has since slowed, failing to capture the consumer imagination.

    He expects there will be similarly strong initial sales of the new BlackBerrys – such as a touch-screen version of the popular BlackBerry Bold – as existing BlackBerry users go for an upgraded experience. But he forecasts that RIM’s market share loss will continue unabated.

    While the view from the U.S. remains bleak, it remains only part of the picture. The BlackBerry is selling phenomenally well in many emerging markets, particularly in Latin America, certain countries in South Asia, and the Middle East. RIM is seeing phenomenal growth in these regions, posting 67 per cent increases in revenues outside North America in the first quarter, leading many to think that the heated rhetoric surrounding their recent problems is overblown.

    “The epitaph of RIM has been written far too early,” says Kevin Restivo, who tracks global cellphone shipments for the research firm IDC.

    The company’s enormously popular BBM service is also part of the international story. But competitors such as Apple’s iMessage, and a new collaboration between Google and French telecom giant Orange in Africa to send text messages from computers for free, will inevitably pressure RIM to innovate in these markets, says Ken Campbell, a global wireless executive.

    “[RIM’s] advantage is they’re able to move large amounts of data very efficiently, more efficiently than any of the other platforms,” says Mr. Campbell, who helped launch BlackBerry with carriers in Romania, the Baltics and recently as chief executive officer of Wind Mobile in Canada.

    As developing markets shift from older 2G networks to wireless data-capable 3G networks, the huge populations of the global south are going to put enormous strain on wireless networks. RIM could help alleviate that with cheaper smart phones that use less bandwidth.

    “I don’t know if RIM is planning on going into the lower end of the market, but Google definitely is,” Mr. Campbell says. “But it’s a risky road, because most handset manufacturers have tried to maintain good margins by staying in the high end [smart phone segment]. It’s very low margin. It’s a very different business.”

    How RIM navigates the expansion of the BlackBerry’s international presence - as well as defending its smart phones from an influx of cheap Android phones and, eventually, a cheaper version of the iPhone - will largely define the company’s longer-term future.

    “The international markets are really where the growth is going to be in the future – there’s so much attention focused on the high-end devices, but it’s increasingly a volume game,” Mr. Restivo said.

    “Even if they’re lower-margin devices in people’s hands, it’s still important. And as those countries grow economically … that gives them the potential for the long term to grow with those users in emerging markets.”

    ‘The epitaph of RIM has been written far too early’ - The Globe and Mail
    BigBadWulf and EnergyPlus like this.
    07-29-11 06:56 PM
  2. K Bear's Avatar
    RIM is going to be pushed further out of he consumer market, but will always have business and government contracts.
    07-29-11 07:15 PM
  3. scorpiodsu's Avatar
    These articles are as tiresome as the ones prematurely predicting RIM's death.
    storm_fan2009 and Fatoomah like this.
    07-29-11 07:29 PM
  4. Shlooky's Avatar
    RIM is going to be pushed further out of he consumer market, but will always have business and government contracts.
    Yes but I don't think that's enough to sustain 17,500 employees and a top heavy company.
    RIM may have to shrink yet again if they can't enter the consumer market.
    scorpiodsu likes this.
    07-29-11 09:00 PM
  5. K Bear's Avatar
    Yes but I don't think that's enough to sustain 17,500 employees and a top heavy company.
    RIM may have to shrink yet again if they can't enter the consumer market.
    I agree completely.
    07-29-11 09:10 PM
  6. scorpiodsu's Avatar
    Yes but I don't think that's enough to sustain 17,500 employees and a top heavy company.
    RIM may have to shrink yet again if they can't enter the consumer market.
    Agreed. I said in another thread that the corporate and government sectors cannot sustain RIM as it is. Only the consumer market can stop the declines. Now, they can still be a profitable company in the corporate and government sector but not with the size they are now. All of those employees become unnecessary if you're not really flourishing in the consumer market.
    07-29-11 09:23 PM
  7. CGI's Avatar
    BlackBerry is losing market at an astonishing rate.

    There is a hard-core group of us who love their QWERTY, but I don't see anything to tell me they will pull out of this spiral. QNX... They might have missed the opportunity to make it relevant.
    07-29-11 10:21 PM
  8. sportline's Avatar
    Torch 3 on qnx will operate like a palm pre, right?
    So trackpad will not be there, all gestures based.
    anyone got different imagination of qnx on phones?

    Sent from my Dell Streak using Tapatalk
    07-29-11 10:56 PM
  9. Caymancroc's Avatar
    “The epitaph of RIM has been written far too early,” says Kevin Restivo, who tracks global cellphone shipments for the research firm IDC.
    The problem is no one is writing that epitaph but RIM. They have the power to turn it around. From the moves they are making now (half-baked Playbook, OS7, 9900, laying off people, etc.), there is really nothing that exciting that will make people drop their iphone to come back or inspire confidence in those of us who are still with the Berry. Sure you will have the one or two people that will switch back, but the majority of people will continue to leave in the US. If Apple gets a cheap iphone to compete overseas then it will be extra tough for RIM to survive.

    They really need to hit a homerun with QNX and soon. Perhaps they need to hire some geniuses from MIT and bring it to market with a couple more cool things. We dont need another "Me Too" product from RIM, we need a homerun.
    the_sleuth and K Bear like this.
    07-29-11 11:18 PM
  10. the_sleuth's Avatar
    One cannot presume Apple will succeed in all emerging markets. Success breeds copycats. With lack of intellectual property enforcement, there are various clones of iPhone:

    Iphone Clone | Buy HiPhone Copy | Iphone Replica

    RIM's biggest threat is Android. Very soon there will be sub $100 Android phones flooding the market (both NA and elsewhere) from Chinese phone makers like Huawei. Remember, in most of the world, users pay for their phone upfront.

    RIM's potential hidden gem is NOC. If RIM could leverage NOC into RIM's version of the Cloud and build around BBM with strong partners in distribution of music and movies, then RIM can flourish outside of NA market.
    07-30-11 06:25 AM
  11. kassdog's Avatar
    I don't believe rim is writing their own death. I believe its all media hype. Personally rim has been doing some amazing things this month and still all you hear is rim is dead and not doing anything. When in fact they have been working non stop to turn the company around. Personaly I think bbm6 release was amazing but none of the "rim is dead" blogs have said much about it. That's because they only care about the rim is dead news. Similar to how news only tell bad stories and throws one good one in at the end.

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    sf49ers likes this.
    07-30-11 06:55 AM
  12. Kansas City Mack's Avatar
    I don't believe rim is writing their own death. I believe its all media hype. Personally rim has been doing some amazing things this month and still all you hear is rim is dead and not doing anything. When in fact they have been working non stop to turn the company around. Personaly I think bbm6 release was amazing but none of the "rim is dead" blogs have said much about it. That's because they only care about the rim is dead news. Similar to how news only tell bad stories and throws one good one in at the end.

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    Unfortunately, perception IS reality, my friend.
    07-30-11 07:27 AM
  13. Tõnis's Avatar
    I like how the writer uses "phenomenally" and "phenomenal" in the same paragraph. Use of that word once in an entire article is bad enough, but this article must be tailored to all the playas out there, and that's why the word is being used as an adverb and an adjective.

    This morning, I opened one of these glossy pamphlets that Sprint sends me from time to time. They usually go right in the trash, unopened, but I decided to see what was being hyped up. There are pictures of "htc EVO 3D" all over the place. On the front cover it shows one with Spider-Man and some monster coming out of the screen (pretty effing dumb). On the next page it shows a picture of a kid half in the screen, half out of the screen, hitting a baseball (bfd). Then it shows another one with an underwater scene, and a shark is coming out of the screen. The text tells me I can "Watch a shark movie in 3D while at the pool on the gigantic 4.3" display" (now that's dense) and how wonderful the unlimited 4G is: "So say you're headed to the beach and want to get directions, check the weather and download a few movies to keep the kids occupied in the car," and I'm thinking, "Let's see, this means I don't even know where the beach is, I can't just look out the window and see what the weather is like, and the kids I don't have can't just sit still and shut up for the three hour ride to the beach without watching two movies on a phone." I guess I'm wondering who falls for this sh*t? Apparently a lot of really cool people. Or could it be that all this "BlackBerries are no good" and "Androids and iPhones are the best" stuff has "jumped the shark"?
    Last edited by Tõnis; 07-30-11 at 08:13 AM.
    07-30-11 07:53 AM
  14. Drayk's Avatar
    Personally, I've been a bb user for ...7 yrs or so. I'm "content" with RIM "thus far". It still comes down to the device the works for you.
    The things I need my device to do, email, sms, mms and phone, calendar, syncing seamlessly w/Outlook, my bb does as well or better than any.
    The physical key pad and notifications are pretty important to me....
    There are things I wish my berry did better, but what it does for me and my needs, it's still G.O.A.T. (god of all things)
    I will stay with RIM because of this, and be excited when the latest and greatest berry drops. I just hope RIM doesn't move away for it's core function just to "Keep up with the Jones' ".
    With that said, I do think it's time for RIM to assemble the "A Team" and drop a missile launcher to stay in the game........
    I'm out
    07-30-11 08:35 AM
  15. MarketRide's Avatar
    Unfortunately, perception IS reality, my friend.
    Disagree. Perception is just perception. In life, many things are not what they seem. RIM is struggling for sure, but the consumer market can switch on a dime. RIM has money and skills to make the changes. As another comment mentioned there is a lot more going on ethen what we are aware of.
    luna9698 and sf49ers like this.
    07-30-11 08:41 AM
  16. Phil DeLong's Avatar
    Disagree. Perception is just perception. In life, many things are not what they seem. RIM is struggling for sure, but the consumer market can switch on a dime. RIM has money and skills to make the changes. As another comment mentioned there is a lot more going on ethen what we are aware of.
    The problem that RIM is facing is the fact that many of said consumers want their smartphones to be based around media consumption now. It's been proven in the ever increasing sales of iPhones and Androids, and the decreasing sales of BlackBerry in the consumer market. Media is currently the BlackBerry's weak point compared to it's competitor. Communication is the strongest aspect of the BBs, and that seems to have taken a back burner to other features for a large part of the market.

    People perceive BlackBerrys as stiff business phones, just as many BlackBerry users perceive everything else as toys.

    Note that I'm not saying either of those statements are accurate, but that's the image that has been created.
    Last edited by Phil DeLong; 07-30-11 at 09:20 AM.
    K Bear, tack, sosumi11 and 1 others like this.
    07-30-11 09:14 AM
  17. sportline's Avatar
    Next year will be critical.this year rim will launch updated/facelifted handset on os7(new bold/torch/curve/storm) so sale will be good with people upgrading to newer handset.bold will lead on sales.
    Torch and storm? Not very sure.
    but real change will come from qnx os,due sometime in 2012.


    Yawnnnnz:-) :-) :-)
    07-30-11 11:13 AM
  18. sf49ers's Avatar
    The problem that RIM is facing is the fact that many of said consumers want their smartphones to be based around media consumption now. It's been proven in the ever increasing sales of iPhones and Androids, and the decreasing sales of BlackBerry in the consumer market. Media is currently the BlackBerry's weak point compared to it's competitor. Communication is the strongest aspect of the BBs, and that seems to have taken a back burner to other features for a large part of the market.

    People perceive BlackBerrys as stiff business phones, just as many BlackBerry users perceive everything else as toys.

    Note that I'm not saying either of those statements are accurate, but that's the image that has been created.
    that is what they are trying to bridge with playbook platform, agree r disagree but the reality is however, every thing that the Playbook can do in its current form---it does a lot better than the iPad2 does. (namely consumption of media - playing/streaming video, surfing the internet, multitasking, music, etc.)
    07-30-11 02:26 PM
  19. K Bear's Avatar
    that is what they are trying to bridge with playbook platform, agree r disagree but the reality is however, every thing that the Playbook can do in its current form---it does a lot better than the iPad2 does. (namely consumption of media - playing/streaming video, surfing the internet, multitasking, music, etc.)
    Everyone else is doing tabs better than RIM. Even Moto with their half baked Xoom eventually got it right. Playbook is no where near where it needs to be & iPad 3 is just around the corner.
    07-30-11 02:41 PM
  20. West Coast Flavor's Avatar
    Woooow. This guy REALLY tried to downplay features that should be standard on todays SMARTphones. If you pay $200 plus for the phone, and another $80 a month.. you should have the option to view the exact temperature of the current weather.. and a six day forecast. Navigation should be standard. Movies should be standard. I'm all about getting my moneys worth. Just my humble opinion.

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    K Bear and pantlesspenguin like this.
    07-30-11 02:44 PM
  21. grover5's Avatar
    Everyone else is doing tabs better than RIM. Even Moto with their half baked Xoom eventually got it right. Playbook is no where near where it needs to be & iPad 3 is just around the corner.
    How long did you own your playbook? Mine is great.
    07-30-11 02:56 PM
  22. lnichols's Avatar
    Woooow. This guy REALLY tried to downplay features that should be standard on todays SMARTphones. If you pay $200 plus for the phone, and another $80 a month.. you should have the option to view the exact temperature of the current weather.. and a six day forecast. Navigation should be standard. Movies should be standard. I'm all about getting my moneys worth. Just my humble opinion.

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    You cant check the current weather and get forecast quickly on a Blackberry? News to me! Navigation is available for free too. Movies not sure about, but I watch them on my Playbook just fine.
    07-30-11 02:59 PM
  23. sf49ers's Avatar
    Everyone else is doing tabs better than RIM. Even Moto with their half baked Xoom eventually got it right. Playbook is no where near where it needs to be & iPad 3 is just around the corner.
    haters gonna hate no matter what, if you ever owned a playbook you know what I am taking about. With the iPad , despite amazing web browsing, the experience is a sacrifice when it comes to accessing content. With the PlayBook you just get the same experience of a desktop browser. After browsing the web with a BlackBerry PlayBook the iPad feels like and inferior web experience. Let me not go in how crappy the Honeycomb is..it lags seriously..
    07-30-11 04:34 PM
  24. sf49ers's Avatar
    Woooow. This guy REALLY tried to downplay features that should be standard on todays SMARTphones. If you pay $200 plus for the phone, and another $80 a month.. you should have the option to view the exact temperature of the current weather.. and a six day forecast. Navigation should be standard. Movies should be standard. I'm all about getting my moneys worth. Just my humble opinion.

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    are you living in a cave or what.. blackberry has some good weather apps
    07-30-11 04:38 PM
  25. Economist101's Avatar
    haters gonna hate no matter what, if you ever owned a playbook you know what I am taking about. With the iPad , despite amazing web browsing, the experience is a sacrifice when it comes to accessing content. With the PlayBook you just get the same experience of a desktop browser. After browsing the web with a BlackBerry PlayBook the iPad feels like and inferior web experience. Let me not go in how crappy the Honeycomb is..it lags seriously..
    My desktop browser can stream from Netflix and Hulu, and there's a Kindle app as well. From what I know, PlayBook is 0-for-3 on those. In other words, despite what you're saying, the PlayBook has its own compromises, and the tepid developer support thus far isn't helping.
    07-30-11 04:52 PM
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