1. KodyShadow's Avatar
    Conquering Parliament among the uphill battles for Research in Motion

    Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press

    OTTAWA - Gaining ground in the Apple-dominated tablet computer market has been akin to pushing a rock up a mountain for Research in Motion.

    And there's a hill they're at risk of dying on: Parliament Hill.

    Political Ottawa remains addicted to RIM's signature BlackBerry smartphone, but when it comes to which tablet computers to adopt, Apple's iPad is the favoured son.

    Conservative MP Peter Braid is one of the few, if not the only, MP who uses RIM's Playbook instead.

    It's an obvious choice, as Braid represents Waterloo, Ont., where RIM is based.

    When BlackBerry service went down around the world last week, it wasn't just the company who felt the slap. Local residents, as do many Canadians, take personal pride in the fact the device that even the U.S. president couldn't live without comes from Canada.

    Even in the wake of the service meltdown, Braid said, people still remain confident in the company.

    And when it comes to the tablet, he's hoping to try to convert over more fellow parliamentarians.

    "I talk to some people about it from time to time," he said. "People understand why I feel as strongly as I do about promoting RIM."

    In choosing the iPad over the Playbook, MPs are reflecting a larger trend.

    After its launch last spring, sales of the Playbook came in far below expectations, which analysts attribute to the fact RIM came late to the table market with a smaller device with limited online capability and poor physical design.

    The lacklustre debut came amid lower profits overall for the company, layoffs and a share price that hovers around $20 when it was once almost $150.

    Treasury Board President Tony Clement, an avid tech buff, is among those not writing off RIM, but acknowledges they have a fight on their hands.

    "The fact of the matter is they are going to be in a world where many people are going to have to make one choice or the other, or there is going to be a smaller subset that are going to be comfortable in both worlds," said Clement, who uses both Apple and RIM products.

    In the early days of RIM, the federal government contributed more than $50 million in loans and grants between 1994 and 2000 to help get their handheld wireless device business off the ground, according to research at Concordia University.

    Unlike the auto industry, which has received government money in tough times, there's no more federal cash likely to flow to RIM, and they're not asking for any.

    Nor does even Braid see the need for MPs to be required to use their products.

    "I don't know if we need a rule necessarily," he said. "I think it should be the first choice that people consider."

    Unlike the BlackBerry, which is standard issue for MPs and staffers, there's no government-wide standard yet on tablet computers. If MPs choose to get one, the make is up to them.

    Even Gary Goodyear, the federal minister of science and technology, recently decided to buy the Apple product instead of the Playbook.

    NDP industry critic Peter Julian introduced a private member's bill in the last session of Parliament that would have required the federal government give preference to Canadian goods.

    He said there are symbolic things the government could be doing to show support for RIM.

    "But overall, it's providing that research and development ... for our high-tech achievements that could make a real difference," Julian said. "The government has failed miserably."

    Goodyear acknowledges that his and past governments have not always received value from the billions invested in research and development.

    For every success story like RIM, there are hundreds of widgets that gather dust in lab closets.

    But now's the time to dust off those ideas, he said. Canada is doing relatively well even in the current economic climate and businesses need to seize the moment.

    "Compare us to the United States whose economy is significantly worse than ours," he said.

    "They are still beating us on innovation and productivity. So this is an opportunity for us to say look, that is just an excuse that can be managed and this is the opportunity to do it."

    On Monday, a panel of experts will release a report reviewing the current research-and-development investment programs run by government, along with suggestions on what could be done differently.

    Goodyear said that despite the government currently looking for ways to save at least $4 billion a year to cut down the deficit, research money is not on the chopping block.

    The panel can also not recommend more money be spent.

    TELUS, news, headlines, stories, breaking, canada, canadian, national
    10-16-11 12:26 PM
  2. laurah2215's Avatar
    Interesting read. Thanks for posting.
    10-16-11 05:26 PM
  3. kill_9's Avatar
    After its launch last spring, sales of the Playbook came in far below expectations, which analysts attribute to the fact RIM came late to the table market with a smaller device with limited online capability and poor physical design.
    While the BlackBerry PlayBook has suffered a dearth of applications, especially high-quality applications, it has always had superior online capability and outstanding physical design as a key differentiation from other tablet manufacturers. The form-factor of 7-inches is an asset not a liability as has been mentioned many times; other manufacturers have been releasing 7-inch tablets post the debut of the BlackBerry PlayBook. The operating system and user interface are second to none.
    menaknow likes this.
    10-16-11 05:46 PM
  4. Tre Lawrence's Avatar
    Interesting...

    Treasury Board prez and Minister of Science and Tech choose elsewhere.

    The dichotomy of choice is interesting... when allowed to pick their own devices, indigenous loyalty seems to go out the window.
    10-16-11 07:10 PM
  5. Economist101's Avatar
    The form-factor of 7-inches is an asset not a liability as has been mentioned many times; other manufacturers have been releasing 7-inch tablets post the debut of the BlackBerry PlayBook.
    The flip-side of this argument is that those same manufacturers aren't afraid to compete with 7-inch devices, including the PlayBook.
    10-16-11 07:14 PM
  6. menaknow's Avatar
    The flip-side of this argument is that those same manufacturers aren't afraid to compete with 7-inch devices, including the PlayBook.
    I don't think any tablet manufacture is afraid to compete with another tablet maker. Amazon, Samsung, RIM, Apple to name a few... I am sure they are after each others tablet market share irrelevant of the tablet size.
    10-16-11 09:41 PM
  7. adamkesher's Avatar
    Interesting...

    Treasury Board prez and Minister of Science and Tech choose elsewhere.

    The dichotomy of choice is interesting... when allowed to pick their own devices, indigenous loyalty seems to go out the window.
    Nicely illustrating the entire Blackberry non-phenomenon: when people actually have a choice, they tend to choose other products.
    10-16-11 11:18 PM
  8. Tre Lawrence's Avatar
    Nicely illustrating the entire Blackberry non-phenomenon: when people actually have a choice, they tend to choose other products.
    No, no... they are clearly iSheep too.
    10-16-11 11:29 PM
  9. adamkesher's Avatar
    Anyone got any stats on that? What percentage of BB subscribers are enterprise users only?
    10-16-11 11:32 PM
  10. Economist101's Avatar
    No, no... they are clearly iSheep too.
    Exactly. Canadian iSheep are just like their American counterparts, except they have universal healthcare.
    Jake Storm likes this.
    10-16-11 11:33 PM
  11. Rootbrian's Avatar
    RIM won't be dying on parliment hill or any other. They're doing fine.

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    10-17-11 12:57 AM
  12. EchoTango's Avatar
    Let's be honest with ourselves, the Playbook in it's current form is really a companion device for a Blackberry which immediately limits it's target market. Coupled with the lack of a clear market strategy, resulted in less than stellar sales. Here we are in October and we still don't have the functionality nor the new the versions promised at product launch. Not exactly the approach to use if you're going into a market already dominated by another brand.

    I truly believe RIM thought the Playbook would sell just because of the tablet market "frothiness" and people would simply ignore the device's clear weaknesses.
    Last edited by EchoTango; 10-17-11 at 09:54 AM.
    10-17-11 09:51 AM
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