How Platforms Die: What’s really wrong with BlackBerry

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    Posted: 13 December 2010 06:19 PM #16

    JonathanU - 13 December 2010 04:30 PM

    I think it’s horses for courses to a certain extent though - I hear many people in my age group (20-30) saying how they hate typing emails on iPhone’s and prefer their BB’s.  Similarly,the other day I was having lunch with the head of the firm that I work for (aged 50).  He just got an iPhone, said he hates typing on it and is returning it.  Given he calls the shots, BB’s are likely to be the company phone for the forseeable future. 

    I have both BB and iPhone, one for work, one for personal use.  I use them both differently, and as such, just can’t reconcile how to get the best of both worlds as touch screens will always seem worse at typing (to me), but dramatically better for light content consumption (it truly is a pleasure to use to surf the web!), and vice versa with a BB.

    Perhaps I am being pedantic, and it is probably impossible to quantify how many people in the world who feel the same way as me - but either way, I still don’t think BB is as dead as everyone is making out… there is still time for RIMM to respond to the competition.

    Also - the big elephant in the room that no one has talked about is that the smartphone market is still only 30% at most of total handsets used in the US/Europe - plenty left of the dumb phone market left to gobble up…

    I guess I’m in a different demographic, but I hate typing emails on any small device.  Neither BB or iPhone is a pleasure and I would only resort to this method when no other option is available.  So we are really looking for the key defining characteristics of the mobile device of the future.  Both BB and iPhone do email good enough IMO.  What other key business related tasks define BB verse the competition.  The only one that jumps out in my mind is corporate security, and both iOS and Android are rapidly closing this gap.  The iPhone browsing experience was years ahead of BB but with release 6 Blackberry is moving closer to a usable web experience.  Apple has a huge lead in the app world and despite what BB may say when you have folks like Cisco & SAP building corporate Apps for the iPhone to meet their customer needs, these folks are not building them to support the consumers.  BB no longer has all the things on their device via APPS that the corporate user is now demanding and the lead is not shrinking.  For those business users who need a more full featured mobile solution, the iPad crushes the BB IMO for crunching through email and the larger screen opens a whole new world of innovation on Apps via 3rd party development.  The BB moat around the walled garden of corporate mobility has been breeched and their current approach of putting a finger in the dike will not stop the outflow.

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    Posted: 13 December 2010 08:54 PM #17

    Got an iPhone 4, pats?  Speed/responsiveness was one of the missing factors in the iPhone typing experience, and now that it’s mostly here, typing semi-long notes and e-mails even when half-asleep is really a non-issue for me.  And the iPhone is the first mobile keyboard experience I’ve ever had.  Then again, maybe that singular touchscreen experience helps with the adaptation process…using both a BB and iPhone may complicate things.

    JonathanU, I’ve heard the consumption argument over and over again.  Nowadays it’s simply a matter of use preference.  Hey, the iPod was consumption-only for the longest time - did that really matter?  Also, I can easily “create” on my iPhone if I feel the need.

    And on the iPhone, I do create one of the most important things of all - wealth.  Mobile trading is a huge win for iPhone, and iOS makes for some great third-party trading platform apps.  If I need to do serious creation, there’s always the Mac - along with other Macs I can buy, thanks in part to wealth creation made easier by my iPhone.


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  • Posted: 14 December 2010 11:03 AM #18

    FalKirk - 13 December 2010 01:20 PM
    DawnTreader - 13 December 2010 03:29 AM

    I think Microsoft has made a big mistake in the company’s latest effort to jump start its mobile device business. MSFT thrives only on high volume. RIMM would be an attractive fit and give the company some credibility in the market. Ultimately RIMM will need to combine with an equal or larger-sized partner. The question is which partner and when the merger will occur.

    I understand your thinking. Instead of developing Windows Phone 7 from scratch, Microsoft could have acquired RIM and built on their joint expertise in catering to Enterprise.

    But I’m not agreeing with you that it would have been wise for Microsoft to have acquired RIM. They may prove me wrong, but I think RIM is headed for a dead end. The only way for them to become relevant is to take the new OS they are putting in their tablet and move it to their phone. Changing an old hardware and customer base to a new OS on the fly is as difficult as changing horses on the run - doable, but with a high probability that it will end in disaster.

    I don’t think Win 7 Phones will be the success Microsoft desires or needs. In my view Microsoft will be shopping for a partner. Whether it’s RIMM or a strategic partnership with Nokia, I expect Microsoft to go shopping for volume and market significance. In the continuing battle with Google, the smartphone is too important a market to for Microsoft to leave without a strong global presence.

  • Posted: 14 December 2010 12:34 PM #19

    DawnTreader - 14 December 2010 03:03 PM

    I don’t think Win 7 Phones will be the success Microsoft desires or needs. In my view Microsoft will be shopping for a partner. Whether it’s RIMM or a strategic partnership with Nokia, I expect Microsoft to go shopping for volume and market significance. In the continuing battle with Google, the smartphone is too important a market to for Microsoft to leave without a strong global presence.

    I agree that Windows Phone 7 will be a challenge for Microsoft, but I don’t think that RIM is the answer. I readily admit that I’m not that familiar with RIM and I may be way off base here. It’s just my general impression based on the little I know.

    As to Windows Phone 7, I would say it was going to be a disaster if it weren’t for two things. First, Microsoft has incredibly deep pockets. Second, Microsoft (or at least Ballmer) needs this to work. No matter how slow the initial sales are, Microsoft is going to make herculean efforts to make this thing work. So we’ll see.

    I haven’t even thought about what Microsoft might do if Windows Phone 7 fails. That would be such a huge blow for them. But I guess you’re right, they’re not just going to throw up their hands and quit. They know they need to do something.

    Perhaps in the long run this will help Microsoft (but I doubt it). They will be so far behind that they’ll have to give up copying the current renditions of phones and tablets and try to jump on the next great thing instead of continuously entering mediocre “me too” products into the mix.

    [ Edited: 14 December 2010 03:32 PM by FalKirk ]      
  • Posted: 05 March 2011 01:14 AM #20

    This MarketWatch report on Marvel has a couple of interesting paragraphs on RIM.

    In a call with analysts, Chief Executive Sehat Sutardja attributed to the result to a customer, widely known to be RIM, was shifting to ?entry-level smartphones, an area we do not currently participate.?

    Needham analyst N. Quinn Bolton wrote in a note that RIM?s shift was being fueled by ?demand for low-end smartphones is rapidly outpacing growth in the high-end segment in emerging economies, given their lower cost.?

    ?RIM BlackBerrys are particularly attractive in this market given the Blackberry Messaging service, which allows free BlackBerry-BlackBerry messaging and lowers the total cost of usage,? he said.

    If the speculation is accurate, I see it as a serious short-term hit to RIM’s margins.  But it might very well be the beginning of a successful means of segmenting the market and differentiating their offerings.  I certainly don’t see them winning with what seems to be their current strategy of following Apple around.