Tag Archives: RIM

Blackberry thinks what??? Tablets aren’t worth it?

Wow. In a recent interview, Blackberry CEO Thorsten Heins, claims that there is a limited future for the tablet. Really? He makes this statement as Apple generates more revenue from their tablets than Blackberry did from their entire business ($8.7b v $2.7b). This smells like a statement made in light of a

We hardly knew ya!

We hardly knew ya!

failed foray into the tablet market. This is just reflective of Blackberry’s demise – being a dollar late and a day late. Blackberry, like many of us, were caught off guard by the rise of the iPhone. Yes I will admit that I was a loyal Blackberry user and now I have no idea what I was thinking (I am on my second iPhone). However this is no excuse for Blackberry. Lots of companies were caught off guard, and many have been able to react and get back into the game – Samsung being a perfect example. Yet Blackberry appears to have their collective heads in the sand for example:

  • Secure email was no longer the #1 selling reason for a smartphone – apps were. But for the business world having secure communications remains important. Double down on the corporate play, rather than trying to half appeal to developers to create apps for phones that aren’t designed well for apps (late to touch screen).
  • Speaking of touch screens – stop trying to appeal to those who still wanted a tactile keyboard…with a phone that offered both tactile and touch. I will admit, again, that I resisted the notion of a touch screen keyboard. But I also was not going to try and use a device that had both. The Blackberry 10 finally has gone all in with the full touch screen…only a few years late.
  • We need a tablet…oh wait there is no future. Blackberry did come out with a, from an engineering stand point, was a good device the Playbook. Yet once again it was late and marketed as an iPad competitor. Maybe it should have been targeted to the corporate world as a laptop replacement. Get ahead of the BYOD wave. Get these into the hands of IT departments and offer them as an alternative to laptops. Blackberry remains one of the most secure systems…lean on that advantage.

I guess the latest from Blackberry is another example of “if I say it…it will be true.” Unfortunately Blackberry is giving us a wonderful example of a great brand and product that has been caught behind the curve. Rather than recognizing this they are trying to convince themselves this is June 28, 2007 and the term iPhone has yet to enter our lexicon.

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Blackberry…yes they are still around…with their new phone

So the new Blackberry 10 will soon jump into the smart phone battle ground. And it … surprisingly …. shockingly …. looks like an iPhone!!!

I have been on RIM’s case for a while now and this only reinforces my questioning of what is the future for the once mighty smart phone player. RIM needed to do something different, go in a radically different direction. Look at what Samsung is doing – they have a phone that is the size of a Kindle! But it is different. As well as having other phones that are bigger than an iPhone.  Even Microsoft has a phone that has very different look to it because of Windows.

This new Blackberry…looks like a wanna be iPhone. Now the operating system might new and “better”…but does that really matter? I say no. If you cannot get app developers to create apps for your phone than what does the OS matter? RIM needed to do something very different to try and change the trajectory they are on, unfortunately it appears that his new device will only ensure they stay on the course they have been on for a while now – the road to nowhere.

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How the mighty have fallen – can it get worse for RIM?

I read an interesting articleabout the downturn of a once powerful brand – Blackberry.  A product that once commanded 50% of the smartphone market is now less than 5% of that market. In only three years…what a precipitous drop. It has even been called out

Back when the Blackberry was “cool”

as not cool enough for companies like Yahoo!

The article points out the one area that is at the crux of why RIM lost its fastball – innovation. The lack of innovation when it came to creating and developing apps was the downfall for the once powerful icon. I can speak from experience. Yes I was once a Blackberry loyalist. When it was about fast email and a full qwerty key board, the Blackberry had few rivals. But that market shifted. Emailing is only a fraction of what we use our phones for these days. It is not even about web browsing, it is all about having access, via apps, to a number of functions. Whether it is to find a restaurant through Yelp, or reading the news via Zite, posting on Facebook, or reading the latest Tweets or fighting a zombie invasion through horticulture our phones have become a conduit to a cyber smorgasbord of tools. While this was happening, RIM continued to cling to their email servers and qwerty keyboards.

Unfortunately I am not sure that RIM will be able to recover from this position. Question becomes how will this story end? Will someone come and buy the Canadian company? Will they go out of business? Or will they somehow reinvent themselves and emerge from the ashes…much like another iconic tech company that was in the computer business and now is the consumer electronic darling – Apple.

This story is not over, but I am not sure RIM has a Steve Jobs type leader to get them out of this tailspin. If the following video is any indication, I am not hopeful for RIM and their future –

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Another shopping list…for an unexpected candidate – Yahoo!

A good article about what Yahoo! could do with a new cash infusion – granted this is not the vast sums of cash Apple has that we have been spending. But we are still looking at $4billion of cash that Yahoo will get once they sell their shares in Chinese internet firm Alibaba. Business Insider has a great shopping list for Yahoo, click here for article. So here is an acquisition not on the list, and one that I suggested Apple should acquire – Barnes and Nobles.

Why? Again, similar to the reasoning behind Apple getting their hands on it, the Nook. But this is even more juicy for Yahoo that has zero device in the market unlike Apple, Microsoft and Google. This would also thrust Yahoo into a position of importance when it comes to eBooks and content. Yahoo would also have a new eCommerce/distribution network. Granted this might add complexity that they do not want, but I think for the upside it is worth the venture.

Another target – RIM. With the news coming out of Canada being very negative these days about the future of the Blackberry maker being in serious question. This would give Yahoo a footprint in the mobile space, and could be an interesting partnership with some of Yahoo’s assets like – Yahoo finance – tie this into a device that remains the most business centric platform and you have a fighting chance. The marriage would also grow the messenger features both companies have to offer. Granted the valuation of RIM, might stretch Yahoo’s ability to acquire. But it might a gamble worth making.

Yahoo should not look to chase Google on video with a Vimeo acquisition, nor try to tangle too much on the search side – look at what Bing has done for Microsoft…not much. I do think that such assets as Yelp and Foursquare would help on the local search front as well as mobile.

However to really make themselves relevant again, Yahoo must make a push in the mobile/device space. Get themselves into that arena, they are already behind but it remains a space.

Shopping with others’ money is fun, even if it is only $4billion!

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5 Things to Look for in 2012

I know my previous post was about supply chain trends in 2012, but since I was in the airport today with a number of travelers heading to Las Vegas for CES, I thought…hmmm what are some things to look for in the technology world for 2012.

  1. RIM and Blackberry will fade away and could even be acquired by another technology player…maybe HP? I realize that HP has the Palm system for mobile, but with RIM they will have the devices and network to bolster their mobile play. RIM has been in trouble with Apple and Google eating their lunch when it comes to the smartphone space. RIM has to find more stable and far reaching backer to reinvigorate their sagging business.
  2. Apple TV is the next big thing…okay I have been speaking about Apple TV for a long time and how it is the last frontier for Apple to be a player in the entire entertainment game – get into the family room and control the TV. I do think that 2012 might finally be when Apple breaks out with their TV play. Rumor is that after CES, Apple will be announcing their iTV. Google is already moving into the family room with Google TVs, Microsoft and Sony are there with their state of the art gaming platforms…Apple is actually playing catch up. Not anymore.
  3. Speaking of tablets, look for Amazon to emerge as the real counter to the iPad. Others have tried, remember the Blackberry Playbook, Samsung Galaxy or the HP TouchPad, while some have had mild success they continue to chase the iPad. Their main issue – chasing the iPad with a me-too device is not working. Amazon has, on the other hand, gone after the smaller form factor market offering the 7in tablet. While others have also moved down size, they have not done so rapidly allowing Amazon to corner that market. In addition to the fact the Kindle has the power of the Amazon content backing the device, it has a wide lead and will continue to build on that segment of tablets. Will Apple move towards that form factor? Doubtful, especially not now. Oh and Barnes and Nobles is chasing that space as well…but once again a dollar short and a day late with their Nook tablethingamjiggy….
  4. There will be a big move with the old school technology players – Yahoo, Microsoft, eBay – being the old school players will make some splashes. Look for the Yahoo – Microsoft marriage to rear its head again. Yahoo might even be a player to acquire RIM. Microsoft could even make another play in the B2B space and look back towards SAP. As Facebook, Google and Apple continue to own the headlines, the old school tech companies will make moves to recapture some of their mojo.
  5. Hyped IPOs – some good, some bad. Okay we all have heard that Facebook will IPO for somewhere close to $100 gazzillion….but on the other hand companies like Groupon will have egg in their face as they IPO, probably look back to the offer laughed down from Google. Tech will continue to make some IPO plays in 2012, it will not be like 1999 again but not as dire as the past few years either.

2012 should be interesting once again for technology. It will be fun to watch and to see how the devices we carry and the technology we use evolves in 2012.

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No such thing as bad publicity…especially when you are Blackberry

Good old Blackberry, the once powerhouse of the smart phone world has been relegated to fourth when it comes to popular smart phoning behind the likes of Apple and Droid. What is even more telling for our friends in Canada – they are a distant third when it comes the platform application developers seek to create their masterpieces for. This weekend was another story. While some of us were focused on S&P downgrading the United States rating from AAA, over in London there were some riots that broke out due to a tragic incident with the police. This resembles the spark that set off riots in the Paris banlieu back in 2005. In the midst of all this, the news is that these riots were organized leveraging technology, but not Facebook or Twitter, instead it is old reliable – the Blackberry. Why? The messaging system on the Blackberry is easy to use and difficult to hack! Hey, ask the Saudi government about the security of the Blackberry! Once again the strength of the RIM security and encryption for the Blackberry commands some headlines. Once again I wonder why Blackberry does not do a better job advertising and promoting their security.

Businesses are becoming increasingly mobile, I realize this is not a news flash; however, with mobility comes security issues. Just the other day I was in a corporate meeting and counted that over 75% of those in the room had some form of tablet. Rest assured these were not company issued devices! Devices such as the iPad have found their way into the managing of your supply chain. Companies have given iPads to their factory floor works to add efficiencies and mobility to the floor. Functions such as pipeline updates are being linked to mobile devices. All this adds up to: a glut of new data streaming over the air and greater potential for security breaches. So I ask RIM, why not play into this with your iron tight security? Why try to compete with the “cool” kids – Apple and Droid – trying to keep up with all their new apps and fun stuff. Stick to your bread and butter – corporations. Where security and data integrity remain high on the list of must haves.

If the Saudi government is so nervous about your ability to communicate in privacy or if rioters in London rather use your messaging service because the cops cannot hack into the messages, then isn’t it fair to assume that companies would be interested in having this security?

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Blackberry’s last stand?

The new Blackberry Bold 9780 is going to be available to the public later this month…some seem to believe that it could finally be the answer from RIM to the Android phones and the iPhone. The upgraded operating system, long overdue, apparently will be a quantum leap in terms of web surfing. Well that is good since the old Blackberry browsing was awful! There will be a 5 megapixel camera, I will say that I was disappointed that I did not have the same built in camera options on the iPhone 4 as I did on my Blackberry – playing with speed, black and white and white light – to name a few. The new Blackberry will also have increased on-board memory…I guess no more need to pull the battery every day to clear the cache.

Here is what is missing….applications. Okay this is not something new I realize, but what makes smart phones attractive is the ability to provide a dynamic and attractive platform for app developers. I am not sure that RIM has figured this out yet….the new version of the Bold might give RIM a boost, maybe  it will challenge the iPhone…then again wasn’t the Torch suppose to do that?

RIM you need to realize it is all about the apps…and you are still third in line for developers.

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