It seems just yesterday that Research in Motion, the makers of the iconic Blackberry were ruling the smartphone space. Fortune magazine declared them the fastest growing company in the world, and I still remember photocopying the article profiling the company and its approach for our management team. That was August-2009, in the thick of the economic nightmare that we’re still dealing with, which made the announcement even more noteworthy. Who could have foretold the next 24-months?
Today, the Apple juggernaut rolls on relentlessly, while Android unites hardware manufacturers who hope to carve out a share in the exploding smartphone market that already exceeded PC sales in 2011. RIM is now fighting a desperate rearguard fight for its life, while its leadership is trooping out.
It was not a great day for RIM,or its new CEO Thorsten Heins. The quarterly earnings report was worse than expected, and drove another nail in the coffin of the iconic mobile platform company. But, big changes are coming as Heins makes some aggressive moves and tries to stage a comeback.
Revenue was down by $1 billion from the previous quarter, and RIM revealed it had sold only 500,000 of its BlackBerry PlayBook during this quarter. Contrast that with Apple’s most recent quarterly earnings report which claimed over 15 million iPads sold. To put that in perspective, RIM sold as many BlackBerry PlayBooks over an entire three-month period as Apple sold iPads by lunch time on the recent launch day of the third-generation model.
The tablet is just one facet of the problems at RIM, though. In 2011 Apple sold more iPhones in Canada–RIM’s home turf–than RIM sold BlackBerry devices.
We’re getting the first glimpse of what returning to the roots involves for RIM, with the announcement of the Blackberry Mobile Fusion, which extends BES to manage iOS and Android devices as well. And while I wish RIM the best, let me take this opportunity to plug our SmartEmail functionality, which already provides you with seamless cross-platform email delivery along with filtering and full synchronization across devices.
Why would you want to stay locked in to a service, just when the smartphone world is opening up, tell me that!