An article in the Globe & Mail posits a way to “start fixing BlackBerry”. The problem? There wasn’t a truly useful or meaningful suggestion. Worse, the writer fails to challenge one of their sources on an inconsistency in the industry.
This has certainly been a tough couple of weeks for Blackberry. They reported rather dismal numbers for the last quarter, losing nearly $1 billion dollars. They are left scrambling after Garnter suggested that companies basically abandon the handset. One of their manufacturing partners is bowing out. T-Mobile won’t sell Blackberries in store, and will only sell them on-line. Now we find out that the plan to take them private may be on shaky ground. All this, coupled with the suggestion that Blackberry can retrench and survive in a niche doesn’t bode well for what was once a great Canadian brand. Seriously, can it get worse?
It appears that, of the 3 main options outlined in the latest strategic review for Blackberry, a sale of the company is the most likely. While we shouldn’t rule out some lame attempt at a joint venture or partnership, a sale is the more likely outcome. It sounds like shareholders basically want out, and want as much as they can get for what’s left. Some of the sale options are obvious, but there are a couple that I think are more interesting, as unlikely as they might be.
JLG’s Monday Note discusses the current state of affairs for BlackBerry (formerly RIM). Needless to say, none of the news is good or promising. But JLG makes one point late in his piece that I disagree with, specifically about the BlackBerry brand.
Yesterday, Thorsten Heins from RIM proclaimed that the tablet market will diminish within 5 years. His view is that the smartphone will be the focus of our attention, and that we will attach it to “big screens” when we need more real estate. The idea of dockable phones isn’t new. But, so far, it really hasn’t caught on with smartphone buyers. Given the current growth rates, and overwhelming mass of predictions about tablets replacing PC’s, it would seem to be easy to dismiss Heins’ predictions as the words of a madman trying to shake things up. But there is a cautionary tale that should at least give us pause before proclaiming the tablet as the future of personal computing.
So, the new Blackberry devices and their new operating system are out. Proponents are expecting it to return RIM to the top of the smartphone heap. The more realistic, however, see this device for what it is: a last gasp attempt for RIM to keep Blackberry relevant in a world that they were a big part of (globally) or virtually owned (in North America). In the areas that matter to consumers, the Z10 and BB10 aren’t “better enough” to matter. Sure, the underpinnings are finally a modern operating system, with modern frameworks and tools. At the end of the day, it’s just another touchscreen minitablet that runs some apps. The details may vary, but the general bits are “more of the same”.
I saw an interesting piece on Microsoft trying to woo Apple iOS developers over to Windows Phone. This got me thinking about developer platforms, and how some companies have limited themselves by limiting their development tools. The idea that I’ve been mulling for a while: if you want developers to build for your device, make your tools available to them on the platform they use. What does this mean? If you want iOS developers, you need to make sure your development system is available on OS X. It also applies in other directions.