If you analyze the recent trends in the smartphone industry, you could effortlessly surmise that “no one remains smart for long”. Take the case of BlackBerry, which is a prime example to substantiate your claim. For that matter even Nokia’s case can also be cited. BlackBerry’s developer, Research In Motion Limited (RIM) reported a net income of $3,444,000,000 for the financial year 2011. In the ongoing year it reported a downward trend which seemed out of the blue. How can such a downslide happen all of a sudden?

RIM in 2011 released the impressive statistics:

– Presence in over 175 countries with atleast 595 BlackBerry distribution partners
– BlackBerry smartphones recorded sales to the tune of 14.9 million till date
– Deployed more than 250,000 BlackBerry Enterprise Servers (BES)
– A strong base of 370,000 registered BlackBerry software developers
– BlackBerry App World downloads per day crossed 1.5 million
– Active BlackBerry Facebook users estimated to be 33.4 million
– Active BlackBerry Twitter users remained at 7.2 million
– Active BlackBerry Messenger users grew by 110 percent in the last 12 months and stood at 43 million

If the above figures are to be believed, then we can term it as a stellar performance. But in the following seven months, things have taken a different course altogether.

The Fall

A dip in revenue, loss of market share to Google and Apple, cut in headcount, drop in stock by a whopping 52 percent, delay in rolling out new models and drop in shipments – this is the scenario after a year. In addition to this, the brand loyalty has been hit very badly. A poll revealed that nearly 52% of the total participants would go for other smartphones while nearly 9% would stick with BlackBerry if it manages to launch devices based on the BlackBerry 10 OS. The fall from this height could turn fatal, which seems imminent.

Who would, in their worst nightmares, have ever imagined that the once market leader in smartphones will cease to exist?

Windows 8 – The Last Nail in the Coffin

With RIM, in such dire straits, the best options are to either let go off BlackBerry, or keep BlackBerry and simultaneously adopting Windows Phone 8. Either way, it’s learnt that BlackBerry is short lived because the competition outside is too hard to beat. Google and iPhone are cruising ahead taking major chunks of the smartphone market. And secondly the consistent delay that’s hampering the release of BlackBerry 10 OS, which is giving out negative vibrations and has kept people guessing. Although BlackBerry 10 OS has been receiving positive reviews following its test release, a full release of the build seems little far away. It could be reasoned that RIM is taking its own sweet time to develop the BlackBerry 10 OS, as it is very critical to BlackBerry’s survival.

BlackBerry partnering Microsoft to have W8 for its future devices can be the end of the road for BB unless Microsoft gets it right. Windows Phone 8 has just been released, its capabilities are still being speculated. Windows Phone 8 has features aimed at the enterprise market with capabilities such as device management, encryption, personalized market place etc. It can greatly add value to BlackBerry’s strongholds such as the push email and heightened security of its enterprise targeted devices. While there should not be a tinge of doubt about Windows Phone 8 having enhanced facilities, the crucial part would be how Microsoft can ward off Apple’s or Samsung’s competition.

Biopsy

There’s something strange about the BlackBerry story – the seemingly sudden fall. A strong brand, with an awesome product range, excellent performance on all the fronts and booming sales, but what’s the point when the next thing you see is a beleaguered RIM. Can it be the vagaries of competition? Even if it was why didn’t anyone see it coming? Was the tremendous success blinding the eyes of the management? Or was it the management’s overconfidence? Undoubtedly the reason is too obvious to be overlooked; because there’s nothing else that seems to be responsible for BlackBerry’s current state of affairs.

Tagged:
About the Author

John Laster is a technical news junkie and Founder of TechieApps. He loves everything about digital world, technologies, social media and gadgets and has been prophetic in identifying the best ways to leverage and harness such news to drive sales growth for companies ranging from startups to huge organizations.

11 comments

  1. I’ve owned a couple of BlackBerry and each new one was a worse experience than its predecessor. I was pretty happy with my Bold 9000, by that time it was convenient, fast and very good at email and texts (what I do mostly).

    Then others caught up. The newer BlackBerry had a crappy keyboard and they weren’t very good at playing MP3 and there were very few applications.

    At some point I gave up and I switched to the Lumia 700. My only regret is that I didn’t switch earlier.

    Except for the lack of keyboard and S/MIME support, it has got everything I want and offers it with a great interface. It’s very good with emails, excellent with Exchange integration (and free!) and has a decent application offer (although not up to par with the iPhone, but I don’t really care, all the ones I need are there).

    I’ve been extremely impressed by Microsoft and this pivot. I knew the heart of Windows CE was very good (very solid real time Operating System), but all Windows PocketPC and phones I had sucked a lot and were awful to use because of the interface and the crappy hardware.

    I don’t see how BlackBerry can survive this.

  2. Microsoft’s latest trial, again portrayed as a killer platform. Come on guys, Microsoft’s ambition is good but their track record proves that they can’t compete on mobile .

    If Windows8 fails, I hope Ms gives up mobile totally and behaves the IBM/Oracle way, i.e. sucking the cash out of their client base to the full limit.

  3. To summarize, a dead-end OS’s last best hope is stealing market share from another dead-end OS. Welcome to technologyland.

  4. I’m sure it will. WP has superior features to BlackBerry OS (esp Facebook, twitter integration, messaging) and the devices are cheaper than comparable Blackberry, Android and iOS devices. Market share is also finally growing.

    It’s a killer platform already – they just need to sort out the marketing and get through all the Android/iOS fanboy FUD out there against it.

  5. My companys history of company phones looks like that:

    Bosch/Siemens

    Nokia

    BlackBerry

    I somehow have the feeling they’ll go down 🙁

    I love my bold. I never had a phone with such a strong battery. I know you can’t do much with it compared to todays smartphones but it’s perfect enough for work.

  6. Interesting. If MS starts making any real headway in the market I think that’s really going to shake up the native app businesses. People are suffering enough already writing Android and iOS apps. A third platform is probably going to drive a lot of people to the web.

  7. I knew the heart of Windows CE was very good (very solid real time Operating System)

    That’s been scrapped for Windows Phone 8 though, which is NT-based.

  8. Growing 0.1% from last quarter is hardly “growing” or any indication about a bright future ahead of it. What happens if next quarter they are down again since I assume even fewer people will want to buy Nokia’s Lumia now that they know it won’t be upgraded to WP8?

  9. Spot on. WP has good web integration as well i.e you can pin web sites to the start screen so there’s a good opportunity there to bridge the gap

  10. 99% of people don’t know or care. At least in the UK, we’re buying tonnes of them. 3 months ago, iPhones everywhere in our office. Now all I see is “sent from my windows phone” all over emails 🙂

    I know 5 people who’ve binned iPhones for Lumia 710/800 handsets on contract renewal citing that the iPhone is clunky.

    (I will say I got rid of my Lumia 710 recently and replaced with a basic phone but that’s not really because the OS or the device suck).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *