Published On: Fri, Feb 1st, 2013

Struggling RIM Misses the Bus Again

Once a market leader and now a laggard. That is the story of RIM (Research in Motion) the makers and pioneers of the once market beater Smartphone, Blackberry.

The fortunes of impermanence have indeed reflected on the plight of RIM as it now stares at a measly 4 percent of the market share compared to the 20 percent share that it had a couple of years ago. Now, with the launch of its Blackberry 10 device, the company hopes to regain market share. However, investors were disappointed that the sales of the device in the US would be delayed yet again. No wonder the stock plummeted more than 12 percent on the NASDAQ to close at $13.78. Analysts have been watching the announcements from RIM keenly as the consensus was that any launch after February of the Blackberry 10 would definitely be a black mark for the company.

With the latest information out of RIM, it is certain that Apple and Android based devices would yet again trump the Blackberry devices in market share.

It was not always like this and RIM can justifiably take pride in the fact that they were the pioneers who introduced the concept of Smartphones way back in 1999. When the industry was yet to discover what a Smartphone was, RIM blazed the trail with its targeting of corporate customers who could have the flexibility of keeping in touch with their clients on the move.

The game changed with Apple and Samsung entering the Smartphone market and targeting both consumer and corporate segments. Though initially, Apple and Samsung were content with RIM garnering the corporate space, it was not long before they started eyeing the lucrative wholesale segment which by virtue of bulk orders meant that any company that had a footing in the market could grab market share in a large manner.

The Blackberry 10 was widely expected to be RIM’s answer to the competition from the latest generation Smartphones and was intended to be the company’s answer to the threat from these devices. The company pulled all punches in the run-up to the launch by appointing key personnel and making wholesale changes in the team working on the Blackberry 10. For instance, to counter criticism that the Blackberry devices are not as trendy or “colorful” as those of Apple and Samsung are, RIM appointed Grammy Winner, Singer, and Songwriter Alicia Keys as the Global Creative Director in charge of making the devices appealing.

To wean consumers away from other devices, RIM introduced a host of features including more apps and the ability to Skype and play games on the go in its Blackberry 10. Considering the fact that RIM (which now calls itself Blackberry) was the original trademark holder of the “QWERTY” keyboard, the new smooth scrolling and touch screen features were expected to add firepower to the Blackberry 10. Blackberry went all out for the launch by booking several pricey venues for its global launch and Ms. Keys was expected to lend celebrity power to the launch. It remains to be seen as to how much the Blackberry 10 would measure up to Mac OS and Android devices in the war of attrition in the Smartphone market. Like a Phoenix, Blackberry might just rise again to its earlier glory.

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About the Author

- Marcus Holland has been trading the financial markets since 2007 with a particular focus on soft commodities. He graduated in 2004 from the University of Plymouth with a BA (Hons) in Business and Finance.