Continuing delays to Blackberry 10 push it to 2013.
RIM has been having problems for the past few years and those problems are continuing. In the chart from Statista, you can see the current and estimated trend for sales of the Blackberry smart phones. And it is not a pretty picture, that is for sure. Even though they have had a management shake up, it may well be too late for the company to turn things around. In the recent release of fiscal information, RIM appears to have slowed the slide in revenue losses which is a great thing to see. But will that be enough to see a turn around in the company and return to its previous competitive levels?
At the moment, the odds are against RIM being able to accomplish that. And a turn around hinges completely on the release of Blackberry 10. Since it is not going to arrive until some time in 2013, the fiscal pressures on the company are going to continue. We can expect them to continue to slash costs through a variety of methods, including layoffs which demoralize the company. It is only their strong markets in Southeast Asia which are keeping them afloat right now. Sales and market share are strong, but that is not going to last forever. Their services arm brings in good revenue, but that is partly based on retail customers purchasing Blackberry smart phones.
More than 5 years ago, RIM was the only game in town and controlled the market in smart phones. Then Apple came along and that started the end of RIM’s dominance in smart phones. And it did not have to be that way. For the next several years, RIM kept churning out the same type of phones and really did not offer anything new and exciting. And Apple became the one setting the bar for everyone else to follow, which RIM did not do. At some point a few years back, the company decided to dedicate its focus on a tablet which is the Blackberry PlayBook we all know. During that time, they ignored their smart phone line pretty much.
They purchased QNX Software and most people expected them to incorporate that into the smart phone line, but instead they put it into the PlayBook. And they still have not incorporated it into the previously popular Blackberry smart phones. While there were expectations of Blackberry 10 showing up at the beginning of 2012, that was changed to be the end of 2012. The latest is that it will be sometime in 2013. Things seem to be sliding way to far and with over a years delay, the market is going to have some major shifts in technology and the types of smart phones that people want to have.
There were leaks about the Blackberry London in 2011 and it looked to be a great looking device. But it is tied to Blackberry 10, so it gets delayed as well until next year. At a time when RIM should be releasing new products, they continue to do the road shows about the coming products. At some point, they have to deliver on products as people get tired of the continuing promises. At the moment, they are repeating the errors of the previous co-CEO’s who spent close to 6 months talking about the coming Blackberry PlayBook. They cannot repeat the mistakes of the past.
RIM must release some new and innovate products in the next few months or they are going to move into the irrelevant category as a company. Next year is too late because of all the next generation phones which are expected to be shown in the first quarter. RIM is losing the battle for corporate America because of the lack of new Blackberry products. Without that, they will never reclaim the glory days in North America.
What do you think?