The rise and fall of RIM looks to be moving towards an end.
More than 5 years ago, RIM was the mobile phone provider and the one that everyone was striving to become. With the release of the Apple iPhone, the shift away from the Blackberry phones began. Even though RIM could have maintained their market share, an apparent decision was made to focus on the Blackberry Playbook at the expense of the Blackberry phone market. By not taking the approach of being a dynamic company and focusing too heavily on corporate companies and the public sector, RIM missed out on the market.
This has been a slow and long process and is best shown by an infograph of their time line over the last 5 years. In 2007, they were the most profitable company in Canada. How things have changed for them since that time. They have had multiple layoffs at the company with the last one being 30% of the current workforce. How can a company survive after letting that many employees go? Then there is the continuing exodus of management. This is a huge brain drain and is continuing.
Future for RIM – Delay of Blackberry 10
It does not look like there is much of a future for RIM as there is no positive reports coming out. The biggest news being reported is the delay in the release of Blackberry 10. That is to be some time next year. This is another delay. It was delayed until the end of 2012, which many already felt was too late to save the Blackberry line. With this most recent delay, can the company survive? The Blackberry London phones look exciting, but they are not going to show up until Blackberry 10.
Future for RIM in India
India has been one of the remain strongholds for the company with continuing strong sales there for their Blackberry Phones. But even that appears to be slowing down. In a recent report, India’s slowing economy is impacting Blackberry sales. Having been dominate in India, to now lose that market strength comes at a time when RIM needs every sale they can get. Other phones are now becoming popular in Asia as well, leaving RIM with a shrinking market.
Developers moving away from RIM platform
There are numerous reports of RIM seeing the departure of app developers from their platform. While disputing the app developers loss, it appears that it is indeed happening and spells another new low for the company. At a time when they need some positive news, this comes as another problem area and spells a darkening future.
RIM loses court case in California
To add to the mess which RIM is facing is a jury decision against RIM where they have been ordered to pay 147.2 million in a patent infringement case. This could not have come at a worse time for the company. Given the financial condition of the company and the value of the stock, this spells big trouble if they are not able to get it reversed.
RIM could be purchased
While RIM wants to remain independent, the future of the company in some form may require them to be purchased. They may be able to sell more of their patents to help prolong the company until Blackberry 10 comes out. But given the number of times it has been delayed, this is not a sound idea unless they know for sure that it will be a specific release date. There are many companies being listed as potential buyers, but that is all speculation. RIM is known for their Blackberry Enterprise servers and the associated technology could interest several companies along with the supporting infrastructure all over the world.
Will RIM survive beyond 2012?
At the moment, the answer to that does not look positive. News continues to stream out indicating big problems for them this year. With the delay of Blackberry 10, they are facing some big challenges and more than likely are not going to survive. This did not happen this year, but has been building for years because they did not make the adjustments to compete with the iPhone and other manufacturers of touch screen phones. The public has driven the market from phones which include fixed keyboards to touch screens and RIM has not kept up with that.
The Blackberry Storm was their attempt to move in that direction, but it did not get very far. As a former owner of the Storm, the idea was a good one, but the implementation just didn’t seem to make it. This was partly because of bugs at launch which should have never been there. Unless there is a release of a startling new product from RIM by the 4th quarter, it would appear they are not going to survive long enough to return to past glory with the Blackberry 10.