Is RIM losing its competitive edge? My New Blackberry Bold Says Welcome To 1998

The breakthrough innovation of 10 years ago rarely makes the breakthrough innovation of today, and the company’s current strategy is too centred on leveraging in today’s changing environment what made BlackBerry so strong in the past,” he wrote.

It’s unreal I found this article tonight. Earlier today I received my new Blackberry Bold for work. RIM’s flagship model with all the bells and whistles (3G, WiFi, GPS, visual voice mail, etc.).

It’s an OK device, but so weak by modern standards (iPhone, Android, Web OS) that it should be embarrassing to RIM. The browser is laughable. I mean really, really laughable.

Seems to me it’s the kind of device only an IT group could love, safely ensconced in the bureaucratic cocoon of Blackberry server voodoo and licensing issues.

IT fans notwithstanding, RIM clearly knows this device is on its last legs:

  • They’re trying like mad to get an iPhone-like device built. Unfortunately, the Storm (both versions) is a disaster. Even someone longing for a modern phone like me turned it down. RIM is finding that a trackball-based OS cannot be easily “optimized” for touch. 
  • They are, literally, giving phones away. They’ve had “buy one get one free” deals with various carriers for months.

Nearly half their user base yearns for something better. RIM needs to start over, as Microsoft did with Windows Phone 7 Series, or maybe buy Palm. When your flagship model looks like something the other guy left in the trash, you know the current plan isn’t working.

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5 thoughts on “Is RIM losing its competitive edge? My New Blackberry Bold Says Welcome To 1998

  1. Melangell,I don’t expect it to happen, of course. And Palm being “on a tear” is why they should be available for a good price. RIM needs a new OS for their future devices. They can get a pretty decent one from Palm. Web OS has some nice ideas and is pretty well thought of. Obviously, RIM has OS experience and could write their own from scratch. It’s something they could have been well into by now, but they made a mistake by thinking they could just optimize the current OS for touch. It doesn’t work. They’ve wasted two years.

  2. Buy Palm??!?!?!? Oh yeah… That will help them. Palm is on such a tear these days!

  3. Listen, the bottom line is that corporate America is stuck in the 90s, thanks to the 50 something that still think IBM & Microsoft rule the world. Meanwhile, it’s the consumer space where innovation is thriving. Just think, my iMAC is a better computer than 99% of the CEOs have and my iPhone is better than 99% of the phones these same CEOs carry around with them like its some status symbol. It’s a symbol ok, that you’re stuck in the 90s.

  4. It has been clear to me for years that the Blackberry user experience is awful. I would continually second guess myself (how can it be as bad as I remember when they sell so many, I would spend a bit of time with a blackberry and repeat process).I could never understand how sales results didn’t equate to quality of user experience. In fact, I still don’t understand why so many people choose blackberry.

  5. I love your line: “Seems to me it’s the kind of device only an IT group could love”. But, you have to remember, IT guys are the people who have had a decades-long unrequited love affair with MS Windows. Anemic release after anemic release– it doesn’t matter– the IT guys refuse to upgrade to Mac or even LINUX. By analog, we can expect them to be still buying Blackberries into the next decade.

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