Executives at Research In Motion (RIM), the company that makes the BlackBerry, are frustrated. In a New York Times interview, Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis asked why RIM's profit and growth go unappreciated. But, although RIM shipped a record 52 million smartphones last fiscal year, a 43 percent jump over the previous year, BlackBerries are losing ground overall. "The industry just doesn’t seem to talk about the firm with the same buzz as Apple, for example," says Helen French at PCR. And Google's Android system has overtaken BlackBerry for the top spot in terms of market share. RIM is trying to recapture its momentum with new phone models and its PlayBook tablet, due out next week, which will feature a completely new operating system. Will these innovations be enough?
Yes. BlackBerries aren't dead yet: It's "too early to start hammering nails into RIM's coffin," says Nicole Lee at CNET. BlackBerries still have "an extremely loyal fan base" and businesses love them because of their security. The phones could use a new user interface — and the new models remain an X factor, "but we can always hope." Bottom line: "It's not too late for RIM to get back on the mend."
"The state of RIM: Can it survive?"
Yes, if RIM solidifies its niche: The company can still succeed by marketing BlackBerries as smartphones "for grownups" and making the most of its reputation for strong security, says Jason Middleton at NBC Bay Area. Sure, the guy delivering sandwiches to your office may be sporting an iPhone, but your CEO probably has a BlackBerry. RIM should admit it is going to lose out on "people who want farting apps" and focus instead on the power players. "Want to send a secure email to the Joint Chiefs of Staff? There's a phone for that too. A Blackberry."
"RIM's winning strategy? Try 'Blackberries are for grownups'"
No, it's clear that RIM's reign is over: The future couldn't be more clear, says Jean-Louis Gassée at Monday Note. It's all about apps these days, and BlackBerry competitors now have better devices with better app stores. And the company's strategy for its PlayBook tablet is "serious madness" — it's "launching what is clearly an immature product and trying to compensate for a dearth of applications with a misleading claim of compatibility with the wrong version of Android."
"RIM: The inmates have taken over the asylum"