If you own a BlackBerry then you need to be very concerned about what is going on with Research In Motion, the makers of the BlackBerry phone. BlackBerry has been a strong brand for years and this has been primarily because they carved out a niche for themselves in the enterprise business phone industry. If you were a corporate person, chances were you had a BlackBerry.
This seems to be faltering owing to a number of disruptive changes in the smartphone market. RIM’s stock has fallen 68% to levels not seen in over nine years. This means the stock value is below the book value of RIM. Their market share has plummeted from 46.8% in the US market to just over 11% in just two years.
First it was Apple’s iPhone that happened and before the BlackBerry maker could recover from this blow, Android happened. This last blow was a quick one-two punch because now Google have gone ahead and purchased the phone division of mobile technology giant Motorola.
So, where does this leave RIM? I think the first mistake the BlackBerry maker made was to jump into the smartphone race in the first place. BlackBerry phones were never sleek or sophisticated but we loved them. They cut a no-nonsense business look that everyone in a suit wanted to be associated with. BBM and email were the main features of the BlackBerry and they had perfected this. Then came the smartphone craze with Apple’s iPhone.
BlackBerry released a number of iPhone wannabes in the name of the BlackBerry Storm series. These were a dismal failure because they were too expensive and the technology was not as advanced as Apple’s. As if this were not enough, with the launch of the iPad, Blackberry also went ahead to launch their own tablet PC, the BlackBerry PlayBook.
In my opinion, all these were the wrong moves to make because what BlackBerry ended up doing was alienating the already vast market they had for simple business smartphones. The BlackBerry brand is far from out but many pundits see the BlackBerry maker as being ripe for a takeover, just like what happened to Motorola who could not keep up with the competition on their own.