Rating: RIM’s lack of PR expertise strikes again
Oh dear. The Canadian smartphone manufacturer has done it again and managed to generate headlines which were almost diametrically opposite to its real intentions. Lack of Press training strikes again. The gaff centres around remarks apparently made by newly appointed CEO, Thorsten Heins, during his announcement of RIM’s quarterly report. Shipment and earnings figures fell below analysts’ expectations. What he was actually talking about was a ‘re-doubling’ of the company’s efforts in the enterprise space which were actually interpreted as headlines such as ‘BlackBerry maker gives up on consumer market’ and ‘Rim is pulling out of the consumer market’. These headlines have generated a mixed reaction from the industry itself with some believing RIM should put itself up for sale. Others argue that RIM should concentrate on low-end devices where Apple doesn’t compete.GoMobile News can recall comments made by Psion’s management which were interpreted as a sign it was pulling out of the consumer PDA market. So it did. We don’t think RIM should make the same mistake.
At IDC, research director for consumer mobile, John Delaney, argues that what Rim actually needs to do is stop trying to play the game on Apple’s terms.
What he believes is that RIM should focus on low-end devices because that is exactly the sector in the smartphone market where Apple refuses to play.
That sector actually plays on one of RIM’s major strengths – the major appeal of its IM messaging service – BBM (BlackBerry Messenger).
Delaney’s views on RIM’s role in the BOYD (Bring Your Own Device) trend are also compelling. Instead of sourcing smartphones from a central source, IT managers have given in and are enabling employees to pick what device they want to use.
He describes this process as ‘consumerisation’ because increasingly enterprise devices are being bought by consumers. It’s therefore exactly the wrong time to start thinking about not pitching BlackBerries to consumers.
So focussing more attention on making RIM’s devices work well in an enterprise environment doesn’t necessarily equate to any kind of consumer pull out.
In fact, Alec Saunders, RIM’s vp for developer relations, actually tweeted … “We are not leaving the consumer market.” So there!
However, it hasn’t stopped Victor Basta, a director of Magister Advisors commented, “In our view they [RIM] should sell the company while that corporate customer base remains intact.”
An interesting argument because it may well meet with a sympathetic response from some RIM investors.
As Basta points out, “RIM spends billions on R&D, but they consistently deliver me-too products and are outpaced in a market that demands innovation.”
Valuations in the mobile space are currently strong and RIM could maybe find a buyer from the enterprise mobility sector ( SA or Sybase?) or from those with a strong interest in the device marketplace (Huawei or HP).
Hmm. GoMobile News thinks that HP would be better off making a go of its webOS rather than buying the third best mobile OS.
Why do analysts so readily forget that a BlackBerry is a tool – and what it does very effectively is send messages. It beats the pants of a touch-based UI.
And, although its App World might not be as attractive as iTunes, there are still plenty of good apps for BlackBerries.