R.I.P. RIM

A Post Rim World

In the past decade, BlackBerry has set the standard for enterprise-grade, reliable and secure mobility. But today, mobile smart phones have become the personal assistant, media player and entertainment device for users. The figures of adoption rates by competitors, show how short lived is a reign in the world of technology. The competition for RIM is not only Apple’s iPhone but the android market which has opened up a new playing field.

Recent Market Statistics

In newly released figures[1], the worldwide mobile phone market grew 14.6% in the third quarter of 2010 (3Q10), the fourth consecutive quarter of double-digit growth, driven largely by the converged smart phone category. Vendors increased shipments to 340.5 million units in 3Q10 compared to 297.1 million units in the third quarter of 2009.

However, in a display of the increasing importance of smart phones, for the first time, shipments of the Apple iPhone outstripped RIM in the 3rd quarter of 2010.

Top Five Mobile Phone Vendors, Shipments, and Market Share, Q3 2010 (Units in Millions)

Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, October 28, 2010

Android’s have moved up in the rankings as well. Google will ship roughly 22 million phones this year. But if shipments continue to double every quarter as they have been, Google could hit 27 million. For perspective, Apple sold 25.1 million iPhones in 2009.

From the chart below, you can see that quick rise of the Android devices in terms of unit market share.

Yet another recent report by Nielsen[2], figures show that only 42% of current BlackBerry users want their next device to be a BlackBerry. 50% of BlackBerry users want their next device to be an iPhone or an Android and the handsets from Google were the real competition.

iPhone and especially iPad users are young and affluent as the chart below displays. The growth in the 25 to 36 year old range is clear with many subscribers in the $100,000 income category.

Product

Blackberry needs to continue product development with the following:

1. fresh interface
2. faster web browser
3. flash support
4. better touch screens
5. larger screens
6. better software with cross device operating system compatibility
7. more applications
8. sync with Gmail
9. sync with calendars
10. better multimedia experience
11. open development to other developers
12. Better camera and video

Price

RIM needs to offer its phones at prices comparable to the iPhones and androids on the market.

Place

RIM should make its phones available on more carriers.

Promotion

Advertising that reinforces the Blackberry core strengths with a younger business group:
1. an organic food store owner like Whole Foods ordering using a BB
2. an online clothing company that keeps tabs of orders and sales with CRM integration over a BB
3. a woman in a corporate boardroom using her BB to make a stock trade under the table while a meeting is in session
4. A sculptor taking a photo of his work in his studio and sending it to a gallery to seek a spot.

Conclusion

If Rim wants to stay in the game, they will need to go beyond their legacy reputation and build an android device with all the options of next generation competitors that offer the same levels of security and reliability of Blackberries. If not, Blackberries will die on the vine.

[1] International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, October 28, 2010

[2] The Nielsen Company, (2010). Android Soars, but iPhone Still Most Desired as Smartphones Grab 25% of U.S. Mobile Market.

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