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Flatlining User Base May Spell End of RIM 180

Posted by timothy
from the rim-edge-brink-what's-the-difference? dept.
Meshach writes "There is an article in the Globe and Mail that says that the user base for Blackberry has stopped growing for the first time in the company's history, and speculates that this is the beginning of the end of RIM. The main problem seems to be that RIM's new Blackberry models like the Bold and Torch are selling poorly, and their production costs are much higher than other products manufactured in China. A recent research report says that after BB10 the company will need to sell or drastically change its business model."
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Flatlining User Base May Spell End of RIM

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  • Beginning (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24, 2012 @08:16AM (#41435285)

    THIS is the beginning of the end of RIM?

    It began a long time ago...

    • Wasn't there a story not so long back about how India is one of the few markets RIM is still thriving? In India, while people pick up quickly Western technology trends, they are not so fast in leaving it. Right now, Blackberries are one of the leading phones there, and that market's not going away. So if RIM disappears elsewhere, they may end up becoming a purely Indian mobile company, similar to Karbonn or Micromaxx.
    • by gman003 (1693318)

      This is the beginning of the end of the end.

  • by Andrio (2580551) on Monday September 24, 2012 @08:17AM (#41435289)
    1. Use Android
    2. Enhance security; add exclusive BB apps.
    3. Profit

    No, no ??? needed. Just go straight to profit.
    • by mwvdlee (775178)

      That sounds completely reasonable and obvious. The problem with RIM isn't their product, it's their entire business model being outdated.

      But RIM comes from a (short) history of dominating the smart phone business. I wonder if they can be rational enough to opt for a smaller marketshare of standard commodity smartphones instead of trying to regain that past glory. Perhaps RIM would be best served by simply selling their apps on all phones and get out of hardware alltogether. My guess is they'll keep trying t

      • by vlm (69642)

        The problem with RIM isn't their product, it's their entire business model being outdated.

        Get a government contract and hang on forever? I donno thats doing pretty well elsewhere...

    • by Karlt1 (231423)

      What company besides Samsung has Android actually been profitable for?

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      1.5: fire 75% of staff.

      staff is making these decisions.
      that's why it doesn't happen.

      though current route might mean fire 98% of staff.

    • by narcc (412956)

      Android is shit compared to their new OS. It's a massive step backward, technically, from what they have with QNX.

  • by stevegee58 (1179505) on Monday September 24, 2012 @08:21AM (#41435301) Journal
    I was just contacted by a RIM recruiter through a certain job site. (Of course it involves moving to Canada.)
  • by seven of five (578993) on Monday September 24, 2012 @08:22AM (#41435311) Homepage
    1. Buy RIM for $10B
    2. Sit on technologies for 3 years
    3. ???
    4. Sell what's left for 75 million
    5. Profit!
  • Alternatively (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) <marc DOT paradise AT gmail DOT com> on Monday September 24, 2012 @08:28AM (#41435341) Homepage Journal

    Alternatively RIM has all but stopped creating new legacy phones, and anyone who *is* interested (at least in the north american market) is pretty much waiting for BB10 devices at this point.

    Financials are out this week; it'll be interesting to see if global growth did actually stop.

    • by acoustix (123925)

      The parent is correct. They will have an explosion of new users once BB10 devices arrive. I have a 9930 and I can't wait to upgrade.

      • by Tridus (79566)

        People waiting to upgrade are not new users. They're existing users buying new phones.

        That will lead to sales, but not growth in the user base.

    • QNX/BB10 has the potential to be the best ever mobile phone OS. Of course that means close to naught in regards market-share in the tech world.

  • by e**(i pi)-1 (462311) on Monday September 24, 2012 @08:32AM (#41435365) Homepage Journal
    since when is stagnation the beginning of the end? We have saturation and the mobile market become more and more an upgrade game.
    • by rgbrenner (317308)

      the smartphone market has grown by 38.8% in the past year [bgr.com].

      Even when the US becomes saturated, there are still international markets.

      and finally, even though you are right: stagnation does not necessarily mean the end.. stagnation often does mean exactly that.

      The problem is, when a company does not grow, it is essentially sitting in limbo until one of it's competitors kills it ... either by finding the next big product; or by growing large enough to enable economies of scale that the ungrowing company cannot

  • Atari computers, back in the early 1980s, showed us the problem of rolling your own hardware, operating system, and software.

    Any change you need to make will be (a) huge (b) require 400 internal departments to agree and (c) baffle users.

    My suggestion for RIM: just go ahead and fire 2/3 of management and consolidate 2/3 of your internal teams. Then focus on using as much open source hardware and software as you can to reduce costs.

    If they start doing this today, they might be able to save themselves from Cha

    • And, Apple is unlearning that lesson, or what?

    • by JDG1980 (2438906)

      Atari computers, back in the early 1980s, showed us the problem of rolling your own hardware, operating system, and software.

      They didn't. Atari 8-bit computers used CPUs and interface chips from MOS Technologies (which was actually owned by their competitor Commodore), though they did have some ICs like the POKEY sound chip custom-fabbed. The BASIC interpreter was licensed from Microsoft, just like on Apple and Commodore computers, though all of these companies made their own customizations.

  • Well I for one recently bought my very first Blackberry device (a 64-Gb Playbook, when the prices fell) for a very simple and clear reason: I want to stay out of Apple/Google duopoly.
    I have been waiting for a linux tablet for a couple of years; now I feared to really turn too old before they come (I swear, I'll buy one anyhow).
    While I am a bit pissed off by the ultraserious security and obviously definitive user-won't-ever-be-root feature, I find it has some positive side effects (you can lose the machine:

  • Have stuck it out long enough. I don't even mind the lack of apps, it's the lack of even halfway decent web access that is the killer for me. Contract ends in December, time to move on
  • 1) Meet Deadlines!
    2) Make good software!
    3) Follow trends and don't attempt to set them!

    If Rim just got there act together and started running like a mature company and not a cutting edge start up then they might be able to turn around.
  • ...it's purely down to being that everyone who *wants* a Blackberry *has* a Blackberry.

  • RIM is doing a terrible job of marketing the bold and torch, which are both really good phones. They don't have them particularly widely available - and perhaps even worse, well advertised - in the US. Ask an average US consumer if they've heard of an iPhone, they'll answer yes. Heard of an android smart phone, they'll answer yes as well. Heard of a blackberry torch, they'll likely say no.

    If they want to expand their user base, they should try selling phones directly to users. It works well for Apple, there is no reason why it couldn't work well for RIM as well. They don't even need to open their own stores, they could sell them through best buy, target, walmart, radio shack, etc. Sell unlocked phones with manufacturer warranties, there is a market for that if they can hit a reasonable price point and free consumers from having to sign 2-year contracts to buy a new phone.
  • The growth of the user base is flattening, not flatlining. It's RIM itself that is flatlining.

  • You can't run a company when every year someone successfully sues you for hundreds of millions of dollars over and over and over. I'm kind of hoping Apple does that no only to Samsung but to everyone everywhere and the whole cell phone market including all the carriers go under and we go back 30 or 40 years in terms of technology.

  • they just need to make a 5 inch quad-core android phone and it will take them back to where they need to be
  • Really guys-RIM is not supporting the current users. OSX with Desktop Manager. Updated to 2.4. Suddenly, the machine hangs, won't synch, needs forced restarts. The Desktop MisManager is the only bit of software that has ever hung my Mac, running 10.6. Oh, and the Bluetooth in the Bold 9930 kept dropping out in the car. Are we pissed yet ? Go to Verizon. They replace the Bold, even though I am out of warranty. New Bold still won't synch calendar or contacts. Useless. Search forums. All have this
  • This is the begininng of the end for RIM? Yeah, that might've been poignant what, 4? 5? Years ago. They were like a dinosaur standing on a big block of wood...on top of a tar pit. It was just a matter of time without a miracle, and from the looks of it, they haven't even been praying.

  • I don't know if it's fair to say BB is done but I'm sure seeing a lot fewer of them these days. At a place I used to work at I got issued a BB and I've got to say that I really liked it. The battery would last forever it seemed. The phone calls came in loud and clear. It was great for texting and email. It was secure. I really liked the physical keyboard. But they were slow to adopt the touch screen interface and now seem dated compared to the iPhone and Android phones.

  • Since when did the fact that a company's user base stopped growing mean it was the beginning of the end for them?

    In any normal (non-tech) business, as long as you are making decent profits your company is successful. You don't suddenly panic and close down if one year your sales figures don't increase. I've worked for engineering firms that have been going for fifty or more years; they may be smaller than when they were at their peak and outsource a lot of manufacturing to China, but they're still ha
  • All RIM needs to do is release the BB10 devices already. I'll buy one. I know many people who'll buy one. But there isn't one to buy, and the fact that it's "coming" is the main reason why existing (read - obsolete) models aren't being purchased. Why would I spend $500 on the 9900, if I know there will be a new one in under 6 months? If I wanted to spend $500 on a new phone every 6 months, I would switch to iPhones long time ago.

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