The Future Is Spinning Out of RIMs Control

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-10-12 Print this article Print


5. Activist investors are moving in

Jaguar Financial and 8 percent of RIM's fellow shareholders have banded together to call for management changes and a potential sell-off of the company. For RIM's future, that's not a good thing. When activist investors have a different idea about a company's future than management, major changes usually ensue and there are rarely positive outcomes at least for management and employees. It appears that such changes will overtake RIM, whether the company wants them or not.

6. It can't be sold so easily

Over the last several months, there have been reports that RIM could be sold off to the highest bidder. However, that doesn't appear to be the case. As several analysts have pointed out, although RIM is much cheaper to acquire today than it was last year, the fundamentals at the company are not good. And even at a market cap of $12 billion, it might be too big of a risk for many companies to take on. There's a reason Google decided to acquire Motorola Mobility instead of RIM. Investors and customers need to keep that in mind.

7. It fails to see the value of new-age smartphones

One of the most surprising things about RIM has been its inability to offer a touch screen-based smartphone that can even come close to matching Apple's iPhone. The company's first Storm smartphone was a mess that most customers hated and ignored. The Storm2, while better, still falls short. Now, the Torch, with its slide-out keyboard, is too bulky for the average customer. RIM simply doesn't appear to see the value of new-age smartphones like the iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S II.

8. The enterprise is unsure

The corporate world has long been RIM's closest ally. But as of late, that relationship has started to erode as IT managers worry about RIM's true intentions. When the company showed off the BlackBerry PlayBook, it seemed to market it toward consumers even though it was supposed to be an enterprise product. With each new BlackBerry handset iteration, it doesn't appear that RIM fully understands what enterprise users want, like a better browser and something more than just BlackBerry Enterprise Server to keep them coming back. Simply put, the corporate world is starting to (ever so slightly) turn its back on RIM.

9. It's against change

RIM is starting to look like it's simply against change, as evidenced by its half-hearted attempts at making iPhone and iPad competitors. The BlackBerry PlayBook was by no means an "iPad Killer," and the company's aforementioned touch screen-equipped smartphones were laughed off by most consumers. What's more, RIM management has said time and again in the face of poor earnings that it won't change course. Currently, RIM's market horizons seem to be shrinking. The company will need to make changes soon to address that. But so far the company is looking stubbornly resistant. That could be its downfall.

10. Its brand reputation

Aside from all the issues it has created for itself, RIM must also contend with its not-so-stellar brand reputation. If one were to poll most consumers, they would say that RIM devices are designed for the enterprise. On the other hand, most enterprise users would likely say that RIM's devices are boring compared with those they use in the home. Combine that with the fact that the consumerization of IT is becoming a much bigger focus in the corporate world. Furthermore, some corporate IT managers themselves are seeing value in iOS. If RIM doesn't improve its brand reputation quickly, it might have no way to change its fate.

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Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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