Focus on Quality, Innovation

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-05-17 Print this article Print


5. Obsolescence is a death sentence

When one looks at RIM's BlackBerry devices, it's hard to not feel that they're a bit obsolete. Not only do many of them come with small displays, but for the most part, they offer physical keyboards. The software they're running is not nearly as easy to use as iOS. Just taking the BlackBerry's browser for a spin proves that quite quickly. Obsolescence in the tech space is a death sentence. Apple knows that, and that's why its products push boundaries. It's time for RIM to follow suit.

6. Quality means everything

If RIM can learn anything from Apple, it's that the quality of a respective product means the difference between success and failure. That's why the recent recall of 1,000 BlackBerry PlayBook tablets is bad news for RIM. Right now, RIM needs to do everything well. Being forced to recall an important new product doesn't project an image of quality, confidence or competence. Apple demonstrates every day that product quality is integral to its success. It's time for RIM to make that reality a key component in its strategy going forward.

7. Keep the focus on what it's best at

Apple doesn't get bogged down in products or services that it doesn't necessarily understand. It also doesn't waste time in markets where it can't be successful. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company simply sticks to what it's best at. RIM should do the same. As mentioned, it needs to ditch ideas of cornering the consumer market. It should also double down on its software platforms for enterprise customers. RIM has proved that it's best at delivering worthwhile solutions to the enterprise. Just look at BlackBerry Enterprise Server. It needs to keep focusing its efforts in the enterprise space.

8. Coax developers to its side

In order for RIM to have a future in the mobile space, it needs to do a better job of appealing to developers who want to bring applications to its tablet and smartphones. Future success in the mobile market will rely upon getting developers to continue to build applications for the devices RIM makes. Apple's App Store is arguably a key reason for the iPhone's and iPad's success. The BlackBerry App World must be a key component in the success of RIM's own products.

9. It's fine to take a chance

RIM likes to play it safe. It continues to announce smartphones that feature the same outdated design. From a financial perspective, the strategy seems to be working. RIM continues to generate more revenue and profits each year. But over the long term, the company will need to start taking some chances. Its importance and influence in the mobile space is on the decline. And that might eventually come back to haunt RIM. If it can take a few chances, just as Apple has in the past, the company can go a long way in re-establishing itself in the mobile market.

10. Think twice about tablet plans

RIM's tablet strategy is off. The company's BlackBerry PlayBook features a small, 7-inch display. When it launched, it lacked key built-in applications, like an emailing platform. Early adopters needed to connect a BlackBerry smartphone just to have access to those important apps. RIM is promising a 4G version later this year, but the option currently on store shelves lacks that connectivity. RIM's tablet plans seem to be wrong on many levels. The time has come for the company to look at Apple's iPad and learn a thing or two. 

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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