RIM Faces Threats on Consumer, Enterprise Fronts

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-07-25 Print this article Print

5. The PlayBook isn't helping matters

When RIM announced the BlackBerry PlayBook, it said that the device would be the top tablet for enterprise users. But when it started marketing the device, it seemed to indicate that it would appeal to consumers, as well. After it finally shipped, complete with a small 7-inch display and no 3G (or 4G) connectivity, it fell flat. As RIM itself said last month, the PlayBook's launch didn't go so well. Considering Apple is selling millions of iPads a quarter, and RIM has only been able to ship 500,000 in a single quarter, it doesn't appear that tablets will be its ticket to success. In fact, if it continues to invest in that market, it could derail its operation.

6. Failure to innovate

Innovation has always been important in the mobile market. And over the last several years, RIM has been at a standstill. This is a dramatic shift for the company. Before the touch-screen craze, RIM was atop the market when it came to innovative ideas. But now, Apple is running circles around it, and RIM's products and ideas seem rather obsolete. RIM needs to start innovating-now.

7. Apple

Apple has proven to be the biggest threat to RIM's business. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company has delivered some of the most innovative smartphones and tablets on the market. Worse, it has taken all the attention in the mobile space off companies like RIM and put on to its own operation. RIM needs to find a way to get out from under Apple's shadow. If it doesn't, it could see its operation fail long before its time.

8. Android

When Android first launched, there was no indication that it would ever catch on in a big way in the global mobile market. A few years later, it's clear that Android is a threat to every single mobile OS maker in the market, including Apple and RIM. The trouble for RIM is vendor support. Whereas RIM develops its own hardware and software, Android is being used by a slew of vendors both big and small. So, when consumers head to a carrier store and pick a smartphone, the few BlackBerry devices on store shelves are lost amid the avalanche of Android handsets. That alone has hurt BlackBerry sales.

9. Employees are losing faith

Late last month, an anonymous RIM employee wrote an open letter to the company, expressing displeasure with how it's being run. The person said, "My passion has been sapped." Even worse, the person said that they're one of many people they know with the same problem. That's bad news for RIM. All successful companies rely at least in part on the passion of its employees. But if employees are losing faith in their employer, how much longer will it be before the more skilled workers go elsewhere, draining RIM of its most talented people? RIM must fix its troubles with its employees before it's too late.

10. IT is changing its tune

For years, IT decision makers have only invested in BlackBerry devices for mobile employees. But as of late, that's starting to change as more iPhones and iPads start making their way into the corporate world. Moreover, Android-based, enterprise-focused products, like the Droid Pro and Cisco Cius, are also trying to take down RIM. With the consumerization of IT more apparent in the corporate world, RIM finds itself getting lost amid a host of more innovative companies and products.

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Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, 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 http://twitter.com/donreisinger.

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