Research In Motion is in an unenviable position. The company that delivers BlackBerry smartphones to enterprise customers around the world is being relegated to the also-ran in the mobile market when, in reality, it's handily beating the two companies that get almost all of the attention: Google and Apple. For its part, RIM has stayed relatively tight-lipped on the matter, preferring instead to trudge on in the shadow of the competition.
But it should stop. RIM might not offer the most flashy products on the market and its chances of delivering a software solution that can match iPhone OS are slim. But it's still a wildly successful company that adequately delivers what consumers and especially enterprise customers want in a smartphone.
Although it doesn't get the kind of press it might wish that it did, one thing is certain, regardless of the amount of attention it gets: it has what it takes to beat Apple and Google in the mobile market.
1. It's ahead
According to NPD's first-quarter market share figures, RIM is far ahead of both Apple and Google in the smartphone market. The research company found that RIM currently controls about 36 percent of the smartphone space. Compare that to Google's 28 percent and Apple's 21 percent, and it quickly becomes clear that the BlackBerry maker really doesn't have much to worry about right now. Yes, Apple and Google get the attention, but for now, RIM is getting the market share. And that's all that matters.
2. Remember the enterprise
With Apple in a market, it's easy for critics to focus their attention on consumers and forget about the impact the enterprise has. That's a mistake. As Microsoft has shown throughout the years, the enterprise can be a company's best friend. RIM has learned that lesson. The smartphone maker has catered to the corporate world for years, and that has almost single-handedly contributed to its success today.
3. The BlackBerry is a fine device
It's easy to overlook the BlackBerry. The software RIM's devices run isn't as flashy as iPhone OS or Android. BlackBerry devices, for the most part, offer a physical keyboard and the same trackball that some view as obsolete. And RIM itself doesn't have the appeal that Google or Apple have. But that shouldn't matter. Just about any BlackBerry smartphone is a great product that offers an outstanding e-mail program and highly touted calling capabilities. It deserves to share the spotlight with its competition.
4. iPhone-Google cannibalization
Going forward, the battle between the iPhone and Android OS might help RIM. The problem with two similar mobile operating systems competing in the same market is that it splinters the space. Some consumers will opt for the iPhone because it's made by Apple and offers more apps than any other platform. Other consumers might choose Android OS because it's available on more carriers and offers similar functionality to iPhone OS. In the process, RIM is left as the only company offering an alternative to those who don't want the newest generation of smartphones. A battle between Google and Apple might not be the worst thing for RIM.