RIM: You misunderstood, we're not leaving the consumer market

Last night, Research In Motion delivered its quarterly earnings review, and the news was pretty terrible across the board. The big take-away from the announcement was RIM’s withdrawal from the consumer device market, as years of same-again handsets and a failure to keep up with major improvements seen in rival operating systems appeared to have finally caught up with the company.

It was, perhaps, the one glimmer of hope in an otherwise disastrous set of results. It appeared that the company might be getting realistic about its prospects, choosing to focus on its strengths in business, rather than chasing dreams of relevance among consumers. We weren’t the only ones to have been left with the clear and unambiguous impression that RIM planned to put all of its eggs in the business and enterprise basket.

BBC News and Sky News both broadcast the breaking news of RIM’s exit from the sector live last night, while The Guardian, The Washington Times, CBS News, Time, MSNBC, Digital Spy, The Register and just about everyone else who heard the earnings call or read RIM’s accompanying news release was left with one message: the company had pretty much thrown in the towel on the consumer market, and would focus solely on business.

But today, RIM is denying that it is to exit the consumer market. The company’s managing director of Global Sales & Regional Marketing, Patrick Spence, today told Pocket-lint:

The claim that RIM has said it will withdraw from the consumer market is wholly inaccurate. While we announced plans to re-focus our efforts on our core strengths, and on our enterprise customer base, we were very explicit that we will continue to build on our strengths to go after targeted consumer segments. We listed BBM, as well as the security and manageability of our platform, among these strengths."

And yet last night, RIM’s CEO, Thorsten Heins, made his own ‘explicit’ statement that RIM plans “to refocus on the enterprise business and capitalise on our leading position in this segment. We believe that BlackBerry cannot succeed if we tried to be everybody’s darling and all things to all people. Therefore, we plan to build on our strength.”

But today’s ‘clarifications’ on the company’s strategy evidently contradict that statement. Heins claims that the company can’t compete effectively by targeting all markets, yet by sticking to its failing strategy of pursuing both business and consumer sales, it’s evidently not ‘focusing’ on business and enterprise, nor is it consolidating around its strengths.

As if it wasn’t bad enough that the company is persisting with the strategy that has seen its share price fall by 80% in the last twelve months, it’s even less encouraging that the company couldn’t even articulate its strategy properly last night, and that’s it’s been forced to issue such clarifications on its plans today.

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To me that sounds like they got some constructive feedback from their retailers inquiring about what they do with all the BB stock on the shelves.

Microsoft and Nokia should buy them just for some of the software and add to WP, MS and RIM already collaborate quite a bit in the enterprise side, why not do it on the consumer side too.

From what I gather, most people like BB for the hardware and some of the software's features, not the entire platform. Why don't they just build Android devices, and add BBM, and some of their enterprise features to a custom Android ICS build? Then people would get devices they love, but with Android backing and complete access to the Android app store and the mainstream Android experience.

Chrono951 said,
From what I gather, most people like BB for the hardware and some of the software's features, not the entire platform. Why don't they just build Android devices, and add BBM, and some of their enterprise features to a custom Android ICS build? Then people would get devices they love, but with Android backing and complete access to the Android app store and the mainstream Android experience.

Indeed, their move to Qnix was just retarded. There's no reason Android can be recompiled in short order for Blackberry hardware.

And yet, my modest blackberry 9300 is more functional and efficient than my glitzy Galaxy Tab for communication. RIM OS is being destroyed on the basis that it can't be used to play Angry Birds or stream Netflix.

techfreak said,
And yet, my modest blackberry 9300 is more functional and efficient than my glitzy Galaxy Tab for communication. RIM OS is being destroyed on the basis that it can't be used to play Angry Birds or stream Netflix.

I agree wholeheartedly.

techfreak said,
And yet, my modest blackberry 9300 is more functional and efficient than my glitzy Galaxy Tab for communication. RIM OS is being destroyed on the basis that it can't be used to play Angry Birds or stream Netflix.
Yes, because iOS, Android, and WP7 can do email, which is basically what the BB platform was ideal for. Granted only Android has devices with physical keyboards, since some people might want that in a smartphone. I don't see the point of Blackberry OS to exist anymore.

I believe in RIM, they will probably survive if they focus on specific target segments. Bold 9900 is a great rendition of a smartphone: fast, practical, and great for typing, something those of us who don't play games use the most.
They may have lost US and Canada, but are big time number ones in South America, Middle East and even still top the UK market...
We'll have to wait and see, it ain't over till it's over.

Pretty much sums RIM up - not even they know what they're doing internally, so how are customers meant to identify with what they are if they are such a mess?

DomZ said,
Pretty much sums RIM up - not even they know what they're doing internally, so how are customers meant to identify with what they are if they are such a mess?

Agreed. This is their biggest problem.

So RIM being in the enterprise/business market is a waste of time? How about you explain why most business use BB devices then?

I think RIM should become a Software and Services company. It is clear that they can't compete in the consumer market, but they can leverage their software solutions to businesses using other mobile (and non-mobile) plataforms (iOS, Android, WP7, Windows, Linux, etc).

They should get out of the consumer market. They're so far behind in both hardware and software, they can't and won't ever be able to catch up.

Sadly, even their strength in the business market is questionable when compared to the other 3 big players. Whatever breathing room they had back in the day has long since disappeared.

I really don't think RIM will ever recover.

spacer said,
They should get out of the consumer market. They're so far behind in both hardware and software, they can't and won't ever be able to catch up.

Sadly, even their strength in the business market is questionable when compared to the other 3 big players. Whatever breathing room they had back in the day has long since disappeared.

I really don't think RIM will ever recover.


It only takes one device to catch up if done properly...

M_Lyons10 said,

It only takes one device to catch up if done properly...

As MS has shown time and time again, they will spend what it takes to eventually catch up.

And they always do.