January 8th 2012

After 10 years – I said goodbye to a Blackberry

Image representing Android as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

After 10 years – I said goodbye to Blackberry last week.  I held on as long as I could, but I grew tired of waiting for  RIMM to bring out competitive products for the foreseeable future, I had to make a change, my data plan had run out four months ago.  I chose an Android phone (HTC Amaze), with the Samsung Galaxy my first (but not from Telus ) choice.  After 7 days.  I miss the following on my Blackberry:

  • Data compression ( reduces the network charges)
  • EZ controls where I expect them
  • Being contact/email centric
  • Simple battery control, and long life
  • Good pocket sized form factor
  • Out of the box focus on what I use daily.

I do enjoy now having:

  • Very fast download speeds
  • Incredible and diverse Android apps available – very easy to get and use, today  I just used one to store all the bar codes for all my loyalty cards. No more keyring.
  • A 32GB easily swappable sd memory
  • Two cameras – easy to use for Skype video and take very clear photos/movies.
  • The five Android screens are smart and easy to customize.
  • A big screen to read Kindle books.
  • A free phone on my plan – RIMM was going to cost me.

I am surprised I do not miss

  • Having a separate keyboard ( the virtual one gets smarter as I use it)
  • Encrypted data  – who would want to read my stuff?
  • BBMessanger – most of my contacts do not use it anymore .
  • BES
  • PIN communications (again few use it now)

Technically Blackberry has a better industrial design. If I was on their marketing team I could create some pretty compelling value statements for owning a Blackberry.  But this does not matter anymore. RIMM has missed the boat. The issues are legion:

  • There were almost 18 months without significant new products, dissipating their market leadership
  • Failure to nurture the app partner channel leaves them far far behind, getting further every day.
  • Reduction of US channel pull, means retailers push other vendors, commoditizing Blackberry
  • Increasing unit failure/returns means retail has a lower confidence in the hardware
  • Incompetent management of system upgrades = huge loss of services, followed by bumbling public response by CEOs
  • The CEOs and the Board who caused this have no idea how badly off they really are. A new Chair is deckchair rearrangement.

Its likely RIMM leadership has a similar problem to the US movie industry. Despite declining US revenue, the growth of new offshore markets skews the numbers to help balance the books.  This disappoints the local markets so they abandon products (like how many movie sequels do you really want to watch?)  In my early microcomputer days  companies like Commodore would have aggressive annual N American roll outs of new technologies, while still having tremendous cash cows in the emerging world through selling them last years (and earlier)  products at new product prices. But Commodore used the demands of the NA market to drive relentless innovation. When they missed that, the end was quite swift.

Compounding the foolishness, RIMM by not keeping ahead of competition, lost product (and gave up market) leadership . They let Apple claim it. Apple now through using a selective skim pricing strategy is able to generate very strong profits and revenues, while getting tremendous economic benefits through volume sales.  RIMM has to incur more cost to stand still, let alone create new products, incent retail to sell them and spend heavily to create marketplace pull through.  The answer lies partially now in a full bore marketplace war, someplace where RIMM is hopelessly inept.

As a friend of mine said, he sold his RIMM stock when he found out they were hiring ex Nortel employees. We are likely watching the death spiral of yet another Cdn company. Lets hope whomever buys the pieces lets us keep something in Canada.

Similar Posts:

Leave a Reply