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It'd Be Hard to Sell RIM - No Meat Left
It'd Be Hard to Sell RIM - No Meat Left
By: Bikram K Singh

From “We are the BlackBerry Boys” to “They are the BlackBerry Boys”, the jingle of legendary BlackBerry TVC has never failed to make us tap our feet during the long-and-much-hated ad breaks, but for most of us, the love for BlackBerry, in the age of feature-rich iPhones, iPads, and Android devices, ends there only. Will It Be End of the Road for Blackberry Boys?

Like many other mobile manufacturer, including Nokia, the Canadian company has been struggling to make its ends meet in the last few quarters (read the report here).And as the rumor takes round, the declining profit, and thinning sales of BlackBerry has forced the company to think of splitting its business in two parts: BlackBerry Hardware Business, and enterprise-friendly messaging and data network (including BBM, BIS, and BES).

If a company, as speculated that Facebook, Google, and Amazon may be in the race, buys RIM, it will be a saving grace for the company which once pioneered instant mailing and messaging with “enterprise level” security. But this edge has eroded partly because, as Wedge Partners analyst Brian Blair believes, device security of iPhone is good enough for the government as well as the enterprise. He believes selling RIM will not be an easy task, as there is nothing of importance left in the company. To quote him, “We don’t see an M&A opportunity near term, mainly because we don’t believe RIM has much to offer. If there was value in the Network Operating Center back in the day, it seems to have faded. 

If we have learned one thing from the iPhone, it’s that the device’s security is ‘good enough’ for the government and ‘good enough’ for the enterprise. We have seen every type of company replace BlackBerry with the iPhone over the last 3 years. If there is value in RIM’s Blackberry servers placed around the world in large numbers, that value is in decline, as those same servers continue to get ripped out on what seems like a monthly basis.”

The analyst believes that selling RIM will be difficult also because BlackBerry OS is not as advanced as Android, which outside Apple is becoming a standard operating system for mobile phones.

What went wrong for BlackBerry?

The reason for the tragic situation of Blackberry is its lack of innovation. Otherwise, what could have made it bleed red in the world where Apple, Samsung, and HTC (though miniscule) are going smiling to the bank?

The strength of BlackBerry was its messaging services, which has given it the market edge it enjoyed for years before iOS and Android came into being. Now real-time mail is not a novelty, and enterprise-level security is never on the agenda of a common man, and RIM has clung to it longer than it should have.

There have also been no innovative features in the subsequent releases of BlackBerry OS, which left people disappointed. Adding to it was lack of apps comparable to those available on iPhones and Android devices.

Is it end of the road for BlackBerry?

It would be jumping on conclusion to say that BlackBerry will cease to exist. If this decision is taken than it definitely will cease to exist in the form it is now, but the licensing of software and messaging on other platforms and mediums will regenerate a new lifecycle for BlackBerry.

My take on it, BlackBerry may die as a device, but it will continue to thrive as features on phones to come. And the company may not get a hefty sum, but selling RIM will not be difficult.