Follow Us

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message


War on Error

John E Dunn

The BlackBerry, from boom to doom. And back?

Article comments

The BlackBerry's users can still save it. But will RIM let them?

The BlackBerry's users can still save it. But will RIM let them?

After a decade in which it became a standard fitment in boardrooms and governments, saw it enthused over by a new US President, and singlehandedly turned addictive ‘crackberry’ texting into a social phenomenon, history appears to be turning against the BlackBerry.

Are things really that bad? According to its latest results, despite increased shipments and revenues, profits have dropped nearly 10 percent year-on-year, a warning sign if ever there was one. Apart from its unloved and app-less tablet computer, the PlayBook, the company’s rate of innovation has slowed to a crawl compared to its rivals, Apple, Google and Microsoft.

BlackBerry’s biggest problem is that it is a Mobile 1.0 platform in a world migrating to mobile 2.0 platforms, including Android, Apple’s iPhone and even Microsoft’s reborn Windows Phone. Adding a few tweaks such as promising that the PlayBook will run some Android apps doesn’t obscure that developers are running in the other direction.

For BlackBerry, think tumbleweed.

That leaves it with the single USP that it still offers secure messaging (let’s ignore the deals with Middle-Eastern governments to grab encryption keys in those territories), but that’s purely niche. It doesn't look like enough to save it.

It’s at this point that journalists usually write something positive about any subject they’ve spent the previous several paragraphs being miserable about, but this time I just can’t think of anything uplifting to say about BlackBerry. Depressingly, it’s the Palm situation all over again, an old-timer taking on younger rivals unburdened by technological baggage.

Except this. The heavens brighten and everything becomes clear. The BlackBerry has one thing that even Android has found hard to find and Windows Phone probably never will - loyal users. A subset of people really like the BlackBerry, and not just the corporate folk either. It is the users who can save the BlackBerry if the company can find a way to connect to them and rally them to the cause.

So far, that connection is lacking but don't underestimate it - it is what saved Apple in the dark days of John Sculley.

If it does decline it will be a huge pity because the BlackBerry has charm and quality and it’s not as if the world couldn’t do with more competition to stir up Apple (smug), Google (the geek Big Brother) and that alliance of the desperate, Microsoft (dull) and Nokia (too introverted).

The BlackBerry has some time yet to turn it around if it somehow turns back to the CrackBerry crowd that made it the big survivor of Mobile 1.0. Get moving RIM and reach out to the people and stuff what journalists say.


More from Techworld

More relevant IT news


Send to a friend

Email this article to a friend or colleague:

PLEASE NOTE: Your name is used only to let the recipient know who sent the story, and in case of transmission error. Both your name and the recipient's name and address will not be used for any other purpose.

Techworld White Papers

Choose – and Choose Wisely – the Right MSP for Your SMB

End users need a technology partner that provides transparency, enables productivity, delivers...

Download Whitepaper

10 Effective Habits of Indispensable IT Departments

It’s no secret that responsibilities are growing while budgets continue to shrink. Download this...

Download Whitepaper

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Information Archiving

Enterprise information archiving is contributing to organisational needs for e-discovery and...

Download Whitepaper

Advancing the state of virtualised backups

Dell Software’s vRanger is a veteran of the virtualisation specific backup market. It was the...

Download Whitepaper

Techworld UK - Technology - Business

Innovation, productivity, agility and profit

Watch this on demand webinar which explores IT innovation, managed print services and business agility.

Techworld Mobile Site

Access Techworld's content on the move

Get the latest news, product reviews and downloads on your mobile device with Techworld's mobile site.

Find out more...

From Wow to How : Making mobile and cloud work for you

On demand Biztech Briefing - Learn how to effectively deliver mobile work styles and cloud services together.

Watch now...

Site Map

* *