There was a time where it seemed like Research In Motion’s (RIM) BlackBerry brand would be the smartphones to rule the land for years to come. Things were going swimmingly for the company, even after the introduction of Apple’s popular iPhone in 2007. Many companies were finding this new generation of smartphone to simply not be secure enough for sensitive e-mails, but after a few more generations of development it looks all that is changing.
The BlackBerry was a popular phone for several years as Windows Mobile wasn’t cutting it, and Palm hadn’t done a major overhaul in years. The operating system was fairly sturdy, the e-mail support was the best around at the time, you would rarely hear complaints about the keyboard and a lot of people liked the fact it didn’t have a camera due the sensitive areas of corporations the phones were known to enter.
While RIM survived the first couple of years of the Apple iPhone assault due to a general consensus that the phone lacked the needed security that most companies insisted on, all of that has changed. More and more corporations are looking into the iPhone and other handsets as alternatives to the BlackBerry. Just in the past week there have been two major stories about large shifts away from RIMs handsets: Dell wants to switch 25,000 BlackBerrys to its own phones, and apparently Bank of America & CitiGroup are both testing the iPhone as replacements.
What doesn’t help RIM is the fact that the IT (Information Technology) support industry is no longer thrilling to the BlackBerry OS. Speaking with an acquittance I have in the IT field, who asked to remain anonymous, she could not stop talking about her hatred of BlackBerry handsets over iPhone and Android units. “They’re nothing but trouble. I just want to look at everyone who uses one and tell them, ‘grow up and join us in 2010.’ Give me an Android or iPhone and I can fix e-mail issues in minutes, but with a BlackBerry I might as well just write off the rest of the afternoon.”
True, this is just one IT worker that I have a quote from, but in casual conversations with others, it seems to be the general consensus.
Even going outside of the IT field, in general RIM’s market share is declining as multiple reports have shown recently. It is certainly not on death’s door as of yet, you almost have to wonder if it may not be falling into the realm Palm did where buzzards might begin circling thinking they can pick up another brand to add to their portfolio. Again, this is not going to happen tomorrow, we’re talking probably three or more years down the road.
While we certainly are not endorsing iOS and Android over BlackBerry, but one has to wonder if it’s still worth investing in further involvement with RIM, or is it better to switch now to prepare for a possible future.
What say you? Is RIM heading for a bleak future?