Alas, poor Yorick!

“Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is!”  Shakespeare’s Hamlet couldn’t have said it better.  “Alas, poor BlackBerry! I knew him, Horatio.

I’ve been a BlackBerry user, nay, CrackBerry junkie, since 2001.  Like most junkies, I received my first sample free and I’ve been paying ever since.  RIM handed out 500 “BlueBerrys” at the WAVE convention in Las Vegas and I was one of the fortunate 500.  I remember playing with the device for a few days at the convention and then putting it in a drawer for months.  Our corporate E-mail platform didn’t have a BES and I already had a cell phone.  A few months later we stood up a BES and the rest is history.

I’ve had no less than seven different models since then and only one has been a real dog.  If there ever was a way to have one surgically implanted, I’d be one of the first to sign up.  For me, it’s always been about mail.  For years I’ve needed my E-mail attached to me 24x7x365.  As the smartphone has evolved I’ve had to watch from the sidelines as others started to take pictures, play games, instant message, navigate, listen to music, and stream video all because RIM wouldn’t let me get in to the game.  I was content though because I had my bullet-proof mail and that was what was important. My BlackBerry was a tool I couldn’t live without.

Sure, RIM eventually added many of these features and updated their play book (pun intended) but they have done it as a follower not a leader.  For the past few years their hardware has been playing catch-up and not faring well.

Innovation?  Seriously?  It’s been virtually non-existent.  Somewhere along this path RIM has lost their way with the BlackBerry.  Take a look at some of these designs and patents they’ve been working on.  What where they thinking?

It seems that while Apple, Google, HTC, and Motorola have been advancing the Smartphone RIM (read: eating RIM’s lunch) has been content to revel in their position in the corporate market as the provider of secure communications.  Too bad.  The corporate world has begun to embrace the other platforms just as the other platforms have begun to embrace the corporate market.

RIM has ceased to produce world-class products.  They’ve managed to saw off one of the four legs holding up their table… “which others choose to emulate.”  The iPhone?  World-Class.  Android?  World-Class.  Sorry, RIM, you loose.  You’ve been attempting to emulate what those two offer and haven’t been doing well with that attempt.

Think about how well RIM has embraced the explosive growth of the consumer market?  When it the last time you’ve seen a BlackBerry commercial on television?  How about that multi-year deal to put their name on the “BlackBerry Field?”  Exactly.

A few days ago I was talking with a friend of mine and said that I was looking to make the switch to an Android phone.  He nearly fell out of his chair, shocked that I would even utter such a blasphemous statement.

Does all this gloom and doom mean the end of RIM?  Certainly not.  RIM isn’t quite in the same position as Nokia’s phone division, may she rest in peace.

Unlike Nokia, RIM still has the BES and the enterprise.  While Nokia manufactured handsets, the BES is integral to the entire BlackBerry experience.  Your communication has to travel across RIM’s servers.  Despite the recent outage they’ve done a damn good job of keeping them running over the years.  RIM can afford to lose money on their handsets because they make it back on the BES and BIS services.  It’s a business model that works.

Maybe, just maybe, the folks over at RIM have begun to recognize this.  Take a look at this post from a few months ago.  RIM plans to integrate Android support into their BES?  Will we finally have full enterprise support for Android?  I sure hope so.

While some have begun to ring the death-knell for RIM, this doesn’t have to end like a Shakespearean tragedy.

It’s crystal ball time.

RIM stops chasing their tail, and the other smartphone manufacturers, and exits the hardware business.  They concentrate on making the BES an integral part of enterprise messaging and security supporting legacy BlackBerry devices, Android, and perhaps even Windows Phone and anything else that comes along.

No need to innovate, no need to try and embrace the consumer market, no need to pay millions to settle patent disputes.  Just sit back and keep those servers humming.

You read it here first.


~ by Marc Hedish on October 22, 2011.

2 Responses to “Alas, poor Yorick!”

  1. OK, but I still love my Crackberry. Typing on the iPhone and the Android makes my eyeballs twitch.

  2. Agreed. I’m not a fan of any of the touch screens be they iPhones, Android based or, for that matter, the Crackberrys. I’ll stick with my thumb board for as long as possible.

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