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|The Clock is Ticking on the Blackberry Maker|
Statistics and surveys conducted up to December 2011 have revealed the ups and downs of RIM in terms of market shares, subscribers and profits. For example, according to a comScore survey, RIM’s share of US smartphone subscribers fell to 16.6% at the end of November from 19.7% at the end of August.
Worries about the company’s future were further strengthened when RIM’s co- chiefs, Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, decided to slash their annual pay to a dollar each and cut down jobs as the company’s stock prices and earnings were not as expected. RIM also lowered its outlook for 2012 when it revealed that its expected earnings per share for fiscal 2012 would be between $5.25 and $6.00, sharply less than the $7.50 forecast previously. On and on, cut downs, pay slashes, delays in product releases, decrease in market shares and subscribers, obviously looking at the Blackberry maker from this angle, the company seems to be suffering badly and threatened with irrelevance. However, nothing is certain and the future remains hazy.
From a different perspective, looking at these slashes, losses, delays and cut downs, RIM could be hiding a secret agenda as it definitely needs to strike back to get into the game once again. Plans could be woven as its co-chiefs, who do not seem as worried as the rest of the world, vowed to “to leave no stone unturned” when implementing new changes. Through ramped up marketing, new product releases with which “your jaw will drop" as per Balsillie and internal changes, RIM could be marking its route back into the battle field especially that it has not been affected by accusations, and its co-chiefs have made it known that they are more interested in long run profits rather than short term successful hit backs.
On top of RIM’s new releases list are the Blackberry Mobile Fusion and Blackberry 10 chipset. Even though the release of the products is taking so long, RIM seems to be confident of what they are doing when they declared that BlackBerry 10 devices will not be launched until they are positive that this new chipset architecture would deliver the world class user experience customers are expecting. With the Blackberry Mobile fusion, RIM would have marked its entry into the multi-platform device management marketplace. The new smartphone server promises to be competitive with other manufacturer’s smartphones and tablets. With this announcement, RIM’s shares climbed 7.5%.
The rise and fall is inescapable as long as RIM seems to have always been oscillating. Failing to impress users in 2011, the PlayBook rendered RIM’s entry into the tablet game rocky and unstable, a thing, which resulted not only in low sales, but cancelled partnerships and zero developer interest as well. On the phone front, BlackBerry 7 was not up to users’ expectations as it failed to keep up with current-generation Android or iOS devices. With the QNX OS, RIM hopes to create a next-generation operating system to replace the dead-end system in the current product line. The promise and the potential still exist, but it all depends on how quickly RIM can get QNX-powered components on the market and how well RIM can build out its basic devices software. The first QNX-based RIM phone is expected to arrive in the first quarter of 2012.
It is worth mentioning that BlackBerry services went down on Monday October 10th across several networks in Middle East as well as the rest of the world. According to the Telegraph, the glitch was blamed on a server fault at BlackBerry manufacturer Research in Motion (RIM). The fault affected email, messaging services and web browsing on the smartphones. Millions of BlackBerry users worldwide have been affected by a major technical fault that left them without any access to emails, internet and the BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) on their handheld devices.
Finally, in the fast-moving mobile world, time is money, and the clock is ticking on RIM. Will all the delays pull the company back up to the forefront of competition, or are these delays mere veils to cover failure? 2012 will be critical for RIM as it will either bring the company’s demise or triumph.