Probably most famous for being the company behind the BlackBerry line of smart devices, Research in Motion paved the way for the smart phones we have today. Although founded in 1984 it wasn’t until 2003 that they released their first smart phone, the BlackBerry 5810, before which RIM developed two-way pagers on Mobitex’s mobile network.
For years they released smart devices and grew to enormous heights until they reached their peak in 2008. RIM’s market share and stock began to decline, their market cap went from over U$83 Billion to under U$8 Billion in a matter of three years, with it declining 77% during 2011. The main reason behind the decline was that their hardware and software couldn’t compete with the likes of Android and iOS devices, pretty much the same as Nokia with Symbian.
After months of rumours and speculation, RIM finally announced that Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie would step down as co-CEOs and Thorsten Heins would take over their ‘destructive’ reign, but analysts are still speculative, doubting that it would make any impact on their current predicament, believing that a sale of the ageing giant is imminent and the only question that remains is, who’s the highest bidder?
Competition isn’t RIM’s main concern; lack of innovation is. None of their current line of devices inspire that ‘aha’ moment. Their only attractions are the BlackBerry Internet Service and BlackBerry Messenger. They’ve been recycling the same design over and over for years and they don’t have any affordable devices. Their next operating system; BlackBerry 10 OS, is still months away and it seems as if even tougher times are ahead, but their death may be greatly exaggerated.
RIM still has a lot of valuable assets including their data and email services and a large patent portfolio, making it a prime target for a takeover, which has been the subject of rumors for quite a few months and may be the only option left if they continue down their current path. The solution to their problems though, seem to be easy; price competitively, freshen the UI up a bit and stop making the phone’s layout such an eyesore.
Interesting and crucial times ahead, and we’ll keep you updated !