Written exclusively for Berryfication.com by Greg Wesson (@lombaki)
If you’re in the tech world at all, you’ve heard it already. During their 4th Quarter earnings call, Research in Motion (RIM) pulled the plug on the BlackBerry consumer market to focus solely on enterprise and they are going to be sold within the year. That, and I’ve got some Gulf Coast property to sell you in North Dakota.
As always, small one-liners have been taken out of a mouth, put on a taffy puller, and stretched beyond recognition. To quote a semi-famous speaker, “Let me be clear….” BlackBerry, a smartphone making company owned by Research in Motion, is not for sale. It is not dropping the consumer market like it’s hot (even though the consumer market is hot). What BlackBerry and RIM are doing is finally turning the wheel on the ship. And the question everyone is asking is, Is it too late? Did they already hit the iceberg? Are there enough lifeboats this time? Will Jack still die, even though he’s in 3D?! Wait… that’s not right…
Here are the facts. Jim Balsillie has left the building. After 20 years of helping BlackBerry (ok, maybe 15 years of actually helping), he’s off to pursue other interests. The man helped build a major force in the tech world. He has played his part and can leave the stage with his head held high, even if he maybe should have exited a bit earlier. But Thorsten Heins has stepped up to the plate in a big way.
With BBOS on the outs and QNX and BB10 on the way in, Dan Dodge of QNX is now in control of software. Makes sense, right, since everything is going that way platform-wise. We’ve heard Dan speak before and he does very well. He’s excited for QNX to be part of RIM and they have some serious power for an OS. Rumors still abound, but we should have a better idea after BlackBerry World, which our own resident Ryan (@Rezn) will be attending this year. Add in TAT to the mix and you’ve got a powerful kernel with an incredible UI. I can hardly wait to see Cascades in full effect!
The Chief Operations Officer of Global Operations, Jim Rowan, has also left the company. Unfortunately, Global Operations seemed to be going pretty well, so it’ll be interesting to see how that turns out. What’s glaringly missing is a Chief Marketing Officer. Heins says the search in going well. I say, YOU STILL DON’T HAVE A CMO! Let’s face it, marketing has not been a RIM or BlackBerry strong point. I’m the last of my friends that still owns a Berry. That’s ugly, but it’s true. My BBM contacts are all made from websites like this one and people I follow on Twitter. Like the Muppets prior to The Muppets, there is a false belief penetrating the US that BlackBerry just isn’t relevant anymore. It’s a sad state.
But what’s this? RIMM stock is up?? 7% today?? Why is stock up if they’re bailing on consumers? For several reasons. 1) The management changes, which were beyond noticeable in the straight forward talk put forth by Thorsten Heins. 2) The word Partnerships. RIM is looking to boost itself as it did by buying QNX, TAT, Gist, etc. It’s looking to partner with someone. For what? Handsets? Ecosystem? OS Licensing? We’re not sure, but one thing is: Partnering is on the table and can only be good for RIM. The rumors currently circulate around Samsung for good reason. With Motorola being held by Google, with Nokia embedding themselves with MicroSoft, and with the comatose position of WebOS, RIM is left being the only stag guy at the party except Apple. And RIM is no Apple. Samsung, on the other hand, might be afraid to lose Android rights to Googorola. They’ll continue to make parts for Apple. They’re in no danger is the partnership fails (there’s always WebOS). It would make a lot of sense.
A management shakeup. Stock is up. Consumer market is still a go. The bank account holds $2.1 Billion. They added over 2 Million subscribers. BlackBerry World, which is just over a month away, will hold our first glimpse of BB10. True, the next two Quarters could still be uglier yet, but past that darkest part of the night is the dawn. The awakening. The rising of the Phoenix. Are you ready to go back to Titanic? Oh, dang it, I did it again….
#RimpireStrikesBack #BeBold #TeamBlackBerry #BlackBerrySquadron