RIM is in a world of hurt at the moment. The BlackBerry manufacturer is losing market share, losing money and losing its competitive edge. Here are five ways the company can help turn around its fortunes and regain its position as a world-leading technology brand.
1. Ditch the Playbook
It’s a nice product. It looks good and has an incredible multitasking implementation. But that hasn’t stopped the Playbook from being a fundamental disaster. The fact that even now, months after its launch, it still lacks the basic function of a dedicated email client for webmail just shows how incredibly out of touch the powers at RIM have become. If BlackBerry wants to turn its fortunes around, it needs to focus on what it’s good at and ditch its confused plays into the tablet market. Kill the Playbook, RIM.
2. Focus on intelligent handsets
It’s been a little while since RIM has wowed us with an impressive handset release. Worse still is that every recent release seems to feature specs that were old on Android and iOS phones six months ago. It’s time for RIM to invest heavily in design and come up with something both new and exciting. But more importantly than that is to release a marquee handset that, hands down, beats all other smartphones on the market. It’s time to get the tech commentators of the world excited by a BlackBerry product again.
3. Go Android
RIM – like Apple – is one of the only smartphone players that does both software and hardware. And while that has historically worked for the company, more and more it’s becoming a ball and chain holding RIM back. The Canadian smartphone maker should take the opportunity now to switch from QNX to Android.
Consider this: Android now is a scary proposition for enterprise given its perceived lack of security. If RIM can create its BES solution for Android, locking down the security side of the handset in a way similar to its virtualisation software for Windows Mobile a few years ago, it could quickly become a major player in the Android space. And rather than licensing the technology out to other hardware manufacturers, locking it into their own handsets would give them a huge competitive advantage over other Android players. It would also save them a fortune in software development.
4. Fresh blood
It came out last week that RIM CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis both only earned a $1 year salary. That shouldn’t be enough to save them. The company has been in a downward spiral for a couple of years now, and with every month these two are at the helm, the company is getting closer to the drain. It’s time for some fresh blood, fresh ideas and fresh faces – whether it’s an internal promotion or finding someone from outside the company is up to shareholders, but it’s clear that something different is needed for BlackBerry to thrive again.
5. Sell, sell, sell
If all else fails, RIM could sell out. I’m sure Microsoft would be more than willing to part with a huge chunk of cash for the smarts that has made BlackBerry successful.