Up until last week, Research In Motion was up 99.97 per cent of the time. The three days outage early in the month wasn’t a complete disaster in itself. The problem is as much about a wider narrative around BlackBerry makers Research In Motion (RIM):
- Shipments have declined in European markets
- The co-CEOs have made some media gaffs
- The PlayBook could have gone better
- The company has been in hot water with countries like India and the UK over the security of BlackBerry devices hindering national security | law-and-order issues
I don’t know how Research In Motion are doing in addressing their business issues, but the media take on the company is overwhelmingly negative and it takes a good while to turn that around. All of this is likely to have shaken the faith of some customers of RIM.
On the low-end of the market of consumers and smaller or less security-orientated businesses; RIM competes for both individual and corporate purchases with Android phones, iPhones and Windows Phone-based devices. The compelling reason for RIM here is likely to be legacy IT policies, loyal existing customers, email addicts who prefer a keyboard and people whose social circle revolves around BBM. The BBM contingent are interesting since the user ID is not based on their own identity but is attached to the hardware; providing a disincentive to upgrade to the latest and greatest model.
For higher security requirements like governments, corporate law firms and investment bankers there are fewer options for the kind of security features that RIM can provide. Probably the best option is the SiMKo 2 infrastructure that T-Systems; the IT services arm of Deutsche Telekom originally developed for the German government. The so-called Merkel phone is a HTC phone with SiMKo 2 software and connects to special switches and software providing a secure connection.
It will be interesting to see if T-Systems and and Microsoft manage to capitalise on RIM’s problems.