RIM: A Floor Wax Or A Dessert Topping?
There was that great Saturday Night Live commercial spoof for Shimmer Floor Wax:
Dan Aykroyd: New Shimmer is a floor wax!
Gilda Radner: No, new Shimmer is a dessert topping!
In the end, it was both. “New Shimmer, for the greatest shine you ever tasted!”
A recent announcement about the debut of RIM’s iPad Challenger made me think about just how much RIM is falling behind with their mobile devices and whether they are even focusing on the right business. Are they a device company or are they a mobile infrastructure company?
It also reminded me of some recent tweets by Nova Spivack on The New Twitter design:
Can’t you say the same thing about RIM? Why are they in the device business? Aren’t they really an infrastructure company?
Back in January I wrote a blog iPhone Sits on the Cusp of Consumer and Enterprise where I talked about how RIM still had a monopoly on enterprise mobile. Since that time I have seen great strides by other vendors in making a compelling case for Blackberry alternatives.
As a long-time Blackberry user (I am on my 4th, a Blackberry Tour) I have sat and watched the world pass me by: Apple, Motorola, HTC have all come up with very tempting mobile devices. But I stuck with my Blackberry because it was an “enterprise” device.
Meanwhile, RIM has tried to keep up with the “consumer” devices. The Storm was so bad it was immediately followed by the Storm II – not much better. Now we’ve got the Torch. Jury is out but it doesn’t look good.
Why is RIM the darling of the enterprise? It’s not because they have the best devices. It’s because they have an architecture and infrastructure that appeals to the IT department. They give IT what they want most: security and control.
In a global climate of specialization and intense competition I constantly urge businesses to focus on their strengths to remain competitive. RIM’s message delivery and application management system is still the heart of their value proposition. They would do well to leave the devices to those who clearly have a better handle on them and focus on what they do best.