Research in Motion, the company that once made the BlackBerry Smartphone a global sensation, has had one of the roughest rides in the world’s technology industry over recent years. While watching the likes of Apple and thousands of devices running Google’s Android OS eat away at their once infallible prowess, the Canadian company’s share of the market has plummet from a 21% high in 2009 to a frankly depressing 2012 low of 5%.
In addition, millions of once-loyal BlackBerry-followers have been straying for pastures new month in and month out, as the company consistently failed to deliver anything close to the groundbreaking specs and features of its biggest rivals.
As of now, RIM has invested all of its remaining eggs in one rather sizeable basket – namely the all-new BlackBerry 10 mobile OS and Smartphone range destined to land in early 2013. Expectations are certainly high, with early previews and leaks indicating that BlackBerry 10 will indeed represent the platform and the device range RIM’s supporters have for years now been waiting for.
Unfortunately however, regardless of the specs, features and superb functionality the BlackBerry 10 project delivers, it could prove that a simple matter of timing ends up being the final nail in RIM’s coffin.
First and foremost comes the unfortunate fact for RIM that they are far from on their own in the battle to secure the coveted third-place position in mobile platform rankings – Microsoft is to launch Windows Phone 8 in a matter of weeks. With little to no chance of either scratching the surface of Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android market shares, third-place really is as good as gold.
It could eventually come to pass that RIM sealed its own fate in terms of BlackBerry 10’s chances of success much earlier this year, when the project was repeatedly pushed back to eventually rest in early 2013. As such, there is now literally zero chance of RIM playing any kind of role in this year’s Christmas sales period, during which up to a third of all the year’s Smartphone sales are made – almost 150 million having been recorded last year in Q4. This will in turn give Microsoft all the time it needs to rake in millions of Windows Phone 8 sales, market the new OS to billions the world over and essentially contribute to much of the planet forgetting that RIM even exists.
In addition, RIM’s most secure market of all has always been that of the corporate world, where BlackBerry Smartphones have in many regions remained firm favorites. However, as the vast majority of business environments are already based around Microsoft Windows ecosystems, there is every likelihood that wide-scale Windows Phone 8 adoption across the corporate world will further RIM’s uphill struggle.
The fight Is at present looking like a David and Goliath run-in for the mobile tech world, as RIM is gearing up to face-off with a global superpower with upwards of $63 billion in cash reserves to play with. As such, while Microsoft has all the time in the world to test the water with Windows Phone 8, try out as many strategies as desired and tweak its future roadmap accordingly, ailing RIM literally has all its eggs one basket and a single remaining chance of refloating the sinking BlackBerry name.