RIP RIM

David Byrd : Byrd's Eye View
David Byrd
Chief Marketing Officer for ANPI

RIP RIM

Once a darling of Wall Street, RIM has fallen from a market value of $83 billion to $15 billion in just a few years. Moreover, there is no end in sight to their market share loss. Even their hold on corporate America is giving way. For the first time since I have been at Broadvox, an Apple iPhone is now considered acceptable by IT as a company phone. How did a product that became known as the “CrackBerry”, the addictive need to maintain email and phone accessibility at all times, fall to such levels? How did a product that revolutionized the way corporate America and most of the industrialized world conduct business find itself with a foreboding future looking like Palm?

Palm was the PDA to have in 1997. It was standard issue just like a laptop for the business person on the go. Synched with your laptop, you had access to contact information, meeting and event calendar, documents and more. I still have one sitting untouched in my technology challenged box of fallen stars. Palm is not alone in missing a paradigm shift. Other well known examples of high flyers that fell include Nokia, Motorola, Kodiak and Circuit City. In each case, a new entrant satisfied the existing market need and created a thirst for something else.

RIM faces falling revenues, lost market share, layoffs and growing competition. With a stock price down nearly 55% this year alone, Barron’s and other analysts believe they have become a takeover target. After Apple launched the initial iPhone and Google Android, RIM was expected to respond with something at least competitive, if not more interesting. They did neither. Their products look dated or lacking and they seem to have no viable strategy to regain or maintain market share.  

What can we learn from this? Consider the description of a swimming duck, it looks calm and peaceful as it glides across the water but underneath the surface there is a restless paddling. Operating a technology oriented business is very difficult as it requires vigilance, intelligence and business acumen. Business strategy, tactics, and product portfolios must be dynamic. Responsibility and a sense of urgency should be present every day with the purpose of moving things forward.

“In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield.” Warren Buffett.

Rest in Peace Research In Motion.

See you on Monday with another new exciting recipe.

 

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