It wasn’t going to be easy to get millions of CrackBerry users to eat their fruits and vegetables, but Apple has succeeded. Not only has the Apple iPhone successfully dominated RIM’s BlackBerry in the U.S., they are now winning on RIM’s home turf, Canada. According to IDC and Bloomberg, after beginning with a lead of five to one when the iPhone debuted, the iPhone out shipped the BlackBerry last year 2.85 million to 2.08 million. RIM’s revenues in Canada and the U.S. have fallen 23% and 45% respectively. Global sales in the fourth quarter of 2011 may have dropped as much as 18%. This is the result of an accumulation of errors by RIM and a truly innovative product by Apple. Welcome to the world of tomorrow.
RIM’s CEO, Thorsten Heins, speaks positively of the coming BlackBerry 10 devices due out this year but I suspect he knows the futility of the effort. They are now on the sidelines in the battle for smart phone supremacy. When we order phones now at Broadvox, employees routinely select the iPhone even though they must subsidize the higher cost. I, too, will probably abandon my BlackBerry Torch for either the iPhone or an Android device sometime this year.
The fortunes of RIM are also driving decisions regarding the direction of Mobile Unified Communications. No longer is BBOS on the mandatory list of initial application interoperability requirements. Android, iOS and Windows 8 are supplanting it with most third party innovators. While RIM’s success in emerging markets and Latin America will allow it to continue, if application developers abandon the platform, then it will diminish as a viable choice for consumers and, by extension, employees. IT departments can continue to select BBOS devices as the preferred choice of the company but employees are demanding the ability to use the feature rich, innovative and fun tools represented by the iPhone, iPad and Android driven devices.
We, in the IP community, cannot ignore this transformation in the way mobile devices are desired and utilized. The decisions we make regarding ancillary applications, hardware and software platforms and ultimately our business strategies, depend upon marching to the beat of the right drummers.
See you on Monday, with a newer version of Pasta Carbonara!