Opinion: How RIM can save the BlackBerry brand in three easy steps

BlackBerry is a household word synonymous with smartphones, but the brand is headed for extinction unless RIM makes some changes quick.

BlackBerry is an iconic brand. Unfortunately on its current trajectory BlackBerry is going to be an extinct brand in the not too distant future. RIM has a solid foundation, and it can still be salvaged, but RIM needs to stop throwing stuff at the wall just to see what sticks.

A Wall Street Journal report states that RIM is considering "all opportunities" to turn things around and steady its plummeting market share. Instead of pursuing every possibility simultaneously, RIM should scale back and follow this simple three step process to get things back on track:

1. Focus

Earlier this year a RIM executive admitted that he wasn't even sure how many different models of the BlackBerry smartphone RIM is currently producing. It's pretty bad when you don't even know how many devices your own company makes.

I checked the RIM site. I don't know how many BlackBerry smartphones there are globally, but there are 22 different models listed for the United States alone. That's too many. It's a waste of resources for RIM, it's too many variations for wireless providers and developers to keep straight, and it's confusing for individuals trying to choose a smartphone.

Pick three. Offer a cutting edge flagship BlackBerry smartphone, a middle of the road model that has all of the core features people expect from a BlackBerry smartphone, and an economy model for people on very tight budgets.

While you're at it--forget about distractions like licensing out the BlackBerry OS or switching over to developing Android smartphones. Nobody wants to license a dying mobile platform if RIM itself can't figure out how to market it, and RIM needs to stick with the brand that brought it to the dance.

2. Nix the Tablet

RIM tried. I'd say it tried valiantly, but I don't actually believe that. The reality is that the PlayBook tablet is a dud. RIM recently revealed that it had sold just over a million of the tablet since its launch over a year ago. Meanwhile Apple sold over 15 million iPads last quarter, and three million new iPads the first weekend it was launched.

It's not just RIM. HP is no slouch in the world of technology and it pulled the plug on its TouchPad tablet.

RIM may very well be able to compete in the tablet market some day. But, for now refer to step one--Focus. RIM needs to conserve and streamline its resources if it wants to survive to fight another day. The tablet is a distraction.

3. Embrace Mobile Device Management

As smartphones and tablets have invaded the workplace, mobile device management (MDM) has exploded. RIM was doing MDM before the consumerization of IT and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) trends made it cool. It's just that RIM pioneered MDM as a proprietary platform that only manages BlackBerry devices.

With the recent launch of BlackBery Mobile Fusion, though, RIM has expanded the capabilities of BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES)--RIM's mobile device management platform--to incorporate iOS and Android devices as well. RIM has a massive customer base of businesses that already rely on BES, and it can leverage its position to become a de facto leader in the emerging MDM market.

RIM is not dead yet, but if it continues the "try anything" strategy it probably won't be long. These three simple steps will help RIM regain its footing, and enable it to begin the arduous process of restoring the respect and reputation of the BlackBerry brand.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tony Bradley

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?