RIM India puts a brave face, future still unsettling

RIM India puts a brave face, future still unsettling

Summary: RIM India's MD quits, offers auto-interception of communication over BlackBerry Messenger while planning to expand into tier II and III cities. They've got major hurdles and little vision on tackling them.

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TOPICS: Hardware, Servers
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RIM is going through some tough times. The company's products though popular aren't getting positive reviews. BlackBerry is being clobbered by Apple and Android; to make matters worse, Microsoft's Windows Phone is being considered as the third mobile ecosystem. Speculations and suggestions of RIM being bought keep surfacing frequently. With a brave face RIM introduced their tablet--the PlayBook. A failure in the market, RIM hopes to try again with a successor.

RIM's problems are being compounded by executives jumping ship. In recent weeks the company has lost two key individuals. Saudi Arabia, UAE and India have threatened banning BlackBerry services if RIM did not allow the respective governments access to encrypted communication. For RIM, providing secure and private communication for corporates while helping state governments against security threats, is a huge challenge. Trying to hold ground against governments demanding access into secure communication over BlackBerry services, RIM's head of government relations, Robert Crow left the company. In India, RIM decided to let the government authorities access to communication over BlackBerry messenger. Last week, in an update to their efforts on working with authorities, RIM said they've developed a system that will let agencies auto-intercept BlackBerry Messenger. The company said they are awaiting feedback from the government. Explaining further, RIM said that the government authorities have stepped down from their initial demands of encryption keys to secure email over RIM's servers. The change in stance is due to assurance from RIM's client that they will monitor and decode emails from potential rogue employees. In a statement to The Economic Times, director for enterprise sales in India, Sunil Lalvani said, "There is no deadline from the government's side to allow mandatory surveillance of BlackBerry's corporate email service. Companies using RIM's encrypted communication services have assured the home ministry they will share corporate emails of rogue employees in readable format if the security agency making the request has legal authorization, as in a warrant."

The second key RIM executive to quit was the Managing Director for their India operations. Based on reports, Frenny Bawa was influential in RIM's operations within Middle East, Africa and India. A RIM spokesperson in a statement said, "This is to confirm that Frenny Bawa — RIM’s Managing Director for India — is leaving RIM in order to pursue other interests. We appreciate Frenny’s past contributions to RIM’s growth and we wish her all the best." In the meantime, RIM has announced Urpo Karjalainen, senior VP for Greater China, Australia, New Zealand and India will be heading RIM's India operations. BlackBerry Messenger though popular won't last as the USP with growth of iMessage and services like Whatsapp. Realizing the stiff competition, RIM India is planning to follow Nokia deeper into India. Sunil Lalwani while talking to the press said they are planning to expand to tap the consumer (non-enterprise) market in India's tier II and III cities while continuing focus on the enterprise market. This is Nokia's bastion. RIM's lineup of handsets may attract some users but the appeal of smartphones and features offered by Android OEMs will be a tough challenge. Even for Nokia, Android is a serious threat. Not many have hopes with RIM's global plans. The company is expected to launch their BBX phones soon. The handsets are expected to compete with Samsung, HTC, Apple and everyone else. And that in many ways is RIM's problem. They are trying to be the Apple of the enterprise--their own hardware and software. Unfortunately for RIM, their hardware & software both suck compared to competition.

Perhaps RIM should license Windows Phone 7, like Nokia. The company can have Windows 8 on their tablets. unique to RIM features like BlackBerry Messenger and RIM's corporate email can give them a fighting chance as a hardware OEM.

Topics: Hardware, Servers

Manan Kakkar

About Manan Kakkar

Telecommunication engineer with a keen interest in end-user technology and a News junkie, I share my thoughts while preparing for my Master's in Information Management.

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16 comments
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  • RE: RIM India puts a brave face, future still unsettling

    BBX does not 'suck'... it's not even here yet..and PlayBook OS is slick and powerful. BB 7.0 devices are fast.... I think you're referring to last generation BlackBerry products.
    techman31
  • RE: RIM India puts a brave face, future still unsettling

    another inane blog about RIM, pathetic
    HabsSuck
  • RE: RIM India puts a brave face, future still unsettling

    Common Manan Kakkar, dont just follow your US masters briefs.. Write something original
    GraXY
  • The Third Ecosystem Is Not Windows Phone

    Guess what else is outselling Windows Phone? Samsung Bada!
    ldo17
    • RE: RIM India puts a brave face, future still unsettling

      @ldo17
      Guess what else is outselling Chromebooks? Windows Phone!
      Martijn2
      • RE: RIM India puts a brave face, future still unsettling

        @Martijn2 : Last I heard, Chromebook was *not* a phone. Why are you comparing apples to oranges?
        Lord_of_the_Singhs
      • RE: RIM India puts a brave face, future still unsettling

        But people happily compare Windows (desktop) with "linux" Android market share to say that Linux is doing better than Windows.
        Martijn2
  • Blackberry has rocketing growth in India ...

    This article reeks of an Apple fanboy bias, takes a bunch of speculation and rumor and spins it.

    RIM has a major advantage over Apple in India .. price. You failed to mention the cost difference as well that Blackberry outsells Apple in India something like 8 to 1 last I read. Can RIM sustain that growth forever? No.

    iMessage is not even proven nor does any of the mentioned solutions have close to the features that BBM provides.

    Unsure what the Apple of the enterprise comment refers to? RIM is the enterprise and they still provide the gold standard for MDM and corporate features. Does iPhone connect to your PBX? Can you do half the lock down on any other device? RIM's enterprise stack is best in class bar none. Where is falls is matching consumer features and the OS 7 devices are at least matching the internet experience. RIM is improving their developer tools and incentives. Outside of Apple who else controls the whole stack? RIM takes it even further and controls the pipe they communicate on and secures it. No one else has that which is why you don't see anyone else needing to meet special government controls to supervise their citizens.

    Last I knew executives change companies all the time. It's business. They further their careers and do what's best for them. We don't know any of the reasons they leave outside of a canned press release.

    As bad as RIM's past year has been it's nothing compared to Windows Phone 7, Microsoft now has less then 1% market share. RIM still have what 19 - 20%? RIM is closing in on 100 million users. Nothing to sneeze at.

    I don't expect them to be #1 in the future or even #2, they will have a seat at the table as they provide a solution that works for millions of people and companies. Their BBX devices will be comparable spec wise but I question how much does one need in a PHONE? We're approaching quad core with 1gb ram? Hardly a phone anymore. Surprising iPhone and Android devices SUCK at being a phone and being a communication device. I can always tell when I'm on a conference call with an iPhone user it turns into a "what .. can't hear you ... " and eventually they lose their signal and need to call back in. Yeah that's professional.
    MobileAdmin
    • RE: RIM India puts a brave face, future still unsettling

      @MobileAdmin a) This post wasn't comparing RIM's BlacbkBerry to Apple iPhone. For RIM to offer a phone that can compete with Android while take on Nokia's strong distribution and brand is only a dream for RIM given their global mess.
      Manan Kakkar
      • RE: RIM India puts a brave face, future still unsettling

        @Manan Kakkar

        The only mess has at the moment is in the US. They are selling devices globally. The curve is very popular and a top 10 selling device for years now. Blackberry the brand is still relevant with consumers, wheres its fallen is tech blogs that decry their death every year.

        The last quarter (with zero new products for almost a year) they still made what 4 billion on sales of 12 million devices? Lets see how OS7 devices have impacted their next quarter
        MobileAdmin
    • RE: RIM India puts a brave face, future still unsettling

      @MobileAdmin Yeahg, right. And anyone that's read your posts, knows for a fact you hate everything Apple. Hmmn. Just like toddyfoddy, or whatever is his name. Your statement " can always tell when I'm on a conference call with an iPhone user it turns into a "what .. can't hear you ... " and eventually they lose their signal and need to call back in. Yeah that's professional." is a dead give away.

      My kid's got an Iphone, since they went to Verizon, and he use to be a huge Droid fan. So, since all your posts are always full of hatred towards Apple, you loose all credibility..Nice try though...
      T-Wrench
  • RE: RIM India puts a brave face, future still unsettling

    It is silly to suggest that RIM sell Windows 7 phones. RIM is a proud company and once a leader. It is like asking MS to sell Android powered phones. It is better for RIM to sell itself to MS than die a slow death under MS embrace.
    Van Der
  • RE: RIM India puts a brave face, future still unsettling

    Technology is very important in my life because everything becomes easier with technology. A computer we can do research on the computer instead of going to the library. Now there are mp3 players which dont need cds you can just put the songs into the memory.- http://www.prweb.com/releases/2011/8/prweb8725432.htm
    louren143
  • RE: RIM India puts a brave face, future still unsettling

    What do you expect from a Canadian company?
    ubangeee
  • RE: RIM India puts a brave face, future still unsettling

    Ya know with millions of people over there starving in dire poverty, they're worried about this?
    ScorpioBlue
  • RE: RIM India puts a brave face, future still unsettling

    Ha... Which of these statements is true?

    "Blackberry messenger is secure communication platform"

    "RIM will let XYZ Government intercept messenger communication"

    Secure platform? Joke..
    danbi