RIM and Nokia: Can they survive against Apple and Google?

Moderated by Jason Hiner | June 18, 2012 -- 07:00 GMT (00:00 PDT)

Summary: Canada's Research in Motion and Finland's Nokia once owned significant pieces of the global handset market. What are their prospects now?

Matthew Miller

Matthew Miller




Jason Perlow

Jason Perlow

Best Argument: No

The moderator has delivered a final verdict.

Opening Statements

There's a place for these two

Matthew Miller: In my last Great Debate I argued why I thought Nokia would turn things around compared to RIM and now we are looking to see if both or either can survive given the overwhelming success of Apple and Google. I know it is not a popular opinion, but I still think there is a viable place for both RIM and Nokia to succeed and I would not be surprised to see Apple actually flatten out for a couple of reasons.

Nokia is stumbling more than I thought they would (10,000 upcoming layoffs and major leadership changes are a big deal) and I am a bit concerned about their leadership. RIM now has their leadership figured out and the only real concern I have with them is the ability to get BlackBerry OS 10 out on hardware before the end of the year.

Both can succeed in the mobile space, but "success" also requires definition.

Survival unlikely for either

Jason Perlow:  Once mobile industry titans, RIM and Nokia owned significant pieces of the handset market in North America, the EMEA region and Asia.

But over the past several years, their commanding market lead in smartphones has eroded to single digit levels and given way to much more aggressive competitors -- Apple with its  iOS products and Google with its Android operating system and their legion of Asian OEMs.

What happened? Both RIM and Nokia sat on their laurels with aging technology (BlackBerry OS and Symbian) and allowed "Not invented here" syndrome to pervade their corporate culture.

Nokia scrambled first to compensate by throwing their baby, Symbian, out with the bathwater in favor of a partnership with Microsoft. In the wake of the iPad, RIM bought QNX to create BlackBerry OS 10.

Only Nokia currently has handsets to show for their "Burning Platform" efforts, but like RIM, the company is in immediate danger of financial collapse due to disappointing sales, and both companies have had to trim significant employee headcount and enact other austerity measures just to stay alive.

While both of these companies have assets of potentially strategic value, neither of them are likely to survive as independent entities or even in one piece.



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  • RIM should survive

    While I hope Nokia dies a painful firey death, for throwing their users "under the Microsoft bus"
    Jumpin Jack Flash
    Reply 7 Votes I'm Undecided
    • Nokia has already died

      Nokia has already died, it is now the New Nokia - 30000 employees less, and parts of the business sold off and services closed/winding down. Thanks to Elop, this New Nokia is 100% reliant on Microsoft, so this New Nokia will survive because of Microsoft's market share dominance.
      I hope RIM doesn't sell out to anyone.
      Reply 2 Votes I'm Undecided
      • Nokia fine, RIM RIP

        RIM is already RIP, it has nothing to save it, Nokia does, and I know plenty who have bought back in to Nokia after years without them, including myself thanks to the Windows Phone handshake.
        Reply 4 Votes I'm Undecided
  • Nokia will survive

    The New Nokia will survive because it has sold out to Microsoft. The old Nokia, the pre-Elop-Nokia is gone. I hope RIM can survive without selling out to anyone else. It is also no coincidence that neither Nokia nor RIM is a US company. Nokia has already sold out to a US company, will RIM do so too? If so, there will only 3 mobile OS's by 3 US companies of any significance, iOS, Android, Windows. A change from only just 3 yrs ago.
    Reply 6 Votes I'm Undecided
    • Some of the old Nokia dug am undersea tunnel and escaped to Jolla!

      Maemo/MeeGo is where Nokia was going (as a replacement for Symbian) and where Nokia would have gone if the shill from Microsoft hadn't arrived to burn the corporation to the ground.

      But now, many of the old Maemo/MeeGo folks have set up shop as Jolla and they claim they'll have their first phone out by the end of the year; here's wishing them luck!

      And with regard to the debate, I'm not sure I understand the question: what exactly constitutes survival? I don't believe either company will exist much longer as a free-standing entity, but they'll both survive as captives of some other entities. With RIM, it will probably be an outright acquisition. With Nokia, well, they may just continue to be infiltrated by Microsofties to the point where all the milk is going to Redmond even if Microsoft never outright buys the cow.

      I guess that's a "No".
      Reply 1 Vote I'm Undecided
      • Intel's money

        Nokia should have taken Intel's money. They are desperate for an 'in' to the mobile marketplace*, and they were already a key Nokia partner as they throw their Moblin mobile technology into the Maemo bucket that spawned MeeGo.

        *irony is 10 years ago the top mobile processor was the Intel Xscale ARM, as seen in iPaq's and Axim's across the world, and they flogged it to Marvell to push x86 mobile.
        Reply Vote I'm Undecided
    • I find it strange that....

      both RIM and Nokia are non-US based tech companies who were at the top of their game. Would this happen if they were both American companies? But I also think that Europe and Canada also need to step up and save their baby by BUYING more of said mobile devices. Why the fcuk would you want to be DEPENDENT on US tech companies -- with all the NDAA/SOPA Police State mentality going on by sociopathic US politicians -- when it's economy is in decline?? Better to eat your own dog food. No??
      Reply 1 Vote I'm Undecided
      • Ok....

        If you had any common sense you would know that the US economy is doing better than Europes is right now and you'd also know that Canada and the US are so similar you cant even tell when you leave one and enter the other, its like england and wales... And our politicians arent all crazy
        Jack Patterson
        Reply Vote I'm Undecided
        • And I am for yes...

          I admire both companies
          Jack Patterson
          Reply Vote I'm Undecided
  • Correction:

    The real question is can they and Apple survive against Microsoft?

    Reply Vote I'm Undecided