RIM: Really, the delay in the new BlackBerry 10 OS is a good thing?

RIM: Really, the delay in the new BlackBerry 10 OS is a good thing?

Summary: So let me get this straight: According to the company's CEO, the delay in the new BlackBerry 10 OS, the one that is supposed to turn Research in Motion around, is good for the company?


So let me get this straight: the delay in the new BlackBerry 10 OS, the one that is supposed to turn the company around, is good for the company?

That is what RIM's new CEO, Thorsten Heins, stated at the annual company meeting on Tuesday. In addition to wanting to get the device right, he said that pushing the release date was good because that will mean less competition over the xmas holiday.

At this point in listening to Thorsten Heins speak, I slapped my forehead. There is just so much wrong with what was and was not said. It makes you question that validity of the statements.

First, I don't get how missing the holiday season, and the billions of dollars consumers spend can be a good thing. The reality is that RIM needs cash. Without an influx it will have no way to produce, market and deliver the new device. Never mind that more iPhone and Android devices will have taken what few non-corporate consumers were left to Blackberry.

Second, there was no mention of the sale of the company. No mention of what options JP Morgan may have discovered, or put on the table. No mention of new applications which are sorely lacking for this device. And no mention of what will happen if the device is a non-starter.

It appears to me that RIM is simply buying time.

They need time to get a product in a ready state. Time to get a partner to invest in the 'potential' future. And time to continue to unwind the company. That is what I heard, never mind what was said.

The stock price dropped 5% after the conference ended according to Reuters. The article touted all of RIM's accomplishments, but failed to ask, "what have you done for me lately?"

There is a general consensus that, at this juncture, the only thing that is holding RIM afloat are the corporate users. And according to CNNMoney, “it's not just consumers that are abandoning RIM's QWERTY devices in favor of iPhones and Android smartphones. A growing number of corporate customers are ditching RIM for so-called "bring your own device" programs that let employees use their smartphone of choice at work.”

Vowing to return RIM into a “lean, mean, hunting machine”, are the words of someone who is not quite telling us what is really going on. Only time will tell.

What do you think? Talk Back and Let Me Know.

Topics: BlackBerry, Android, Consumerization, iPhone, Mobile OS

Gery Menegaz

About Gery Menegaz

Gery Menegaz is a Chief Architect for IBM with more than 20 years supporting technologies in the financial, medical, pharmaceutical, insurance, legal and education sectors. My Full-Time Employer is IBM. I write as a freelancer for ZDNet.

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  • Lost in a sea of options

    RIM has always been a friend to the carriers so if the carriers preferred a later launch due a busy fall / holiday time then it was likely a good move.

    RIM would get drowned out from the launch of iPhone 5, Windows 8 and whatever Android device at the moment the carriers want to push.

    It's not like there is a endless supply of consumers that rush to the store to get a smartphone. Smartphone sales are mostly tied to 2yr contract windows. How many are due to upgrade between Sept - Dec is the question. You also have to factor if their a current Blackberry users do they want to switch to another platform. Trending of older model Blackberry users shows yes they did as lets face it OS 5.0 devices were OLD to begin with. But someone on a newer device may wait another month or two and see what RIM has cooked up. If the launch is really Jan we should have a clear picture of the features of BB10 later this year.

    The corporate question is much larger issue and one that will not be decided in the next few months. We still have over 5000 Blackberry devices that have contract dates into 2014 now. We're also not likely rushing to buy BB10 right off the bat. Corporate fleet sales just upgrade enmass due to a new model. That's Apple's thing and consumer based. The corporatre procurement lifecycle is much different.
  • Answered your own question?

    If RIM released there new product the same time as iPhone5, Windows 8 and other Android devices that would be a good thing, in my opinion. At least they are competing. If a persons BlackBerry contract expires around this time and there is no new BlackBerry they my opt for the new competitor products. RIM is big enough and been around for long enough they would not be drowned out from the launch of other competitor products. In my opinion they are delaying to make sure their product is ready. Nothing worse then getting BB10 out only to be so bad it brings the company further down the rabbit hole.
    • BB10 in 2013?

      Thanks for your comment.

      The problem right now for RIM is that they need cash to get the phone out. The longer they take, the more expensive and the less likely that the new phone will make it out at all.

      Gery Menegaz
      • agreed

        I'm right there with you. What is RIM thinking? The most damaging thing in my mind to delaying BBX again is the loss of mind-share. Blackberry is very, very quickly leaving the conversation, even in the enterprise. What company wants to invest resources into a dying platform?
        • No panic yet

          In our shop, we're not panicking yet. With 2,000 devices in the fleet we can't make a switch in anything less than a year. We like the Fusion platform and feel it offers much strategic benefit regardless of what devices are deployed into the corporate environment. We don't consider the platform to be dying, rather it's being reborn.
          Kia Ora IV
    • Not exactly...


      My carrier doesn't restrict upgrading your handset to only at time of contract renewal, your eligible for a handset upgrade after a specific period of time with the original handset.

      By that reasoning if someone wants to stick with RIM they can renew their contract and a couple months later upgrade to the newest RIM handset when it becomes available.

      The only concern is new purchasers, purchasers changing carriers who need a new handset or someone making an out of sequence upgrade. If the new RIM product isn't available one thing for sure, they are not going to be buying one.
    • Risky premse

      Betting the farm on BB10 is one of the biggest gambles ever in the history of technology! There's so much downside if they fail to deliver. Not much upside if they meet their delivery timelines but the market deems it too little, too late.
      Kia Ora IV
  • Always looking at US belly...

    I'm a long time reader but never wrote a comment, in all this time I've made the idea that US readers and journalists look too much at their market like the center of the world.
    At least for what concerns mobile, the US are the exact opposite. In Europe and Asia networks developed to GSM when you were still using ETACS, there are billions of users scattered around the world while you are only 300 millions (including newborns and retired).
    The fact that in US contracts have a long duration etc... in the rest of world carriers don't rule the market, that is your (terrible) exlusive. In the rest of the world you buy the phone you eant in a shop and if you miss the christmas event, you are screwed.....
  • Nero fiddled while RIM burned.

    During the early years of the iPhone, when AT&T has an exclusive, Verizon Wireless leveraged the BlackBerry and the emerging Android market to keep people on their network.

    Android was aggressive and innovative but RIM just rested on its Laurels and waited for the rest of the world to catch-up. Along came ActiveSync and suddenly there was a robust Microsoft alternative to BES and Microsoft invited everyone to come along.

    Dependent upon revenue from BES licenses, RIM stayed put. Little innovation. Poor execution. Too many models on too few carriers. Delay after delay on BB10. When I bought my last (and I think I really mean MY LAST) BlackBerry, my Verizon store had to get the device out of the back - because none were out on the showroom floor. Staff were pushing Android and iPhone hard but would barely talk about the BlackBerry anymore.

    The RIM PlayBook required a paired BlackBerry smartphone to provide e-mail. Prices were as high as the iPad - despite the smaller form-factor. Still no BB10.

    RIM is truly on it's last legs and no amount of talk is going to keep BlackBerry customers from jumping ship as soon as their favorite, long-anticipated 4G smartphone comes out.

    The BB10 has been promised and delayed so many time that I cannot imagine that very many RIM customers will hold out much hope that BB10 will ship soon enough for them.

    I am hoping I can wait for Windows Phone 8. If not, it'll probably be Android. My wife is eyeing the iPhone when her BlackBerry Contract runs out. RIM is not the first company who has fallen by the wayside (to be eaten by the birds) and they won't be the last. Too bad for RIM. It's the price of arrogance.
    M Wagner
  • Rim recent announcements

    First of all..guess what the entire world does not celebrate Christmas and do not time their purchases this way. Secondly, RIM is the hugely popular system in plCes thT perhaps The author has no interest in appealing to. The company admittdely dropped the ball on smArtphone design but their secure email system is the envy of all others. If they get their act together and produce a phone and os tjat works well.flawlessly and can pay developers to make some apps. They will do fine.
    Neil Fiertel
    • Reality Check

      Thanks for your comment, but I disagree. RIM dropped the ball and lost out on customers and dollars by not having a phone ready for the holiday season. And with their manufacturers and partners starting to walk away, the chance that there will be a release in 2013 is really questionable.

      Agree to disagree....
  • RIM caught in a tough marketing position.

    I think there is a real obvious problem RIM found themselves stuck with. And in defence of RIM here, it seems to me it was a problem with no easy answer and no guarantee of a successful outcome on any avenue of solution.

    The problem RIM had was that they got popular and became famous for qwerty keyboard smartphones. I know many many RIM product users who to this day shy away from touch screen phones because they really enjoy the qwerty user experience and when they try out a touch phone it just doesn't feel right they say. I love touch myself.

    RIM was very aware of this and had developed a number of models based on the qwerty keyboard. Now, admittedly, a company like RIM who built numerous models, the obvious answer seemed to be to make a touch screen model. But as it obviously seems to turn out, you have to put a ton of work and effort into a completely new touch screen device to make it a popular user friendly device. RIM just didn't do that. They made an effort, but obviously not a solid enough effort. Apple had a brilliant plan working the way they did. Make one hardware set and it becomes millions of different hardware sets because everyone buys their own apps and everyone has a unique device.

    RIM is a solid company that had the resources and wherewithal to do the work required, but its my suspicion that it was just to damn hard to predict just how much of a paradigm shift RIM really needed to make way back when it would have been the most help. And the paradigm shift that was likely needed was for RIM to rapidly begin shifting away from qwerty design to touch design, but they didn't do it. It was likely what they really needed to do so the necessary amount of attention, and dollars was put into touch screen development so they could get it right. And I would think one can see that given the popularity their qwerty designs , at the time, and even somewhat so today, this would have taken a real leap of faith. Huge leap of faith that it was the right thing to do.

    RIM still faces the problem that while its become apparent that the majority of the world has seen the fantastic utility of "endless user interface" that touch screen provides, many still want that qwerty physical keyboard that RIM is famous for. Its obvious that once the qwerty keyboard is gone, many will weigh their options on what touch screen device they are now forced to buy will be. And its quite likely many will not stay with RIM. It really means RIM has absolutly got to steal some costomers of other brands when their OS10 device comes out.

    Its a horrible maket position to find one self in and makeing the right decisions on how to proceed when an absolute game changer like the iPhone comes along is hard to make. We can certainly see the results when the decisions that are made do not turn out well.
    • Missed the Touchscreen Memo

      Right, I also think that they had the opportunity to get a touchscreen out early, but instead chose to go with a phone where the whole screen depressed - the Storm model. When that did not pan out it was too late and the market had moved on.

      Thanks for your comment.

      Gery Menegaz
  • Why does Apple never get shellacked

    for producing a Model T phone. The biggest mistake RIM are making with BB is launching the touchscreen first, and if RIM (hopefully won't but) go to the wall we'll be looking for a vendor with a keypad - probably some sort of WinMo8 device.
  • Waiting for Uncle Steve

    Methinks its a Freudian slip: his comments are really a genuine whine to Uncle Steve about choosing between WP8 and BB10 as the future. I think he's going public with what's on everyone's mind: will Microsoft bail out (read buy out) RIM?
  • BYOD is RIM's sweet spot

    It's somewhat ironic that as more companies contemplate a BYOD strategy and platform to support it, they're playing right into RIM's sweet spot for mobile device management. RIM's MDM solution Fusion manages iOS and Android devices better than any other management platform out there! When companies consider the alternative infrastructure required to maintain a fleet of disparate devices they'll realize how elegant the RIM solution is. Add in their Balance feature for BB's today and they offer a compelling argument as to why companies should stick with RIM, there's simply nobody out there that can scale and secure as well as them.
    Kia Ora IV
    • Not neccessarily

      Our company is moving to a BYOD as far as corporate phones go. We are switching from BB to iPhones if you stick with a company supplied phone.
      Both myself and my wife have BB 9650s as well as a Playbook. Happy with all but the phones are getting OLD. I've told corporate that I'll keep the BB as long as possible since I have no desire to join the Apple infrastructure.
      Why can't RIM find a CEO with at least half a brain? By his logic if I wanted to open a store and didn't want the competition instead of a popular mall I would place it on a deserted road. Idiocy!
      How long have they been working on OS 10? The Playbook already uses qnx so I just don't understand. There is a fine line between making it perfect and taking way too long.
      I'll probably get a WP instead.
  • fyi

    i don't celebrate or get involved in this no sense commercial CHRISTmas :-).
  • Global Recession

    Last time I checked, there was a global economic downturn going on. Just because crApple and Samsung are making money doesn't mean everyone else will go out of business.

    There is seldom only one "winner". There is room for 3-5 players or more in the mobile space and just because one is at the top, doesn't mean the others fail.
    John Hanks
    • At the top are...

      Android and iPhone are up there in user base. These are the real competitors to RIM. And only Microsoft seems to have a new device in the works that could take away some market share.

      Thanks for the comment.

      Gery Menegaz