The new iphone is out and everyone is lining up for the Apple device and marveling at its ability to flip album covers and change functions at the wave of a hand. Useful things like typing are a bit of a problem but did I mention the album flipping thing?
Another person who is unconcerned about the iPhone release, or at least faking it really well, is RIM Co-CEO Jim Balsillie. Interviewed at RIM's Waterloo headquarters this weekend Balsillie said he's not losing sleep over Apple's efforts to upend the wireless market.
Balsillie said he couldn't even confirm whether anyone at RIM's sprawling campus has managed to get their hands on an iPhone. Riiiight and the Leafs will win the Stanley Cup next year. (Or the Pirates the World Series or Derby County the Premiership depending on where you are.)
The whole air of indifference Balsillie is projecting is interesting considering Apple may have sold as many as half a million iPhones in its first weekend. But then RIM are in the habit of adding about a million subscribers every three months and the whole iPhone is going to slow up at some point.
The iPhone doesn’t add a huge amount of functionality, but it does raise the bar on the look and feel of wireless devices. Perhaps more importantly, Apple is being aggressive in the way smart phones are sold and marketed by wresting control of consumer experience from wireless carriers. This should be getting Balsillie’s attention as RIM are going to have to look at their relationships in response.
Balsillie has reason to sleep well though. Last week, RIM blew past analysts' expectations with quarterly results that included a 76 per cent increase in sales to over $1 billion in what was supposed to be a slower time of the year for the company. Stocks soared more than 20 per cent overnight. The following day, several analysts jacked up their 12-month targets and may be forced to do so once again after RIM received approval to sell the BlackBerry in China.
"We're definitely in a leading spot in a hot sector," he says. "I think we accepted the fact a little while ago that we're no longer steering the ship, but aiming it."