Research In Motion, rear view mirrors, beer goggles and a reality check

BlackBerry in the Rear View Mirror
By Chris Umiastowski on 1 Jun 2012 10:28 am EDT

When the CrackBerry team recorded its latest podcast this week we spent quite a bit of time talking about the awkward position that RIM is in.

When tech companies go through major transitions, we see a lot of negative headlines. This has happened to every single major technology company that has ever lost market share during a major market shift. But, of course, not all of these companies die, or are broken up, or whatever. Some actually go on to recreate excellence. There's no better example of this than Apple.

By their nature, financial news is reflective of the past. This includes quarterly reports, layoffs, inventory write downs, and you can extend it to non-financial stuff like market share data.

This means that whenever we see a headline about RIM that is negative, pertaining to financials or market share, it will ALWAYS be negative so long as the company is still going through its transition.

On the flip-side of news that looks backwards, we have everything else that looks forwards. You can't exactly call this "news" because it's not based on fact. It's based on opinion, extrapolation, analysis, expert discussions, and so forth.

People who are looking at a company like Research In Motion and analyzing the future can't get caught up too much in the past. The past does not help you understand the future except to get a handle on how the company got into its sticky situation. But with RIM, that's pretty obvious. No point in beating a dead horse. Question is ... where is RIM heading from here?

The point of this article is really just to encourage all of you to begin to notice what kind of stories you're reading. Are you reading something that tells the story from the perspective of the rear view mirror? If so, it's not very useful.

We need to look at what's happening from the driver's seat, and from the conditions of the road ahead. That's really all that matters. For RIM, we need to think about:

  • The progress on BlackBerry 10 and interest from developers
  • RIM's ability to tell a unique story to its audience (marketing)
  • Carrier interest in supporting the new platform
  • Market pricing for smartphones, and RIM's ability to earn a margin
  • Success in various verticals (enterprise, automotive, consumer, etc)

Finally, I'll point out that there is realistic analysis and there are beer googles. Obviously when you look at the collective views of people on a fan site such as CrackBerry, you're more at risk of sporting a powerful pair of reality-distorting beer goggles.

In my opinion, the best way to avoid this is to completely forget about your own, personal views about a product. BlackBerry (or any tech product) is not made for YOU specifically (or me). Products are made for a large audience who, on average, may or may not share your specific opinions, tastes, and values.

So forget about what you think, personally. Focus on what you observe out there in the real market. Look forward and analyze what is actually happening rather than dwelling on what has already transpired.

And the next time you read about financial news, say to yourself, "Ok, so that's what happened in the past. What does it mean to the future?"

Reader comments

Research In Motion, rear view mirrors, beer goggles and a reality check


The biggest problem with software packages that assist in or even perform stock trading is that they base their calculations mostly (or even entirely) on past data. Given that many people trade stocks using these packages, the stock price is probably not a very good indication of the health of a company in transition.

Actually, a stock price is a very good indication of the health of a company. Especially future health of the company.

Remember, that markets are foward looking.


If you look at the chart of RIMM, it started it's descent in February/March of 2011 and it didn't breakdown until about May/June 2011. From that point it has been making new lows after new lows. What does this mean? And how are markets forward looking?

2011 is where we started to see that margins were heading lower. This is also when RIM launched the PlayBook, into a market 'the tablet' market that was still in it's infancy stages; driven by Apple and the iPad. This also when the break down started occuring in the stock price. This is NOT based on historical data at all, but future perceptions of growth and hence earnings. Since then we have seen four terrible quarters of out RIM, the last quarter was a net income loss (unadjusted) and now we are also going to have a net income loss in Q1 FY 2013. Market's trade on future earnings growth. Therefore, it is correct to say that the market was CORRECT back in 2011.


This is a correct statement, that has nothing to do with past history of the stock. It is all based on the future, future earnings, future growth.

Currently the stock is making new 52wk lows, therefore the market is again pricing in lower earnings from RIM. And rightfully so, we are going to see net income loss this quarter, and most likely next quarter. Remember, that BB OS 10 will not launch until September/October.


What does this mean? Well, RIM's FY 2013 Q2 ends September 1st, 2012. If they launch new devices end of Sept or beginning of Oct that means they will not start to receive sales revenue until 30 days if not more after that. FY 2013 Q3 ends December 1st, therefore they will have only have partial sales revenue coming in from BB OS 10 based devices. It is not going to be until FY 2013 Q4 which ends March 2nd, 2013 until they have a full quarter of sales revenue from BB OS 10 devices.

This means that the market is pricing in two or even three more quarters of lower earnings until they have a full quarter of earnings from BB OS 10 devices in FY 2103 Q4.

In summary, the stock price is a future indicator of earnings for the company. And clearly, we have some not so great quarters a head of us still.


If you would like to hear more of my analysis of RIM, please follow me on Twitter (@SurrealCivic)

i work for a very large hard drive manufacturer. 2 years ago our stock was just under $3.00 at its lowest. there were all kinds of rumors of buyouts and take overs and all the same crap RIM is getting right now.

today, our stock is at $30 and we were never bought out or went out of business.

just like RIM, we have made acquisitions in that time to help position ourselves in the technology field. our company recently purchased controlling interest in another hard drive company.

the company i work for has bounced back from its issues, what i don't understand is why everyone believes RIM won't do the same.

Apple was bailed out and has reversed their fortunes from near failure. there are so many examples of companies coming back, what makes this any different?

It is no different. Tragedies always make better story lines than happy endings. Like yours. I kinda stopped reading when you stated it's shares bounced back up to $30 from $3.

However, to quickly dismiss public opinion about RIM would be silly. Don't forget Palm. They were bought over and had millions injected by HP, but look how did that turn out.

At this point, it could go either way. What I'd say is that if RIM fails to innovated with BB10, they're in fkn trouble. Their BB OS appearance hasn't changed from BB OS 4 till now. So I hope BB 10 saves the day. (Or rather QNX saves the day)

I'm sick of people saying "apple was almost dead and they came back, how is this different". Well the the fact is most companies facing death end up dieing. How is this different from that majority?

I'm sick of people saying "apple was almost dead and they came back, how is this different". Well the the fact is most companies facing death end up dieing. How is this different from that majority?

I'm sick of people saying "apple was almost dead and they came back, how is this different". Well the the fact is most companies facing death end up dieing. How is this different from that majority?

well then, get sick. because apple was almost dead until a competitor decided to invest in them and steve jobs decided to step up. who knows what wouldve happened to apple if MS decided to not to invest in them. apple couldve been left for dead. so RIM is almost in the same situation with the exception of a competitor not investing in them. a little too late?? maybe. RIM is a dead cow, not yet. so how about sit back, relax, take a breather and see what happens with RIM.

They would have died a slow and painful death and the world would be 1000% different.

So then who is going to give RIM this bailout? No one in their right mind, because no one see's any potential or value in it.

that is the different.

Apple had potential to be great.
RIM has no potential left.

Take BBM out, sell the technology to Google, and retire.

You say apple had value with the benefit of hindsight. I bet you yourself would not have invested in apple back then. The same way u r not able to see value in RIM today.

Heh, how about you sell your house and everything you own to some poor soul and live poor? Then you'll know what it feels like. Oh, you didn't like that? Oh well, time to start thinking positive.

YOU may not see potential in RIM but apparently the companies acquired by RIM did. You actually think a company decides to get acquired by another company just for $$$ sense? None of these companies acquired by RIM were on the brink of bankrupcy or going the down the drain. Nor were they forced to be acquired. So for people to say, RIM has no potential need to think outside what the mainstream thinks.

MS decided to invest in apple to cross platform applications, and of course there was a mutual negotiations and personal friendship between job and gates. even if there were some lawsuits that couldve intervine, apple wouldve just lost more money on the long run. Gates couldve just said, screw you and let Apple dwindle away.

It's okay if no one wants to invest in RIM in that manner. RIM can survive for the time being. I don't see Apple or Google investing in RIM. They're all about the money at this point.

You do realize it's the same copy-paste bullcrap he's been posting on every single article's comments right?

You're talking about PROJECTION or ESTIMATES of future earnings based on past data.
Don't forget, the average investor doesn't know much about what they invest in. They don't have the time or the expertise.
As much as the stock market likes to portray itself as scientific, it's really based on rationalizations.
It's a schoolyard full of rumour and innuendo, and whisper campaigns.
It's gambling.
To see just how reliable and scientific the market is,
Look at Bre -X and all the stories like it.

Don't bring Bre-X (or Nortel, for that matter) into this. Those were outright frauds, and their executives milked them for as long as they could get away with it. Not the case with RIM at all.

Believe me, I find your analysis of the market and the "reporters" who cover it to be very kind. Since I purchased my meager 100 shares I have watched RIM obsessively and found more incomplete, half baked, emotional, error ridden information on EVERY financial website and news outlet on the Web.
I find financial Tech writers to be as ignorant as the general public.
There, I'm done venting.

Markets are not exactly "forward looking". That one statement of yours renders your entire analysis useless.
If you think that markets are forward looking and can predict future trends and events then you live in the make believe world of perfect market hypothesis and you consider market analysts to be astrologers. Fact is no one can reliably predict the future so markets cannot be forward looking as you say.

Markets at best draw their conclusions from past events and trends and they themselves are only good for MBA case studies as any mathematician who studied probability would tell you that past events has no bearing on future events.
Markets price is only as good as the present perception and information available about any particular company. In that sense RIMM is correctly priced TODAY, considering their quarterly results and product lineup for the next quarter.
After that no one knows.
You should brush up on your economics and market theory before putting your neck on the line on the internet. And in case you are a professional analyst then you anyway know nothing about what you are talking about.


Sam, what you said is exactly what I said. RIMM is correctly priced TODAY, based on forward earnings. Hence, the stock 'price' of the company is a forward price of earnings.

For example take a bond, the way you price a bond is to discount the future cash flow payments to today. That is the price today of the future earnings.

For a stock, you can use many different market theories. If that is CAPM, dividend growth theory, or just taking a certain growth rate of the industry applying it to earnings and discounting them back.

I appreciate your response. I'm an economist by trade, and I apply many different theories to my analysis. Some might be different than what you have learned.

Good thing I read Crackberry every 6 months (just to see if its still alive). Not only do I get solid, delusional reporting on a dying company, it also provides some of the smartest analysts around.

The biggest problem with people analyzing stock is they get their emotions in it. No one out side of this blog would ever advise you to buy RIM stock, they aren't going to reemerge from this in the cell phone industry. They have 0 indication that a more capable person has replaced the last set of incapable bone heads. BB10 can't get to the market fast enough, and when it does it's already going to bring features that are 3 years late.

Seriously, wake up. RIM is just about to put the nails on the coffin head any moment now.

Why do you read Crackberry every 6 Troll? Do you even own a BlackBerry? Change is happening. Some of it quite painful. Some of it fantastic. RIM is not dead. RIM is laying the ground work to come out with a finished product that is relevant. They are not ignorant of reality. BB10 has to matter and cannot come off half-cocked. They could have the best device out there, but, if they don't have the infrastructure or anyone developing apps for it, all of their efforts will be wasted and they truly will be dead. A gun is pretty useless without bullets.

Here is a don't like RIM or their products, stop coming to this site at all. Taaadaaaaaa problem solved. You have more free time and I don't have to read your stupid trollish comments.

Anyone who tells you to forget the past and to just focus on the feature is delusional and should be ignored.

Future earnings are in a sense built into the stock price.

Porsche Carrera S 997.2
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Very well said! Thank you! I hope RIM does survive because I have tried an icrap and it's not for me. i will NEVER use a Windows based phone and i completely hate Android phones! Although I have tried all the ones i mentioned I always made my way back to my beloved BlackBerry. Phone, messaging, social networking just can't be beat on my BlackBerry. Wants games get a Sony Vita, it smokes any phone! A phone for me is a phone not a source of entertainment (which only kills your battery life anyways!)

Why would you *never* use a Windows Phone? I tried one out for a bit - it strangely lacked the ability to sync with Microsoft Outlook, but otherwise wasn't bad.

That being said, I love my BB.

I won't say "never" but I think Windows brings a lot of crap along with it. I'm not convinced that the same OS can be used for tablet, computer and phones, without sacrificing, whether that sacrifice means more hardware required to run it, less battery life, or fewer features.


Their mobile phone OS is a lot different than their desktop bloatware.

I hope BlackBerry 10 doesn't chug battery like Android does. Would be nice to have a phone that lasts two days :P

I only use Blackberry for BBM browsing and apps are poorly done as for the games they are cool far better than anything BB has and unless they going to market this to serious business people they need to get this in order or it will be more loses in market share in the US and worldwide.

Good thing there's no Windows based phone in the trolling?

Secondly, have you seen a PS Vita before? It's pretty large. Many people don't feel the need to carry around multiple devices all day.

To be honest, that's almost as brainless as saying "want a camera? Carry around a beats any phone!"

Many current opinions are based on past data (like every Android convert leaving an os5 BB because "Blackberry will never be good) and it's just sad that a lot of us don't want to change our perception to fit the situation.

I will be a Crackberry Addict at heart forever, but I can't discount the other platforms logically anymore. BB is for me, but I say wholeheartedly that iOS and WP7/8 will be a new home for me if RIM does go out of business (hoping and praying not!).

Just look at the news to find out what happened, then keep your eyes open for what is happening.

I agree with you, I don't want any other OS. but if something happens.

I have a friend that I asked why she does not like BlackBerry, she said she tried one and didn't like it, but it was a pearl that she was comparing to the iPhone 4S. A lot of people think that BlackBerry phone are only the pearls.

Or the last time they used one it was a OS5 phone or they try and compare a curve to an iphone when they should be comparing a Bold or Torch.

so true
I have said it took apple 3 years to get copy and paste but they say so they have it now lol

...I wish that I could remember where I read it, but somewhere I had read a poll that basically the comparisons on Android and iOS were being compared to mostly OS 5 devices (something like 70% or so) and not to comparable OS 7/7.1 devices like the Bold 9900 or Torch 9860...people who have tried my 9860 so far have liked it, and at first don't realize it is a BB and are surprised when I show them it is...usually with a 'oh I didn't like the BB I had' which usually turns out was an old Curve (OS 5 or 4.5) or Pearl etc...

BlackBerry Torch 9860
BlackBerry PlayBook O/S 1.xx.xxxx

I have a Blackberry Bold 9930 and also have an Android OS smartphone (Motorola Droid 2), an iPhone 4, a Windows Phone (HTC Trophy), and a webOS smartphone (Palm Pre 2). Honestly, IMO Blackberry 7 OS is vastly inferior to other mobile operating systems. It is better with e-mail than other mobile OS but the others also have solid e-mail service (and the others can get e-mail when they are not on an active phone line and only on Wi-Fi, unlike the BB Bold), but the Bold (or more accurately Blackberry 7 OS) is much, much worse (i.e. less user-friendly) when it comes to downloading and using apps. When I've had the Bold 9930 on an active phone line, I needed to do battery pulls every few days, something I've never had to do with my Droid 2, Trophy, iPhone 4, or Pre 2. (The Droid 2 does sometimes require emergency reboots via ALT + SHIFT + DELETE, which allows me to avoid battery pulls, and the Pre 2 is subject to sudden battery drain periodically). The Blackberry 7 OS is also much less user-friendly or intuitive to use in general than other mobile operating systems.

In addition to the various smartphones I mentioned above, I also own a Blackberry Playbook. Blackberry QNX OS is a very good mobile operating system IMO, and I personally like it. However, assuming Blackberry 10 OS is similar to the Playbook's current (QNX) operating system, I don't think BB 10 OS will be enough of a step forward that it will encourage wide user adoption among non-core Blackberry fans. BB QNX OS on the Playbook is better IMO than iOS and definitely better than Android OS (but still inferior to Windows Phone OS IMO), but it isn't dramatically better, and RIM needs BB 10 OS to be dramatically better than what RIM's competitors currently offer for BB 10 OS to succeed commercially IMO. Just my 2 cents.

I don't think anything is superior or inferior. It all boils down to one's appreciation on the platform they use most and the device they most appreciate being the most efficient.

That said, if you cannot appreciate anything, you shouldn't have it at all.

PS. Try wiping and reloading the OS, and skip everything except Calendar, memopad, address book, browser bookmarks and options using a selective restore. That'll speed up shit so much better. I do this once every second device software update to keep things in top shape. Also, update the device software while you're at it. ;)

You don't think anything is superior or inferior?!? I guess that means using horse and buggy for a long-distance road trip is equal to using a recent model year automobile. Or that the graphics and technical capabilities of an Atari 2600 are equal to those on the Playstation 3 or XBox 360. I bet you'll change your tune when (if?) BB 10 OS comes out and if it is generally considered by most analysts to be superior to Apple's iOS, Google's Android OS, and/or Microsoft's Windows Phone OS. Of course, if people decide to stay with the iPhone, an Android phone, and/or a Windows Phone even after BB 10 OS is released, I guess those people will appreciate what those operating systems provide more than what Blackberry 10 OS provides.

As I stated above in somewhat different words, I think Blackberry 7 OS is less efficient than other currently available operating systems (including Blackberry QNX OS) at doing what I want and need it to do. I'm not a tech geek; I just want something that is intuitive, easy to use, and requires straightforward, easy maintenance to improve performance if it is needed. I only bought my first Blackberry "smartphone" about 3 months ago (early March), in part because I liked/like the Playbook, and it wasn't until I started using the Bold 9930 that I appreciated why so many people are critical of Blackberry devices or why most reviewers' opinions of the Bold 9930 were tepid - Blackberry 7 OS is an outdated operating system relative to the competition, at least in my opinion.

By the way, I think most people would agree that if someone spends their own money to buy something, that person is entitled to have it and use it/not use it in whatever way he/she chooses, regardless whether they like the product he/she bought. I'll use (or not use) the Bold 9930 that I bought the way I want to, thank you very much.

Correct! I. Agree with you. Personally, I am making weekly stock purchases to take advantage of future growth.

Here is a question I would like someone from Team Crackberry to put to Alec Saunders, and it has to do with the future and it's important so I hope it's appropriate to post here.

Why can't I get the New York Times App on my Playbook? Why will the NYT not even port their Android App to the Playbook? Simple question, but extreemly important.

I appreciate everything RIM is trying to do with Blackberry Jam, but in focusing on getting lots of apps for BB10, RIM seems to be missing getting big-name and important content on their devices.

A while back I sideloaded apps from NYT, FT (Financial Times) and The Economist onto my playbook. I subscribed to print version of each in the past, but let those subscriptions lapse. Once I got these sideloaded I subscribed to each company. That's right, they made money from me. Since then the NYT and FT Apps have stopped working. I'm thinking of cancelling my FT subscription and will do so for The Economist if it stops working.

Given that porting the apps over would lead to subscription sales I ask: why don't they do it? Why is RIM not knocking of the doors of these companies and saying "we'll do everything just sign it over. You've already written the app, it already works on the Playbook, just sign it over"?

The same for a CIBC banking app (it's a Canadian Bank for God's sake). Why is the app not ported over?

Why is this an issue and not just a rant?

Because RIM needs to understand that consumers want to bring their world to their devices, that is, they want the companies they already deal with on their devices. They don't want to change their world to suit what devices have to offer.

Fine, court small start up developers, but why is RIM forgetting about the headline consumer companies we all deal with on a daily basis?

Would someone on Team Crackberry please put the questions to A. Saunders. I've asked on twitter and received no reply.


Saunders recently tweeted (as reported by CB) that if Netflix wanted to port the app to PlayBook, that all they had to do was ask, and that RIM would be there in 24hrs. Unfortunately RIM can't make any company agree to make an app, or allow RIM to make it for them, no matter how many trucks of $$ they offer. It 's unfortunate that RIM, as well as consumers are left out in the cold by a company's shortsightedness.

Sorry, that's just not good enough. It's attitudes like that that lead companies to bankruptcy.

You don't say just ask and we'll be there, you set up a meeting a pitch to the companies why they should be on blackberry. If RIM can't make a convincing case regarding why these companies should be on blackberry then pack it in.

RIM is not Apple. Rim is a mismanaged company with hundreds of consultants running around doing nothing but billing RIM $1600-$2000 a day and laughing all the way to the bank. It's unbelievable.

A sad season for HI TECH in Canada.

And you think when Apple was in hard time that they weren't mismanaged.
Just like the article says you are looking in the past, because what you are seeing is the effect of the previous co-ceo's not what the new ceo is doing.
You should take a look at the sneak peek video since a ios developer is coping the BB10 keyboard, and recently a BB10 theme was make for ios. So it looks like ios users like what RIM is doing which is a compliment to what Rim employees are doing to make BB10 a really good experience.

The point is, once users abandon BB for some other platform they are not likely to return for several years if at all. The forward projecting market understands that and has clobbered RIM.

Of course RIM can rebound (somewhat), but don't think for a minute that Apple and Google are standing still in the interim.

Just a point of interest: I used to have more than 50 contacts on BBM ... I'm down to 3 as of this morning.

The BBM contact thing for the last year i have only lost 3 and have gained 42 and i don't mean from meeting new people that number is only the people that i have know since i got my first BlackBerry.

I understand that to could take a while for some people to come back. There are a lot of people that want to come back when BB10 is launched and i have a bunch of friends that have never had a BlackBerry only iPhone and they want a BB10 at launch I am not saying my experience is everyone's I am just going by what i see.

Ok, let's consider that for a second... Hummm... isn't it what all that layoff stuff is all about? Get rid of some dead weight?? Yeah RIM is not Apple, RIM is better and I can asure we have a bright future ahead of us. We just need to give it time, Apple had its time, they are doing their apps since 2006 and we really just started last year...

Sadly, I agree.
I've heard it from RIM employees myself. There is so much red tape within the company, hence the delays. They sit around waiting for things to get done by different departments and it gets product launches pushed back by months as a result.

As a tip, BB10s are already out in the open =P... Keep your eyes peeled wherever u go. You might spot one lol.
(reliable source)

I enjoyed the read - thanks for that Chris. An interesting fact I would like to point out, is that RIMs competition is not "so great"... They're just part of the current trend, even call it a fad. I'm not naïve or to much of a fan boy to admit that Android and iOS have and do things better than BBOS at the moment. But I do wanna say this... You're fooling your self if you think the competition is sooooo much better. Go try an iPhone, sure... Apple is selling em like hotcakes, but the truth is - this is NOT a far reach for RIM (to compete with google and apple)...

If it isn't such a far reach for RIM to compete with Apple and Google, then why didn't they launch BB 10 OS in 2011 or even 2010? It's not like RIM didn't know that the iPhone and the better Android OS devices were clearly superior to the various Blackberry devices with pretty much any functionality that didn't involve e-mail or texting. It's also not like RIM wasn't aware its profits and market share have been shrinking over the last couple of years.

Don't you realize RIM was developing it? They were starting developement for bb10 last year and only in march/april did they reveal parts of it.

Developement takes time. RIM is doing better this time around. Think positively.

Research In Motion, in my opinion, was late to the game in starting development for their true next generation operating system. They needed to start working on it no later than about 2009, maybe early 2010. In the technology realm, things are changing constantly, and if you want to stay on top of the heap, you can't be resting on your laurels. Unfortunately, IMO that's what RIM did.

I forgot to mention in my original response that if it was so easy for RIM to create a product that was superior to Apple's iOS or Google's Android OS, they would have been able to have native e-mail in the QNX-powered Playbook from the start, rather than releasing it a year after the Playbook came out. (I say this as someone who owns and likes the Playbook and the QNX operating system.) The delay in including native e-mail in QNX/BB Tablet OS is another negative factor that may discourage wide adoption of Blackberry 10 OS when it is released.

RIM needs to be considerably more proactive in putting definitive news out. Everything RIM currently says is littered with generalities, no specifics. Provide timelines and details. Keep people interested. No reason to hide anything at this point. RIM is not Samsung, Apple or Google. If there is excessive inventory of BB7 devices (and we all know there is), quickly put a campaign together to either give away (or deeply discount) those devices. Act swiftly with regard to the layoffs. We all know it's going to happen so just do it now. RIM is working on borrowed time as it is. Move fast or move out of the way. I want RIM to succeed but they are not currently acting like a company who wants to succeed or believes they can succeed.

I believe that BB10 could be a well designed and attractive platform. However, it will have to overcome the app selection problem that all new platforms have had to deal with since Apple took the lead. Even Google has struggled against apple to offer compelling apps and attract developers.

In my opinion, RIM can pull it off if they somehow manage to coax the most popular apps onto their new platform. If they dare to release BB10 without core apps like netflix, they might as well break up the company now. BB10 is the absolute last chance they have.

Why won't every Android developer make the small step of converting their apps to Blackberry where there is more of a paying audience (albiet smaller), given that "apparently" it is easy to move Apps across to BB10?

I think they will ALL do that - "IF" conversion is easy? Is it??

It is really easy just install and one click later its converted then click run to test on the simulator or PlayBook

Compatibility is very limited. It's a great tool for simple apps but if it's something more complicated, it could require a re-write.

True because there was somethings that were not available, so hopefully that the 2.1 beta opens up some more functionality

realistically, it can't be that hard...there's an online tool that can do it. I have no background in development, but I wanted to see how hard it was to port an app and was done in about 5 mins. can't be that hard. I just don't get why adroid developers don't spend the time to do it. I mean, you would spend maybe an hour or two, porting and submitting to appworld and then just sit back. even if only a few users purchase it would make it worthwhile. I don't get the reluctance...

"This means that whenever we see a headline about RIM that is negative, pertaining to financials or market share, it will ALWAYS be negative so long as the company is still going through its transition." But RIM has always been struggling since OS6 its a constant catch up game and BB10 is a new os yes but still does not address the problem of why which is poor ecosystem, poor apps and poor phones! Imagine my excitement when I got OS7 thinking that would be the end of the spinning clock and "Liquid Graphics" for a smooth flow only to find that I still have the clock and my iPhone is still smoother. BB10 has to be fast, smooth and chock full of apps at least 100k if they want to be competitive and since devs have to build new apps and the whole of app world has what 60k maybe 75k apps from since existence I dont see it happening.

of course it addresses the poor ecosystem. Look at the different dev platforms available for BB10 vs. the other os's, and all the work that is being done by the RIM team to go out and develop these partnerships with the bigger developers. Yes, there are a number of big guys that haven's stepped up to work with PBOS or BB10, but we have to remember that its a partnership, the other side has to dance too. I think the team at RIM is trying to do what they can to get into bed with the devs that they aren't there with yet, but who knows what the reason for the reluctance is from the other side...

@TheDark722 I've used an 8520, 9700 and now 9810 and Facebook, Linkedin and other apps are a total disappointment not to mention the unbelievable difference between N.O.V.A.(Game) on iPhone and Blackberry. RIM has to really step up and honestly I haven't seen much game changing stuff that would lure away iPhone users cause simply put no matter how great bb10 is if there isn't proper app support your spinning a top in mud.

I agree whole heartedly. my only point was that it seems that RIM does understand that the ecosystem is a key to the success of any platform and that they have been working to get devs on-side. But it becomes a bit of a Chicken / Egg thing...No customers, no devs - no devs, no apps - no apps, no customers... I think RIM has done a good job (albeit late, see delay of NDK at pb launch) at making sure the dev tools are out there and trying to cater to devs across a broad spectrum with the different dev platforms they support, but at the end of the day the devs have to want to dance and we hit the chicken/egg thing...but I think things are moving in the right direction. we are seeing some of the big game makers porting games over...not developing specifically for the pb, but porting games over to test the market. that shows promise and interest. If that effort bears fruit and houses like Gameloft start seeing results (read $$$) it will likely spur native development, hopefull getting past the customers-devs-apps-customers problem. just my thoughts though, I'm hopeful, not cynical, but still realistic.

@Kiddo2050 - I agree with a lot of your comments about moving Android Apps to Blackberry. Blackberry should have a dedicates sales/development team doing just that.

With respect to magazines , I was a little surprised, so took a look. Zinio apparently can provide you your subscriptions. If you aren't using it, why not?

I'm asking because I'd like to subscribe to the Economist, but haven't subscribed to magazines through Playbook before, and want to rely on your experience :)

As for the article itself, it is correct that the news we are seeing at the moment is still based on history. Coming from the world of finance, I know this too well. Blackberry is suffering from the Osborne effect, which is a little hard to avoid when transitioning operating systems.

I'm fairly new to Blackberry (first phone was BB9900 last fall, and have in the last 2 months purchased 2 Playbooks), but I have to say I very much like the platform, and am still finding amazing things I didn't know about (Blackberry Travel throwing things on my calendar automatically, being the most recent)

While I may have some beer goggles on, I think that RIM has a lot going for it come October. New and really very good OS (likely better than anything else out there now), QNX has good market in automotive and I purchased my last car in large part due to tech (so there is some more consumer leverage BB has), Android Apps can apparently be converted fairly easily (and if it is easy, why wouldn't a developer do that, to increase audience, particularly to an audience known for paying for apps), has true security, best keyboard(s).

Looking at it the other way, what do the other platforms have going for them?

Apple - consistent platform, nice form factor, and fashionable. They are BB's real competition due to the consistent platform, but I think "fashionable" is going to wear thin soon. BB provides a better experience, I believe, and not as big a data hog.

Android - fantastic hardware since there are so many manufacturers. However, the software platform is fracturing.

When I look at it objectively, there are significant risks in launching for BB, but with a successful launch BB is likely to come out on top again, over the next few years.

I understand the need to keep up with the crowd on some things.....Popular apps and all but my BB Tour,Style and Curve suit my needs just fine without all of those popular apps. I use my phone for voice, text, nav and a few other things. I use my laptop and hopefully in the future a new playbook for watching movies and those things I just can't do easily on my phone.....I just love the physical keyboard of my phones and have tried other platforms. They all do the same, but with Blackberry, there is a unique form factor and user experience that just has me hooked. Blackberry has me as a fan and will be in the foreseeable future. Some people state that there is only room for 3 platforms. I disagree with that opinion. There are several billion people out there and the idea of 3 platforms is just near sighted. Even here in the United States there is plenty of room for 4 or more platforms. People still use mobile phones for mainly messaging and voice calls. It's the user experience that is unique to each platform and that comes down to each customers decision on which one they like most. Blackberry has a chance to bring themselves back to competitive position and I can't wait to see the BB10 system. Patience is a virtue.......

Are you serious???? You're saying that past behavior says nothing about future behavior, which is not only whacky, but would also make all of science pointless (predictions are based on observations from past experiments)

RIM is doomed as a smartphone maker. They sooner they realize this the sooner they can start growing as a business again.

They need to replace most of upper management, stop hiring so many students, and start scalping talent... Otherwise it's Novell and Nortel all over again.

Okay, let me assure you that having worked for public companies (not RIM) anything that the public knows is already 3+ months out of date. Add further to that timeframe as decisions take time to impact, and your "rearview" is easily 6 months to a year. Just saying .... been there, done that. Unlike science, there isn't a linear progression. More likely RIM is experiencing the Osborne effect (I was there for that) as they transition.

That being dais I'd like you to explain why you think RIM is doomed as a Smartphone maker?

RIM likely have new OS that is likely better than anyone else's at the moment (and for the others to improve it is a painful transtition for them), as I understand it the OS makes for an easy port of Android Apps so Apps should be there, and have unique features with respect to messaging, notifications, security and keyboards the others don't have.

I agree with you about the average investor not knowing everything. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that RIM is in trouble though when you see lineups for iPhones. If things were just "iffy" then I would be agreeing with you 100%.. They're not iffy though. RIM is in trouble right now.

What you call the "Osborne effect" is better known as bad marketing. If you tell people that they should wait because you're going to have something better for them then obviously people will wait. Calling it the "Osborne effect" as if it's some normal thing is just an excuse for bad decision making...

RIM is doomed as a smartphone maker because they only make money from handheld sales. . Details below.

Android can be a loss leader for Google. They make alot of money from ads, and by hooking the google os up to other google products (resulting jn more ads!) Buy any hardware you want and Google still makes money. Samsung could go bankrupt and google would keep on keeping on. BBOs doesn't have that luxury. Rim needs you to buy their form factor...

Apple has iTunes, so they can lose money on every phone and still make a profit for each customer; and an iPhone acts like a brand hook, incentiving the customer in to an AppleTV, a Mac, or an iPad. RIM needs to make money on each handheld.. Almost every convenience store in N. America carries itunes cards now. Its got to be raining cash at Apple HQ! The PlayBook was probably a good move, but maybe too little late.

Had RIM exploited its lead in the smartphone space to establish itself as a mobile platform (as opposed to an email machine) they wouldnt be having this problem. As is, its too late. Bigger companies with all kinds of ways to twist and move have over taken RIM. Would take a miracle for them to even keep their head above water.

Additionally, all business theory aside, RIM sucked at building a 3rd party ecosystem. They hired too many students straight out of school who had no real experience and promoted them up up up... The end result was a bunch of people making technical decisions about things they didnt know anything about.. Where are all the 3rd party app "millionaires" who made BlackBerry apps? No where... Just look at how many of their partners have disappeared over the years.. Bbsmart anyone?

Read and reply without your own distorted interpretation.  This also isn't particle physics or any other sort of prediction based on past motion in a vaccuum.  This is better compared to a sport.  Hockey players go to where the puck will be. News about where it has been is irrelevant. Everybody knows it.When a player gets traded, it would be idiotic to analyze the team's chances based on a former player's track record.  None of this means RIM is a winner or a loser. It means rear view mirrors are useless here.  

Uhm, nO. Poor performance on RIMs part means that it has systemic problems.

You may not like what I'm saying, but before you go shouting that you can't understand a process by looking at its behavior maybe you should spend a bit of time reading about predictive analytics.

And I didnt say you could predict rims future based on a stock ticker. The stock ticker is a function of many many variables.

"By their nature, financial news is reflective of the past. This includes quarterly reports, layoffs, inventory write downs, and you can extend it to non-financial stuff like market share data."

I loved this statement you made. And it is exactly a relevant statement. If you look at market shows, they always state that :


Which by one thing I have found is absolutely true going either way!

I live in Sweden where BB is very small. In 2009, I moved from an iPhone 3G to a Bold 9000. By then, I had also experienced Symbian s60, and UIQ. My iPhone had significant lag after the 3.0 update, and that was a deal breaker for me. I wanted to try something different and the Bold 9000 captured my interest. A few months later, I abandoned the BB hoping to one day return to the platform. What I missed was a bunch of applications and a more complete device in terms of html mail and a capable browser, camera and multimedia features. I've also been wondering why RIM refuses to give users the choice to either use their secure BES/BIS (not offered by all operators globally), or use regular mail yet enjoy access to their mail everywhere (or both)? This is a mystery to me.
I just believe, based on what I saw at the latest BB world, that BB is too far behind competition, not in terms of BB 10 UI and features, but in terms of ecosystem. RIM reacted too late, too slow. Like Nokia, they were too comfortable in their position as one of the market leaders. For me, to change back to the BB platform, it would take a BB platform and ecosystem with clear and specific benefits over what I've used since my BB days (iOS, Android, Maemo, and MeeGo). I have a hard time seeing that. But then again, I'm not a visionary.

"BB is too far behind competition, not in terms of BB 10 UI and features, but in terms of ecosystem."

EXCEPT - BB10 is theoretically built to allow easy migration of Android Apps, in which case you suddenly have a far larger ecosystem.

"BB is too far behind competition, not in terms of BB 10 UI and features, but in terms of ecosystem."

EXCEPT - BB10 is theoretically built to allow easy migration of Android Apps, in which case you suddenly have a far larger ecosystem.

Chris is getting out of words and excuses to keep his ridiculous hidden-hyping of $RIMM stock going.

Single digits by next week!

Thank you Thorsten!!

Chris' writing is always well balanced on all counts and he looks at all angles (never leaning too much on the Rimbashing side, and not suffering from fanboyism either), and with the necessary disclosures included when appropriate.

To accuse him of (subliminally) steering his own RIM stock is ridiculous.
Who's really got the hidden agenda here?

Apple survived specifically because the top guy had vision. RIM does not have such an asset. They only got the first three letters.

You can't realistically and legitimately make that assumption. Management has just changed, can you honestly say that you know Thor enough to claim that he has no vision. He hasn't even been at the helm long enough for any of us to REALLY get into his head. At the very least, in the short time he has been, he's shown that he's an improvement over previous management.

first off, great article Chris. Bang on!!!! To all the doomsayers preaching RIM's demise solely based on historical performance, let's take a look at that company Chris mentioned, that at one point was at the top of the game...they made some really bad decisions that they thought at the time were in the best interest of the company, including getting rid of a brilliant man with some social handicaps. Their business swirled down a whirlpool through a p-trap and all they could do is watch it go and regret the flush. If we applied the same logic, they would have been gone and forgotten...But, they made changes, different decisions, including bringing that guy back and a few years later, they are named the most valuable company in the world by Forbes...RIM isn't even close to being in as bad a shape as Apple was in those days, but yet so many people are sending their black suits to the cleaners and trying on their black veils in preparation for a funeral...RIM's not there yet, though they're not clear of it either...but they can turn it around. They just need to do what every other successful organization has done...execute, if they don't, I'll be the first one in line to toss dirt on the casket. But until then, I'm sticking around to watch the second half / last quarter / third period of this game and keep rooting for my team.

Looking at Rims situation there are many reasons why blackberry is where it is now and where it was a few years ago. I'm no tech expert or finacial expert; i am purely a user. In my opinion the blackberry brand is in trouble because on one not talked about clearly paradoxical reason (there are other issues) that is the phones work. A blackberry phone will work after a fall, after water contact after about any damage that would put most android and ios phones out of use. What this means really i that people wont run out ever three month to get a new phone as the one they bought 3 years ago still does all the basic functions you initially bought the phone for. The biggest problem i've had over the years was the trackball not working. that got fixed with the trackpad. As such you find blackberry users with the 8520 in 2012 after 2 years of use with no intention of upgrading because the phone still works. Blackberry sales numbers are not jumping off the charts because the few persons who do upgrade their phoones end up selling the used 8520 or bold 9700 and 9000 online because they still work and people in emerging markets (without carrier subsidy) still have a demand for the cheaper still functioning phones. That is my observation here in jamica where we might have more blackberries per person than canada.

Android owners will tell you in december that this is their third phone for the year (usually the third samsung, sorry everybody else) and iphone user just wait around for the new iphone to drop even though the current one may still work(even if the battery is dead and can't be replaced). The fact is blackbberry users dont change their phones that often and when they do change the phone goes back into the market and blocks a potential new sale for rim. this is why rim can report increase subscribers but little or no sale improvement.

the low end os7 phones should sorta stem this

How will BB10 differ from the hoards of other phones out there? The way to succeed is to have the general public fall in love with the product, not just techies that hang out on sites like this. With Android coming out with a new and improved phone every other week, and Apple remaining extremely strong....what will BB10 do that will be sooooo awe inspiring that everyone will have to have it? I see it getting lost in the all the noise that is the smartphone world now. Plus carriers are the ones that push the phones. When is the last time you walked into a Verizon store and saw a huge BB display? Probably 3-4 years ago. I fear that BB10 will be just a flash in he pan that no one will notice. I fear that much more is needed for RIM to succeed. In this tough environment I don't know if I see any bright light at the end of the tunnel. I fear the only hope would be to be acquired from someone else. I may be right or I may be wrong. Either way I love my BB 9930 and hope RIM get is shit together.

Let me emphasize what several readers above said so well -- markets look forward, never backward and they do not like what they see in RIMM's future. I swichted from my BB Bold in Sept 2011 to Samsung Android system not because I didn't like BB but because I got tired of waiting for the next rendition of the Bold. Management first said by June (2011) then by US Labor Day and after awhile, I got tired of waiting as they lost my trust in the product. I own the stock as I like investing in broken systems that have a change in management and new products. My wife has the new Bold, and except for the battery life, it is quite good. I am not RIMM hater.
The first thing RIMM needs to do is tell the investing community what they plan to do and do it on time and do it well. In other words, regain the trust of both users and investors.