I can’t help but say, I told you so. I said way back last year that RIM was going to keep dropping, way before all these analysts. They proclaimed the Playbook would sell, not as well as the iPad, but that it would sell. I said that RIM needed to completely overall it’s designs for their phones, did they listen? No. Instead they put out the same looking Blackberry with the same “dated” look with just a little more “umph” inside. The little “umph” would have been nice had it been released last year. But it was delayed till this year and to make matters worse they only showed off one of their phones in development at Blackberry World this year and even that got delayed from its Summer release to late August (aka September or Fall).
The RIM has been banking on the Playbook to save them some face, but alas, it has all but failed. With no native email to speak of and some of its best features are only accessible if you own a Blackberry phone. To add even more salt to that wound, AT&T, who sells the 3G unit, has yet to even allow the Blackberry Bridge application that makes connecting your Playbook to Blackberry phone possible, you need this so you can share the connection and get your email on the Playbook as well as your calendar and contacts. How about some alcohol for that same wound? We just posted yesterday that O2, a big UK wireless carrier, has decided to STOP selling the Playbook due to bad “end-to-end customer feedback.” To simplify that, it means customer aren’t happy with it. While RIM won’t necessarily admit it, the lack of sales is most likely what prompted the 4G Playbook delay from Summer to Fall.
Things just don’t look good for RIM as of late, first they lose corportate support for their Blackberry’s with companies like Clorox and other big companies who are giving their employees the option to use iPhones, Android phones and even Windows Phone 7 devices as an alternative. Then there are other analysts who are finally saying what I’ve been saying, RIM needs new leadership. First and foremost, it doesn’t need TWO CEO’s who both are cry-babies who call “That’s not fair” when confront with “legit” issues concerning customer privacy. It needs one CEO, one that can steer this sinking ship to a port and get her repaired. By repaired, I mean rethink the companies current product line and re-imagine it, breathe new life into its designs, scrap the Blackberry OS and move to QNX as fast as possible. Also, since they’ve already said they don’t mind using Android’s Market, make at LEAST ONE, Android powered Blackberry (I’ve said this before) and watch the world take note. Android OS combined with Blackberry’s build quality, with a larger screen and slide out keyboard, SUCCESS, it doesn’t hurt to have a QNX based Android device for corporate use and an Android based device for average consumers. This way they can have one foot in each market. Someone needs to listen to these suggestions and put those bloated CEO’s out to pasture.
With RIM’s earning down to just $695 million this quarter compared to $934 million just a quarter ago, it shows the company is seriously hurting. Especially when you compare it to Apple and their 113% annual growth. So they can’t blame the market or economy, this is their own fault.
What’s worse is they aren’t expecting things to get any better and are already preparing for another bad quarter. Their products just aren’t selling and that is because they look like the same products from 5-6 years ago, while other companies like Apple, HTC, Motorola, Samsung are all pushing the envelope with new design ideas, like glass on the front and back, contoured displays, 4″+ screens, high-res screens, 3D technology, angled corners (Photon)…all of these are ideas that RIM’s competitors are doing to differentiate themselves and it’s working.
So what is RIM’s current plan? Well they are set to “steamline operations” in other word cut back and FIRE employees. That’s not streamlining operations Mike and Jim…that’s called using a bucket to scoop incoming water out of the sinking boat. It’s only going to keep you a float for a little while longer. Like I said, the boat needs a new Captain.
You know it’s bad when you project sales of 14.5 million units and then have to lower that number by a full MILLION to 13.5 million and you still fail to meet that projection. Keep this in mind, RIM has several different Blackberry models, sold on just about every carrier (using the U.S. for this example) while Apple has really only 1 iPhone (not counting the 3GS as it’s on it’s way out and only AT&T sells it) which is only on Verizon and AT&T, yet they have sold over 18.65 million iPhones in the same period. What does that tell you?
When it comes down to the Playbook and its sales, the only thing RIM announced was around 500,000 units SHIPPED, not sold. They didn’t give that number out. This reminds me of the Motorola XOOM fiasco, where they claimed to have shipped 250,000 but the actual number sold was MUCH lower. I’ll explain this again for some of you. Shipped means that the manufacturer has produced and shipped units to retail outlets like Best Buy, Fry’s, Office Depot or Staples and other stores. It doesn’t count as sold because when a store fails to sell them, they get shipped back. They only count as SOLD when a consumer purchases the product from the retail outlet. So far, those number don’t look good, but RIM failed to inform anyone what they actually are at this point.
So I go back once again to my previous post, it is only a matter of time before RIM hits that low point and ends up on the chopping block and competitors like Samsung scoop them up, or how about Microsoft, since they couldn’t get the Nokia deal going. The only way to save this company from a certain buyout is much like killing a snake, you have to cut off the head or in this instance, heads. Once that is done, RIM and its board of directors can find a suitable replacement and perhaps save us all from witnessing Titanic 2.
Do you agree or disagree, let us know.