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What's Really Killing RIM BlackBerry: BYOD

RIM says its BlackBerry services have been restored. But here's the problem: The biggest threat to RIM's BlackBerry business continues to grow in strength. The obvious threats are Apple iPhone and Google Android adoption. In reality, the biggest BlackBerry killer is BYOD -- bring your own device to work.

The VAR Guy

October 13, 2011

rim

RIM says its BlackBerry services have been restored. But here’s the problem: The biggest threat to RIM’s BlackBerry business continues to grow in strength. The obvious threats are Apple iPhone and Google Android adoption. In reality, the biggest BlackBerry killer is BYOD — bring your own device to work. Here’s why.

First, The VAR Guy needs to give  RIM Founder and Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis some credit. Instead of hiding in a corner office during this week’s RIM outage, Lazaridis and RIM posted a video on YouTube, apologizing for the service disruption:

 

press conference this morning to further explain and apologize for the outage, ConnectedPlanet reported.

How the Market Changed

Let’s look beyond the service outage and focus on the core challenge facing RIM and BlackBerry.

During RIM’s early days — the age of so-called CrackBerry devices — corporate IT executives and CIOs controlled all device purchases. PCs, notebooks, cell phones and mobile email devices were all purchased and deployed by corporate IT.

But the iPhone’s debut in 2007 turned corporate IT upside down. Initially, most corporate IT departments declined to support the iPhone. But gradually, the balance of power shifted to end-users. Those users kept on buying iPhones. And gradually, third-party services and software connected the dots between corporate email (Microsoft Exchange) and Apple’s smartphone. That trend repeated itself as Google Android smartphones began to take hold in the consumer market.

In other words: Apple iPhone and Google Android are not directly killing RIM BlackBerry. The real culprits are end-users who revolted against corporate IT decision makers. The BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) to work trend is real and seems unstoppable. And unfortunately, consumers aren’t really choosing RIM in a big way when they make BYOD decisions. (But ironically, BYOD is a big opportunity for VARs and MSPs that specialize in mobile device management, notes Kaseya.)

The Numbers Don’t Lie

RIM’s stock has fallen from $144 in June 2008 to about $24 today. In its Q2 2012 (ended Aug. 27, 2011), RIM’s year-over-year quarterly revenue dropped 10 percent to $4.2 billion, and net income fell to $329 million compared to $797 million in Q2 2011.

By late September 2011, some pundits speculated that RIM would exit the tablet market. And in recent days, RIM and its customers have suffered through an extended service outage, which finally was rectified today.

The VAR Guy, meanwhile, offered an open letter to RIM back in June 2011, calling on the company to make a bold move that breaks with BlackBerry’s past.

RIM CEO Mike Lazaridis earned some points with The VAR Guy this week. It’s been a terrible few days for RIM and its customers amid that service outage. But Lazaridis came across as sincere, concerned, and customer-focused on that YouTube video. Now, Lazaridis must face his other daily challenge: Will RIM sink or swim amid the growing BYOD wave.

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