Dwarfed by Google and Apple: BlackBerry Z10 Too Late for RiM?
The much anticipated release of RiM’s Blackberry 10 (#BB10) will not generate the wave of cash that the folks in Waterloo are looking for.
Why? It pains me to say this, but RiM has become a moon around a planet in the universe of Goople.
Goople – or Google/Apple – run the show now when it comes to hardware, and it’s not really because of anything special that they’ve done with their hardware. Except … they’ve made it easy for users to create their own media universe within a Google or Apple construct, supported by hardware, but really, truly driven by easy-to-use platforms like Gmail, YouTube, search, Drive, iTunes, Apps, etc.
See, it’s the media universe that sustains Google and Apple, regardless of the hardware that delivers that media. Unfortunately, RiM has missed out completely by not creating their own media universe, so upgrades and updates with their hardware will always be met with "meh" attitudes in the marketplace. Today will be no exception.
The "Hub" is supposed to cure some of those ills, but the core of the Hub (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) belong to someone else and not RiM. When those other platforms decide they don’t want RiM to play in their backyard and instead decide to build their own hardware, RiM will once again be out of luck. Until RIM builds its own media universe, they will constantly be running to stand still, while the Goople universe whirls around them.
Even in Canada, it’s conceivable that companies like Bell and Rogers could become competitors to RIM as opposed to buyers of their hardware. These media giants could simply partner with a hardware company (much like Google has with Motorola, Acer, Samsung and others) and walk away from RiM sales entirely all the while closing the universe for Canadian consumers. Of course, this would be bad, but not impossible.
Some quick ideas for RIM?
- Start doing what others are doing best: encourage people to subscribe to platform-independent tools similar to Apps and Gmail. You’re close, but not quite there yet.
- Lead instead of follow: think outside the box and implement things like Open Source download / directory platforms that people will want to access. Rebel against the mainstream barriers to sharing files and start a universe of P2P and BitTorrent networks that defy the rules.
- Encourage new/alternative media platforms and be the delivery system for that: partner with someone like the CBC to create a media and news universe that is void of economic objective (for now) and packed with content and information that all Canadians can use. As you enable conversations, so too do you enable loyalty.
- Be the little guy that everyone can love: Google and Apple are frightening in their enormity and control over, well, everything. Being that "little engine that can" may be your way out of this.
Good luck, RiM. It’s easy for me to say all this from the sidelines, but my respect and admiration are still very high for you.