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Is RIM the Next Nokia? - The Fall From Grace

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Just three years ago this title would have been a huge compliment…

In January 2008 Nokia had the mobile phone sector by the scruff of its neck. Four of every 10 phones sold throughout the world was a Nokia. The financial results were no less impressive. Sales had leapt 34 per cent and profitability was up 64 per cent. The iPhone was a blip on the radar selling 2.3m units in the previous three months. During the same period Nokia had sold 133.5m handsets.
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It was much the same for RIM. In June 2008 RIM reported its first three months of the year had seen revenue leap 107 per cent compared to Q1 2007. It sold 5.4m BlackBerrys in that quarter. Apple had sold 6m iPhones during its entire first year. As for Android, it hadn't even launched.

Less than three years later both companies are in tatters. Nokia's market share has dropped to 28 per cent, it has written off MeeGo as a failed experiment, seen Android become the world's largest smartphone operating system and effectively canned Symbian to gamble on Windows Phone - a still largely unproven platform.

Meanwhile RIM has seen itself pushed out the top five handset makers by ZTE, watched iPhone sales skyrocket to over 16m per qaurter and also found itself beaten down by Android. Its lack of focus has seen it experiment with a watch, miss out on buying Palm and have its joint CEOs hauled through the courts.
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RIM's once promising iPad repost, the PlayBook, continues to suffer delay after delay and the revelation it will ship without native apps like email, calendar or contacts draws worrying comparisons to Palm's ridiculous Foleo "smartbook companion" and made it the butt of our jokes on the last TrustedReviews podcast. Like Nokia, RIM has even indicated it will be ditching its own software for a more mainstream, cross vendor platform. In this case the gaping hole in its strategy revealed by making the PlayBook compatible with Android Apps.

On the surface RIM looks like it is in a mess, but why has it happened and are things really as bad as they seem?

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