Posted in Mobile, tagged android, apple, bada, blackberry, Google, iphone, Mobile, OS, Palm, push email, rimm, Samsung, security, Sync, Verizon Wireless, WebOS on December 2, 2009 |
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RIMM had a great quarter – a time after which companies usually forget to do the right things. On the contrary this is really the best time for RIMM to react now before it is too late. So here goes my thinking on what they should do and soon…
It is very clear that RIMM’s unique advantage of Blackberry push email is not sufficient for it to retain the market leadership. First Apple’s iPhone, then PALM Pre and now Verizon’s Droid are eating at its market share slowly and RIMM has to respond to stay relevant. One thing is clear that current OS of Blackberry has reached its limit and that is one area RIMM has to find an alternative while retaining its unique advantages. It needs developer community and a great web experience to compete – getting to new customer segments will be a nice bonus.
It has four possible choices
- Build a new OS
- Buy PALM
- Google surrender strategy
- Google enhancement strategy
Build a new OS
Building a new OS will not bring developers easily to Blackberry and so that choice seems impractical. Yes I know Samsung went against the common wisdom and introduced Bada its new OS but got a big yawn from the market so far.
Buy Palm Inc.
Buy PALM which is currently at a market cap of $1.65B and would probably cost close to $2B. What would RIMM gain is WebOS, a great Web experience but not necessarily developers. Yes it will get access to a younger market segment that PALM manage to penetrate but RIMM could put the $2B elsewhere for a better return.
Adopt Google’s Android
RIMM can finally eat its pride and make the right business decision by adopting Google’s Android. There are two ways to adopt this strategy
- Follow Motorola’s Lead or Google surrender strategy wherein the handset vendor just builds the hardware and adopt Android as is – kind of like what Motorola did with Droid for Verizon Wireless ( In all fairness, Motorola did some work on its Cliq for T-Mobile)
- Follow Apple’s Lead or Google enhancement strategy wherein the handset vendor not only builds hardware but adds its unique values and controls the end to end user experience. This is similar to what Apple did with BSD UNIX and created Mac OS X.
RIMM should adopt Google Android and add its unique push email, sync, security and other goodies while continuing to control end to end user experience. This will give RIMM a better OS, developers and continue to maintain its unique advantages.
What do you think RIMM should do? Share your opinions here.
R. Paul Singh
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Posted in 3G, 3G networks, 3G technology, App Store, apple iphone, blackberry, iphone, mobile application developers, mobile phone applications, Mobile VAS, nokia, r. paul singh, smart phone, tagged android, App Store, apple, blackberry, discovery of mobile applications, distribution of mobile applications, iphone, microsoft, Mobile VAS, mwc 2009, nokia, rimm, Samsung, symbian, windows mobile on February 19, 2009 |
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One of the significant news from MWC 2009 (mobile world congress) was the culmination of rumors with official announcements of app stores. Now we have a long list of Application Stores including:
Why is this significant for the Mobile VAS (mobile value added services) market?
Until now, Mobile markets have suffered from 3Ds:
- Dollars or whatever Currency you prefer
Theses announcements solve two of the problems - that of Distribution and Dollars.
With smartphone sales estimated at over 60M units in 2008, it is clear that software developers only working on smartphone now have access to a large market. Should VAS developers even bother with lower-end phones? We will tackle this in a later blog.
How did we reach the 60M units number – based on many articles and estimates with the best one from Eric Zeman at Information Week. Here is the breakdown which may cause many arguments and surprise many:
- Apple shipped 14M in 2008
- Microsoft shipped 20M in 2008 – yes more than Apple
- Nokia shipped 18M in 2008 with N and E-Series counted as smartphone
- RIMM shipped close to 14M in 2008 of Blackberry Curve and up
With an average price of $20 per application/application pack for the life of smartphone, there is room for many $100M software companies in the mobile VAS space with focus only on smartphone. No need to have large expensive sales forces calling on many mobile operators worldwide as distribution is now possible from the app stores which in most cases give 70% of the revenue to software developers rather than 20-50% which operators are giving to the software developers. So what does this mean for Mobile Operators – relegation to being a dumb pipe or? Of course, it is different for different geographies – we will tackle that in a later blog.
Now comes the third problem something that has plagued most application stores including that of facebook, myspace and hi5. Yes that is the problem of discovery and this is where virality, usefulness and marketing becomes ever more important. We will tackle this in the next blog.
R. Paul Singh
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