I have had my share of rants about how RIM has handled its PlayBook introduction and the fact that they can’t seem to ship anything, but the non-existent tablet isn’t the only problem the company has.
[ad#Google Adsense 300×250 in story]The smartphone market was RIM’s to lose. They controlled the market with its BlackBerry device, but the company seems to have fallen into the same trap as the Palm Pilot before — they stopped innovating.
Before the BlackBerry became huge, Palm controlled the market with the Palm Pilot. Everyone had a Palm — it was the cool thing to have, but the company stopped innovating and they lost the market.
RIM is in the same boat with its BlackBerry. The only thing that broke them out of the box of being an enterprise email client is the huge success of the iPhone.
“RIM didn’t expect iphone to take off the way it did because it was so badly flawed from day one,” a former RIM employee said in a recent report. “They believed that users wanted great battery life, great security, great mail handling, minimal network use, and a great keyboard experience. They never expected users didn’t care.”
RIM products released since the iPhone are remarkably similar in form and function. RIM would have you believe that this is all part of the plan, but a company that is on top of its game doesn’t wait for the competition to come along and change things. If they know what they’re doing, they’ll do it themselves.
Even HP accused RIM of copying its WebOS. RIM didn’t deny the accusation, only saying “Well, when you’re trying to optimize user experience that juggles multitasking, multiple apps open at once and on a small screen, you’re going to get people landing on similar kinds of designs.”
RIM is hurting right now. It’s having trouble competing with the iPhone and its over a year behind on its tablet strategy.
This is how companies become irrelevant in an industry they once ruled.