The first smartphone a lot of business users ever had was a BlackBerry. But the way things are going, their next one won’t be.
Research In Motion (RIM), maker of BlackBerry, has had a rough go of it as of late. Facing declining market share and intense competition from Apple, Google and a handful of other smartphone makers, the former darling of next-gen handsets has been in a bonafide tailspin in recent years. With Thursday’s news that its new line of phones will be delayed until 2013, the future for RIM and its BlackBerry line, which at one time was the go-to device for the enterprise, is as dark as ever.
Thursday’s news came amidst RIM’s earnings statement, which itself was less than promising. Its revenue was down 33 percent from last quarter and the company said it’s expecting further losses down the road, including a “restructuring program” that will cut 5,000 jobs from its workforce of 16,500. No matter how they spin it, it’s never a good thing when a company cuts more than 30 percent of its workforce.
That news also comes on the heels of two massive, well-attended conferences from RIM’s biggest competitors, Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference and Google I/O, where both companies announced some truly innovative products geared not just toward consumers but also the enterprise.
RIM’s earnings statement mapped back pretty closely to a report by Morgan Stanley analyst Ehud Gelblum, who just the other day projected the company would eventually cut 90 percent of its workforce, as it ships fewer and fewer devices over the short-term.
So what’s RIM’s nosedive mean for field service firms? Well for one, if you’re still using BlackBerry devices (and many techs still are), don’t count on too many product and/or software updates to boost functionality. Second, you might soon be left behind your competitors who are likely already using tablets and smartphones with much more applicable and innovative capabilities. RIM has proven it’s way behind its competitors on developing and implementing useful features like maps and collaboration abilities into its devices (see the digital mapping wars between Apple and Google).
Looks like it might be time to finally rethink your company’s device of choice. RIP, RIM.