It is a new day for Blackberry – the rebranding of RIM, the new 10 Smartphones
But I am more struck by the management team that CEO (since last January) Thorsten Heins has been building. These are alums of Siemens, Sony Ericsson, Verizon, Vodafone. They scream telecom and enterprise. While they may be in layers below, I would have thought he would be bring in a Scott Forstall or a Hugo Barra who helped build the massive iOS and Android ecosystems.
No wonder this Z10 reviewer laments the continued paucity of apps
I scoured BlackBerry World (formerly App World) for the apps I use the most often on my iPhone. eBay? Nope. CNN? Forget it. Pocket? Uh-uh. Netflix? Notoriously, no. What about stuff that ties into my gadgets, such as Eye-Fi, Nike+ or Jawbone's UP app? Nada, zip, zilch. Okay, how about productivity-related apps I use for work, including Trello, Campfire and Expensify? Not a one. Even Pulse, a news reader I use religiously and has a simple HTML5 base, isn't there.
Apple as competition? See how the BBC badgered the UK MD this morning and could not get him to acknowledge it (thanks to my friend David Terrar in London for the pointer).
Well, maybe they are going after a different demographic than Apple or Google. They are targeting two influencers they are most comfortable with – those that reflect the background of their executives
There are at least a few telco execs who would like the clock reversed. As I wrote in my book “Prior to Apple introducing the iPhone, carriers paid device manufacturers just enough for “planned obsolescence,” and subsidized those devices to consumers. This allowed them to lock customers into another long-term contract with the new phone. There was little device loyalty. In fact, carriers like Verizon had the marketing slogan “new phone every two years.The iPhone is a platform with frequent software updates and an application ecosystem. So it has a much longer brand commitment. The device used to be the commodity in the equation. Now as Apple expands its carrier choices—AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint in the United States—the mobile service becomes the commodity in this changing business model.” Well, Blackberry may give telcos that wedge.
The corporate and government market used to be RIM’s most lucrative. In recent years, RIM’s problems and BYOD strategies at many companies has dented that loyalty. That is where the enterprise management focus comes in. As the WSJ reports
“RIM has responded by offering incentives aimed at getting CIOs to give BlackBerry 10 a try, including free software upgrades for the new operating system, a free phone for customers' IT departments and training to IT departments to help ensure a smooth transition. RIM also rolled out its upgraded phone-management software earlier this month, which now allows companies to manage BlackBerrys and other smartphones.”
Samsung has already shown Apple is not invincible in the enterprise. Blackberry could follow a similar script.
Blackberry may never (again) win the mobile features or the ecosystem wars, but if it can get the telcos and CIOs back in its camp, that is a sure way to survive and may be even thrive.