2012 has not been a good year for RIM. The company became a favorite punching bag for technology pundits as it continued to delay products and fail in everything from marketing to developer relations. RIM's co-CEO's lost their job, and the company's new CEO, Thorsten Heins, promised the company's new operating system, BlackBerry 10, would catalyze a turnaround for the company, something many tech experts thought was delusionally optimistic.
The company has finally pinned a release date on BlackBerry 10: January 30th. Rogers and other carries are taking pre-orders today, and RIM is sending out preview hardware and software to over 120 enterprise and government clients.
However, even if BB10 is a groundbreaking operating system that delivers an amazing user experience, will it be able to help the company recover from its moribund state? Mark Suster makes a compelling argument that, like Palm before it, RIM will die (or be acquired) no matter how great BB10 is:
Blackberry (RIM) will not survive as an independent company. Microsoft will buy it. Or somebody similar. They will use it to try and capture phone market share. I called this publicly 2 years ago. It has taken longer than I expected.
Why can’t [RIM] revive?
- It is nearly impossible to go from grossly uncool to even mildly ok.
- We are in a world where the eco-system matters and that means app developers. Who would sink their money into a moribund ecosystem?
- RIM doesn’t have a “core” business that can revive its fortunes in the way Microsoft does
So would the last Blackberry user please turn out the light on your way out? I have already left the building.
Legal has traditionally been one of RIM's strongholds, but even there the company's devices have been supplanted by iPhones and Androids. Legal software companies like Clio, Fastcase and others have decided to forego building apps for the BlackBerry (disclosure: I work for Clio). Given that users and companies alike seem to have left BlackBerry behind, the odds of a successful comeback seem slim.
Do you agree? Let me know in the comments.