Why RIM should not be considered out

RIM posted the shipments of its Blackberry devices last week. Shipments are growing 40 per cent year on year to 14.2 million devices.

Some people tend to consider that RIM is out or will be out of the market because it has not a strong proposition in the mainstream monolith formfactor and touch interfaces.

RIM souldn’t be considered out because it has strong fundamentals:

  • operators love BB devices because they are not data thirsty in a scarce bandwidth environment.
  • BB are very strong on the QWERTY formfactor
  • BB has a strong value proposition for business and consumers alike with mail and free IM
  • RIM has invested a lot in advertising building up its BB brand

Surely RIM hasn’t the Android growth, but BlackBerry is still a verystrong and attractive platform.

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RIM’s encryption and state security

RIM is currently under scrutiny by UAE and Indian governments. Both want access to BlackBerry emails and BBM for national security issues.

> Telecom.com coverage

These governments want to be able to intercept communications as every country is doing on a GSM network. It is pretty easy on a mobile network as long as you have the encryption keys which are the same for every user and an access to the commutation equipments. Nokia Siemens Networks faced some issues during the 2009 unrest in IRAN. NSN have been accused to provide intercept capabilities to the Iranian Government. NSN denied providing any web and data intercept solution that helped the Iranian government to censor and track down opponents. NSN confessed to have provided voice intercept solutions. > NSN press release

In some Western Countries like France BlackBerries are banned from the Army and Government. The issue there is not be able to intercept the emails, apparently there is no issue for the local spies, but the NSA having a direct link to RIM’s servers. The US is sharing with some countries (Canada, UK, Australia, New Zeland) its intelligence but not with some other of its allies. And its other allies seem to like  having some little secrets not shared with the Uncle Sam.

Please put some Xbox DNA in Windows Mobile 7

The positioning of each mobile platform today is quite simple and straightforward:

  • Apple iOS: best of class UX, casual gaming, browsing and apps
  • Google Android: browsing, Google services, apps
  • Nokia Symbian: best of class turn by turn navigation, music
  • RIM Blackberry: best of class email and messaging

But where will stand Windows Phone 7 in 3 months from now?

Windows Mobile 7 should bring a very good UX but to which extend? We will need to play with some devices to find out. What could be really WP7 DNA and USP is gaming. Not only casual gaming à la iPhone but real hardcore gaming à la Xbox. Just imagine you could play Halo or Tiger Woods PGA Tour with nearly the same graphics and game play as on a Xbox 360.That would bring a differentiating feature no other platform could imitate.

If Windows Phone 7 is just a copy of the iPhone UX, the platform will continue to struggle. The key for Microsoft is to find its own DNA. Xbox seems the right DNA donor.

A Nokia Windows Mobile 7? Stop dreaming !

Microsoft has just ported its Office Communicator suite to Symbian and Nokia will offer it from its Ovi store to E72 and E52 users.
Some already foresee that the next move will be a WiMo device from Nokia. > See telecom.com article.
I believe they are totally misunderstanding this move.

First, there is already a communicator client for 18 months for … BlackBerry devices. > See RIM website
Microsoft is just adapting its product to the demand and Nokia is the main player in the enterprise space with RIM.

Secondly, this is an acknowledgement that Microsoft has failed with Windows Mobile in the enterprise market. Anyway Microsoft is no longer interested in this market : with its Kin devices and Windows Phone 7 OS, Microsoft is now focusing on consumers from 10 to 40 years old.

At the launch of Windows Phone 7, by the end of 2010, CIO will have no choice but to stay with the ageing WM6.5 platform or migrate to another one but definitely not WM7 as there will be no way to run the business application they have developed internally and even worse no way to side load them. Hence, one can expect very strong enterprise sales from RIM and Nokia in Q4 and Q1. (buy some shares 😉 )

What is really puzzling, is the Microsoft approach to the mobile market. They are always chasing someone: previously RIM, now Apple and Android but never following their own way. Let’s bet that if they change their mind again in 18 months from now, gaining back the CIOs to Windows Mobile will be tough.