Peter Rojas published a thought-provoking piece about RIM and BlackBerry 10. He said, in short, that the Canadian company should wipe out Blackberry OS and run Android or Windows or, barring that, sell out completely and offer a software package running on another OS. While both of those are logical positions, I think RIM will end up in far worse shape than those options allow.
RIM is popular for three reasons: the keyboard, BBM, and the back-end software. For most of this decade, IT shops have been able to send out fleets of BlackBerry products without concern simply because there was nothing better for email and messaging. Over the past three years, however, that claim has gone completely out the window. I would reckon that a nice IMAP server install is far easier and cheaper than any BB Enterprise Server ever was and, given this screenshot from the actual BBES “purchase” page, there is a lot of sales pressure involved.
What needs to happen (and what probably will happen) is fairly tragic: a major player, probably Microsoft, will buy the company and fold whatever patents and IP RIM has into its own cache. The buyer will pay lip service to the promise of a “bold new BlackBerry” and then, like Danger and the Sidekick, it will flatten the organization after all of the major talent leaves. BlackBerry will end up a footnote, BBES turned into Exchange, and WinPho 7 will make a “best-of-breed” keyboard phone. Given the improvements in batteries and materials, it should be hard to make a clone that runs as long as everyone with a BB expects it to. Plus, you’ve got the might and majesty of Microsoft behind it.
So, in the end, the question is not how BlackBerry will survive but when will it die? I’m bearish on the company – have been for years – and as good as those phones have been to millions of users, nothing bodes well for our cellphone neighbors to the North.