RIM in ‘death spiral’ ?

image: from dreamstime.com (click to see the source)

Before I’m starting the article let’s talk about latest news and rumors about RIM. Since some time it’s always the same: RIM publishes their numbers from last quarter and most pundits are writing about:

  • RIM is dead …
  • RIM will be taken over by Microsoft, Amazon, Google, …
  • RIM in ‘Death Spiral’ …

Same happens last weeks – but this time (RIM’s Earnings Call 2012-06-28) it’s even more worse then before because there were really bad news:

  • RIM delayed the first BB10 SmartPhones to 1st quarter of 2013 and will miss the Holidays Season.
  • RIM will reduce headcount by 5000 in fiscal year 2013 to reduce costs

As an experienced software architect I can imagine the complexity and quality requirements to launch a complete new platform like BB10 and Thorsten Heins gets my respect for his decision to delay the launch. It’s better to have a great start instead of presenting a half-baked OS. In the past RIM many times launched Hardware or Software not state-of-the-art and lost customers.

It will be a great challenge for RIM to continue working on BB10 for the next 6 – 9 months or so.

Let’s try to answer some of the topics above:

  • RIM isn’t dead: look at all the activities around the world, talk with employees and feel their enthusiasmus about the BB10 vision
  • RIM taken over by … ? RIM is thinking about all possibilities and of course there are some worthful parts others could be interested in. But for now RIM is working on BB10 and the vision is to do it without selling parts. All the current acitivities would make no sense otherwise.
  • RIM in ‘Death Spiral’? RIM is loosing money, sales (esp. in North America) is going down, but
    • the company has no debt
    • Cash, cash equivalents, short-term and long-term investments increased to $2.2 billion at the end of the first quarter
    • RIM got a positive cash-flow last quarter (approximately $710 million)

After all the bad news, Alec Saunders (Vice President Developer Relations) cleary statet, that „RIM is commited“ to the developer community !

The time-frame for RIM to launch a new platform is short, because competitors aren’t sleeping:

  • 7“ Tablets: I like the 7“ formfactor of the PlayBook, but Google announced their first own Nexus 7 Tablet and rumors are saying that Apple will launch an iPad Mini later this year.
  • SmartPhones: Android has made a great step forward with 4.x OS, iOS 6 will have some more cool features, Android 4 SmartPhones like Samsung Galaxy S3 have a fluent UX and the next iPhone 5 is also behind the curtains

So the question is: will BB10 smartphones compete with actual (iOS – / Android – / Windows -) devices in first quarter 2013 and sprint to the tip ?

image: from dreamstime.com (click to see the source)

This question isn’t easy to answer, because BB10 is more then a SmartPhone or a Tablet: BB10 is a Platform, it’s a totally new User – Experience (UX) and will change the way users interact with their mobile devices. (Here’s Thorsten Heins answer on this question from one of the analysts of Goldman)

BB10 is also more then a single product: it’s a complete new platform.

I’m no analyst – only an Independent Software Architect developing Business Applications for small and medium sized companies, but perhaps my thoughts and my insights from the developer point-of-view will help to understand why I’m developing for BlackBerry and why I’m saying it could be worth for you, too.

I know the risks: it’s a great challenge and no one knows what will happen the next months.

I believed into Apple in the 80’s and I’m a fan of Apple since Apple ][ and all my working environment is based on Apple products.

I have a good feeling with BlackBerry 10, believe into the Vision and it’s a great pleasure to be in contact with so many RIM guys I met last months and feeling the spirit.

My decisions are always dominated by emotions and I think that’s not the worst thing in this technological world.

The difficult part for RIM:

images: dreamstime.com

Apple developed iOS three years in secret – RIM is making the transition to BB10 with all spots on in the public – not an easy way …

Why developing for BlackBerry ?

As you may know I’m at various developer conferences as a speaker (not only BlackBerry topics) and in discussions I’m always running into this question: „why are you developing for BlackBerry ?“.
I’m living in Germany where at developer conferences 90% are using iOS or Android and so I’m more like coming from another planet 😉

Below I’ll explain how it all began and if you’ll find the time to read this article till the the end you’ll know why I’m still on bord and believe into the platform.

Perhaps you have read that RIM will reduce headcount by 5000 – that’s a hard cut for the employees, but this doesn’t mean RIM is at the end. RIM is in transition to a new company with a new mobile platform. And
there’s not only a cut but also a growth on the other side. As an example: just these weeks RIM is looking to hire experienced Developers for their Developer Relations Team and more.

RIM is looking for …

  • Evangelists (Toronto, France, Poland, China, Dubai, Inida, South Korea)
  • Technical Platform Experts (Canada, Latin America)
  • Web Development (Canada)
  • Project Management (Singapore, Canada), Marketing ( Canada, Jakarta, Shanghai, Indonesia), …

Why on earth would anyone want to join RIM now?

Here’s the story of a guy just hiring at RIM. Luca Filigheddu from Twimbow joins RIM as a Developer Evangelist for the Italian market and here are 5 reasons to develop on BlackBerry.

So I’m not the only one believing into the future of RIM 😉

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  1. Intro
  2. ‘Death Spiral’. Why developing BB, Who on Earth…
  3. How it all began, Farewell Java ME, the ‘old’ RIM vs. ‘not your fathers’ RIM, I’m independent
  4. BB10 is a Platform, Cascades more then a UI Framework
  5. Thorsten Heins: the hard Way to BB10, BlackBerry 7 is alive
  6. Alec + Chris rockin’ …, BB10Jam Conference, Creating intelligent Apps
  7. Connected Apps with Cascades, Anatomy of a BB10 App
  8. Native Camera API, NFC Apps
  9. Location-Based-Services
  10. Flow + Invokation Framework
  11. Party, SDK, AlphaDevice, Keyboard, Magic Moments
  12. Markets: Consumer, Enterprise, Government, Automobile
  13. BB10 around the World, Apps Apps Apps…, Open Source
  14. Mission RIM possible ?, Empower People like never before ?, Three Wishes

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