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RIM dooms itself with IT-centric strategy

Rob Enderle | April 2, 2012
RIM moves to execute Microsoft's old Windows mobile strategy - a strategy that failed in the world of consumerization. By abandoning its consumer efforts, it may be RIP time for RIM?

For instance none of the business-focused tablet products have sold very well, but iPads are rolling into even secure segments like healthcare as if they are surfing on a tsunami. If you can't get the interest of the consumer on a consumerization trend line then you're screwed and IT just is no longer in a position to fix that.

RIM Must Evolve or RIP

Falling back to something you know is a common strategy once bloodied and losing. However, under a market change where what you know is no longer in line with real world conditions, it is also suicidal. The world that created Novell is gone and so is Novell, the world that created Palm is gone and so is Palm, and the world that created RIM is gone and if RIM doesn't recreate itself for the new world it will be gone as well. This can be accomplished because the world that created Apple is gone, and Apple was recreated for the new world. That isn't entirely right; Apple drove the change and changed itself to be the most successful company in it.

In the end, if you are trying to survive, follow Apple example (which doesn't mean copy Apple). Rather, try to go back into the past. Time travel doesn't work and no matter how much we'd like it to be otherwise, going back to our past life after the world has changed doesn't work either.

Here is an idea: Find a way to make physical controls (like phone keyboards) trendy again or find another way to drive the world in a direction that favors RIM in product design. But don't go back to being IT-centric. That boat sailed long ago and it's not coming back.

Rob is president and principal analyst of the Enderle Group. Previously, he was the Senior Research Fellow for Forrester Research and the Giga Information Group. Prior to that he worked for IBM and held positions in Internal Audit, Competitive Analysis, Marketing, Finance, and Security. Currently, Rob writes on emerging technology, security, and Linux for a wide variety of publications and appears on national news TV shows that include CNBC, FOX, Bloomberg and NPR.


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