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RIM: What Happened?
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freudling
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Jun 16, 2011, 10:20 PM
 
I can't believe how fast big companies can slide in just 1 bloody quarter. Yes, I know everybody saw this coming, but man RIM seems to be in a free-fall. They're hundreds of millions of dollars short of their sales target this quarter for starters.

The PlayBook? 500,000 shipped. Ya, nice try Balsillie... how many have been sold?

The stock started to tumble on news that the UK carrier O2 decided not to carry the PlayBook because of end user issues.

Key quotes from the earnings call:

"Fiscal 2012 has gotten off to a challenging start. The slowdown we saw in the first quarter is continuing into Q2, and delays in new product introductions into the very late part of August is leading to a lower-than-expected outlook in the second quarter," said CEO Balsillie.

You mean because you're shipping the same junk you have been for a decade, and your gear looks like antiquated garbage next to HTC handsets and iPhones?

"RIM's business is profitable and remains solid overall with growing market share in numerous markets around the world..."

God is this vague. What markets, where, and how much growth? Overall they've slipped in the handset share rankings worldwide.

and

"We believe that with the new products scheduled for launch in the next few months and realigning our cost structure, RIM will see strong profit growth in the latter part of fiscal 2012."

They're laying people off, and they're going to start doing it shortly.

One caller, a shareholder, even asked about a change in leadership.

Is RIM a dead company walking?
     
Lateralus
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Jun 16, 2011, 10:31 PM
 
RIM is making the exact same mistake that Palm did; neglecting their OS. And it's a mistake I'm amazed to see repeated this soon.

The PlayBook is not doing badly, though.
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Big Mac
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Jun 16, 2011, 10:37 PM
 
They're not apps, they're super apps!

It seems like RIM captured so much of the business communications market and then got complacent.

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nonhuman
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Jun 16, 2011, 10:43 PM
 
I almost wish RIM had bought Palm rather than HP and moved their shit to WebOS. By pretty much all accounts, the PlayBook is an amazing piece of hardware with software that just can't keep up. Pair that with a WebOS adapted to a tablet form factor (and it does sound like that's the one aspect of the PlayBook software that RIM did well), and I honestly think it might have been the first really viable challenger to the iPad.
     
imitchellg5
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Jun 17, 2011, 12:34 AM
 
Originally Posted by freudling View Post
I can't believe how fast big companies can slide in just 1 bloody quarter.
RIM hasn't been sliding for just one quarter, it's been the past three years. They simply have no idea of the way the market has gone since 2007. I genuinely have no idea how they can be so blind and misguided, though I suspect it has something to do with a company that itself has no clear structure, what with three CEOs.
     
imitchellg5
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Jun 17, 2011, 12:35 AM
 
Originally Posted by nonhuman View Post
I almost wish RIM had bought Palm rather than HP and moved their shit to WebOS. By pretty much all accounts, the PlayBook is an amazing piece of hardware with software that just can't keep up. Pair that with a WebOS adapted to a tablet form factor (and it does sound like that's the one aspect of the PlayBook software that RIM did well), and I honestly think it might have been the first really viable challenger to the iPad.
So, um, the TouchPad?

The PlayBook hardware is nice, but nice isn't good enough in this market.
     
freudling  (op)
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Jun 17, 2011, 01:46 AM
 
Originally Posted by imitchellg5 View Post
RIM hasn't been sliding for just one quarter, it's been the past three years. They simply have no idea of the way the market has gone since 2007. I genuinely have no idea how they can be so blind and misguided, though I suspect it has something to do with a company that itself has no clear structure, what with three CEOs.
I know all this had a ramp up that's why I said we could all see this coming. You're right: they're terribly misguided. Old stubborn CEOs. It's funny in this age... Bloggers calling the play by play are good at predicting this stuff. Article after article about all the mistakes they've been making but they don't listen. They just get arrogant. Same with Palm and Rubenstein.

Seriously look at RIM's upcoming phones Balsillie is referring to... they're over at Engadget. Nothing really new at all! Same old junk. And their 'new' BB OS 7 is a joke upgrade. QNX? Years away from being on their phones. And QNX is going to get spanked by webOS. Oh ya, imessage officially sent Balsillie's pulse above 220.

Is RIM even with us 5 years out?
     
freudling  (op)
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Jun 17, 2011, 01:52 AM
 
Originally Posted by nonhuman View Post
I almost wish RIM had bought Palm rather than HP and moved their shit to WebOS. By pretty much all accounts, the PlayBook is an amazing piece of hardware with software that just can't keep up. Pair that with a WebOS adapted to a tablet form factor (and it does sound like that's the one aspect of the PlayBook software that RIM did well), and I honestly think it might have been the first really viable challenger to the iPad.
I think you nailed it. Now, instead of the polished webOS, they have the cheap Chinese knock off. It's sad when a company can't innovate on its own anymore. It's what happened to Apple in the 90s when they needed a new OS. They couldn't make one so they bought one. Except there was 1 big difference: Steve Jobs, the heart and soul of that OS, came with the package.
     
Salty
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Jun 17, 2011, 02:47 AM
 
At this point I'd say the best suggestion for RIM would be to do a heavily customized Android with BBM and push email on top. As it stands now, their software is years behind being ready, and they're really screwed themselves over. Their hardware keyboards are nice, for the diehard physical keyboard users. But other than that their phones are basically glorified quick messaging devices. They don't' even have solid industrial build quality anymore. They're literarily running on fumes of a tank that used to be full of name recognition.

The only people I know who still are impressed by a BlackBerry are people who don't speak english terribly well and heard that BlackBerries were good, and thus want them. Most sane people have heard of better phones for the same price.
     
Doc HM
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Jun 17, 2011, 03:00 AM
 
They have a pretty solid user base amongst school kids though. Far far more of my daughters friends have BB's than iPhones. The reason? BBM Kids can't afford phone credit and BBM allows them to chew through texting.
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Andy8
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Jun 17, 2011, 03:16 AM
 
Originally Posted by Doc HM View Post
They have a pretty solid user base amongst school kids though. Far far more of my daughters friends have BB's than iPhones. The reason? BBM Kids can't afford phone credit and BBM allows them to chew through texting.
Exactly.

BB still have a decent market share in South East Asia where texting is the norm.

Prime example is Indonesia: Why is Indonesia so in love with the Blackberry?
     
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Jun 17, 2011, 03:33 AM
 
Originally Posted by Doc HM View Post
They have a pretty solid user base amongst school kids though. Far far more of my daughters friends have BB's than iPhones. The reason? BBM Kids can't afford phone credit and BBM allows them to chew through texting.
BBM is the one strong card BB has right now, but there is a problem with that. BBM is like fax machines - the more of them there are, the more useful it is. This is why Apple is adding iMessage. If a certain group start tilting towards iPhones, that network effect starts working the other way.

This is also why BB is still strong in certain markets. BBM makes it hard for anyone else to crack any such market.
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Phileas
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Jun 17, 2011, 06:21 AM
 
In addition, BBM is under threat by a plethora of group chatting apps. Blackberry succeeded because they sold to CTOs, sold them on the promise of security. The enduser experience has never been important to them, because the end user was rarely a customer.

iPhones and Android phones made their way into the market because users started demanding them and CTOs had to, grudgingly in many cases, allow them in. That completely changed the playing field, changed it in a way that BB simply doesn't understand.
     
Doc HM
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Jun 17, 2011, 06:41 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
This is why Apple is adding iMessage. If a certain group start tilting towards iPhones, that network effect starts working the other way.
True iMessage may tip the balance for many users back towards the iPhone. If this happens then BB may well be a lost cause. Of course like Nokia it will take a few years for most people to notice.
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Wiskedjak
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Jun 17, 2011, 08:20 AM
 
Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
RIM is making the exact same mistake that Palm did; neglecting their OS. And it's a mistake I'm amazed to see repeated this soon.
Exactly my opinion as well.
     
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Jun 17, 2011, 08:22 AM
 
Originally Posted by imitchellg5 View Post
... what with three CEOs.
I particularly enjoyed how ONE of the CEO's said that the layoffs were intended to reduce redundancy
     
Phileas
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Jun 17, 2011, 09:09 AM
 
Two CEOs, not three. COOs they've got three of, if I remember correctly.
     
Doc HM
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Jun 17, 2011, 11:14 AM
 
Originally Posted by Phileas View Post
Two CEOs, not three. COOs they've got three of, if I remember correctly.
So no connection with their current problems there then. Difficult to develop a sharp vision when filtered through five sets of executive eyes.
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Jun 17, 2011, 11:15 AM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
They're not apps, they're super apps!

It seems like RIM captured so much of the business communications market and then got complacent.

That super app commercial cracks me up. Hey guess what, I have that exact app in that commercial on my iPhone and it does the exact same thing. Whoop-de-doo. SUPER!

Using a Blackberry feels like trying to program an alarm clock or something. It feels like it was designed by a thousand nerds in a dungeon who had never actually interacted with the real world.

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Spheric Harlot
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Jun 17, 2011, 12:09 PM
 
Just restating the obvious, but it's from an "insider":

RIM insider: fundamental cultural disconnect to blame | Electronista
     
ctt1wbw
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Jun 17, 2011, 03:07 PM
 
I think it's because people are realizing why should they pay money for a smartphone with a puny screen or pay the same amount of money for an iPhone or a phone running Android with the same features and a bigger screen?

The only single feature that RIM had was BBM. Who really cares about that? Twitter does the same thing really.

Granted, RIM builds a quality handset, but let's face it. They no longer are the only phones on the market with Microsoft Exchange functionality.
     
freudling  (op)
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Jun 17, 2011, 03:28 PM
 
Originally Posted by ctt1wbw View Post
I think it's because people are realizing why should they pay money for a smartphone with a puny screen or pay the same amount of money for an iPhone or a phone running Android with the same features and a bigger screen?

The only single feature that RIM had was BBM. Who really cares about that? Twitter does the same thing really.

Granted, RIM builds a quality handset, but let's face it. They no longer are the only phones on the market with Microsoft Exchange functionality.
I've been criticizing RIM since the iPhone came out and most people weren't listening. "You're crazy!" I kept saying how antiquated their phones are with tiny screens and physical keyboards and people kept telling me that Blackberrys were a solution and not a PROBLEM. That large screened smartphones like the iPhone and virtual keyboards were the real PROBLEM.

Reality: modern smartphones like the iPhone are 'the' real solution. Period. End of story. Jobs said it best on the iPhone 1 launch: physical keyboards don't change in relation to the application. That Apple solved this years ago with bit map screens that allowed for any application to take any form it wanted.

It's all about the Internet, video, music, Email... we need large screens and we don't need physical keyboards.

Ya, ya, all you physical keyboard lovers out there... the world is changing. No more typewriters.
( Last edited by freudling; Jun 17, 2011 at 04:42 PM. )
     
Peter
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Jun 17, 2011, 03:33 PM
 
RIM stopped innovating the year before the iPhone and have subsequently been obliterated, everyone saw this coming.
we don't have time to stop for gas
     
ctt1wbw
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Jun 17, 2011, 03:35 PM
 
The virtual keyboard has really increased my smart phone (iPhone) useage. I never really texted or anything until I got an iPhone.
     
SSharon
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Jun 17, 2011, 04:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by ctt1wbw View Post
I think it's because people are realizing why should they pay money for a smartphone with a puny screen or pay the same amount of money for an iPhone or a phone running Android with the same features and a bigger screen?
Kind of off topic, but I don't get why the carriers subsidize the phones the same amount whether you get the $15/month data plan or the $30/month data plan.
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Jun 17, 2011, 04:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by freudling View Post
I've been criticizing RIM since the iPhone came out and most people weren't listening. "You're crazy!" I kept saying how antiquated their phones are with tiny screens and physical keyboards and people kept telling me that Blackberrys were a solution and not a PROBLEM. That large screened smartphones like the iPhone and virtual keyboards were the real PROBLEM.
You're talking about people outside these forums right? Many of us here knew RIM was screwed as soon as the 2007 MacWorld keynote was finished.

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freudling  (op)
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Jun 17, 2011, 04:50 PM
 
Originally Posted by Stogieman View Post
You're talking about people outside these forums right? Many of us here knew RIM was screwed as soon as the 2007 MacWorld keynote was finished.
Ya, good point. But some tech nerds seem to hang on to this notion of RIM being 'great'.

They're dead... any move they make now is check mate, and here's why.

If they do anything other than the standard BB OS, they'll cause a major disconnect between their brand and their existing customers.

The Move on Past QNX Scenario

What do I mean. I mean finally moving on past the BB OS to QNX on all their devices will cause them to have to completely redesign their phones, because they'll need large screens to accommodate this new, very touch hungry OS.

Thus, their phones will take on a new look, which could be good, but they won't be "Crackberrys" anymore. Now we have a major disconnect between their brand and existing customers.

So, what if their new QNX based phones would be insanely innovative and fast? Well, great, but now you're up directly against Android handsets from the likes of HTC and the iPhone with years of innovation packed in. Plus, who wants QNX when webOS is better and available?

Stay with the BB OS

Staying with the BB OS for so many reasons is suicide... it's what got them in this mess. So this isn't an option.

Adopt Android

See the move to QNX strategy. Same result.

What I'm saying here is, RIM is damed if they do and damed if they don't. They rested on their laurels and are now caught in a firestorm of more advanced products in a world that has moved past the "Blackberry" era.
     
Salty
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Jun 17, 2011, 05:11 PM
 
I agree on the screwed either way bit. But keep in mind, they could keep the physical keyboard and just move more of their phones to the torch style form factor. That's probably the best bet for them. Though the fact that the PlayBook has no keyboard suggests that they're slowly realizing people don't need this.

They really should just be spending a ton of money on figuring out the best way to make a virtual keyboard and then move on over. I think they probably would also be smart to switch to Android as a base for their OS. It's not the best mobile OS, but unless HP licenses WebOS it's the best they can get quickly and have a real number of ready apps.
     
freudling  (op)
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Jun 17, 2011, 05:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by Salty View Post
I agree on the screwed either way bit. But keep in mind, they could keep the physical keyboard and just move more of their phones to the torch style form factor. That's probably the best bet for them. Though the fact that the PlayBook has no keyboard suggests that they're slowly realizing people don't need this.

They really should just be spending a ton of money on figuring out the best way to make a virtual keyboard and then move on over. I think they probably would also be smart to switch to Android as a base for their OS. It's not the best mobile OS, but unless HP licenses WebOS it's the best they can get quickly and have a real number of ready apps.
Good point about all the Android apps being available. But as I mentioned, any mive they make now is trouble. It's too late. Nokia realized things sooner, and they're in a lot of trouble. RIM is way late.

They should have bought Palm for webOS or heaven fobid partnered with MS. But it's too late.
     
imitchellg5
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Jun 17, 2011, 06:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by Phileas View Post
Two CEOs, not three. COOs they've got three of, if I remember correctly.
See, people can't even figure out who is in charge. No wonder they can't figure out even a low-end smartphone.
     
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Jun 17, 2011, 07:00 PM
 
Originally Posted by SSharon View Post
Kind of off topic, but I don't get why the carriers subsidize the phones the same amount whether you get the $15/month data plan or the $30/month data plan.
Carrier subsidizing schemes are very complicated. If a phone has a camera, it gets a high subsidy (one that by far exceeds the cost of the camera, btw), because a camera leads to high margin MMS. A shortcut button to it boosts this bonus. A button that goes directly to the web browser is also a plus, and so on. All of this can make or break a phone.
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Jun 17, 2011, 07:00 PM
 
<snip>
     
freudling  (op)
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Jun 17, 2011, 07:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
Carrier subsidizing schemes are very complicated. If a phone has a camera, it gets a high subsidy (one that by far exceeds the cost of the camera, btw), because a camera leads to high margin MMS. A shortcut button to it boosts this bonus. A button that goes directly to the web browser is also a plus, and so on. All of this can make or break a phone.
And in RIM's case, for a lot of reasons, I think their phones are broken.
     
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Jun 17, 2011, 07:41 PM
 
I was helping a friend to install a twitter client on her BB. It was an unbelievably complex operation, almost laughably so, for no good reason.
     
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Jun 17, 2011, 09:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by nonhuman View Post
I almost wish RIM had bought Palm rather than HP and moved their shit to WebOS. By pretty much all accounts, the PlayBook is an amazing piece of hardware with software that just can't keep up. Pair that with a WebOS adapted to a tablet form factor (and it does sound like that's the one aspect of the PlayBook software that RIM did well), and I honestly think it might have been the first really viable challenger to the iPad.
I, too, was pretty surprised RIM didn't buy Palm. WebOS is amazing, and it could've saved the BB platform. A modern OS with BBM and all that enterprise support would've probably done well. Of course, they got complacent, just like MS, and figured that once they were on top they'd stay there forever "just because".

Really, the fact they didn't even go after Palm shows you how arrogant they are. RIP RIM.
     
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Jun 17, 2011, 09:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by freudling View Post
I think you nailed it. Now, instead of the polished webOS, they have the cheap Chinese knock off. It's sad when a company can't innovate on its own anymore. It's what happened to Apple in the 90s when they needed a new OS. They couldn't make one so they bought one. Except there was 1 big difference: Steve Jobs, the heart and soul of that OS, came with the package.
Amen. It's kinda frightening how many companies make a product (phone computer etc.) and don't put one iota of thought into usability. The fact that people are whining about 10.7 being "dumbed down" just goes to show how much everyone else doesn't get it.

I see an iPhone/iPad commercial, what do I see? People using the device - Yelp, FaceTime, yadda yadda. What do you see on Android commercials? A voice listing spec after spec.
     
Lateralus
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Jun 17, 2011, 09:38 PM
 
I tend to think RIM purchasing Palm would have only resulted in the death of WebOS.

A badly lead company can inherit great technology through acquisition and the end result is the dooming of that great technology; the corporate mindset of RIM would have needed to change concurrently, and I don't think it would have.
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Jun 18, 2011, 12:07 AM
 
Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
I tend to think RIM purchasing Palm would have only resulted in the death of WebOS.

A badly lead company can inherit great technology through acquisition and the end result is the dooming of that great technology; the corporate mindset of RIM would have needed to change concurrently, and I don't think it would have.
Agreed. webOS is great software, but great software needs great hardware, and sadly, RIM haven't shown even a hint of capability of producing a modern piece of hardware. HP aren't doing them justice either, but the Pre 3 is much closer to the mark than a Bold 3 with webOS would be.
     
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Jun 18, 2011, 03:12 AM
 
The worst thing is, RIM does have a few things really well. You can call someone quicker on a BlackBerry than you can on an iPhone, just type the first few letters of their name and BOOM. iPhone, you gotta find it in a list and it takes longer. That said, how often do you call someone? I wish they'd put that much thought into other things because if you're gonna keep a keyboard all the time, make it worth something. The rest of their apps don't have that much thought.
     
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Jun 18, 2011, 05:30 AM
 
Originally Posted by Salty View Post
The worst thing is, RIM does have a few things really well. You can call someone quicker on a BlackBerry than you can on an iPhone, just type the first few letters of their name and BOOM. iPhone, you gotta find it in a list and it takes longer.
Press the home button enough times that you get to the search box. Start typing. Contacts show up mixed in with everything else - just select the one you want and you are at their contact screen where you can call or text them. For some reason I also start calling people by going to the phone app, but I'm trying to relearn as the search box is much faster.
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Jun 18, 2011, 06:11 AM
 
That MIGHT work if there was a phone button beside their name. As it stands right now it's only slightly quicker. Still, in the time it takes to unlock the phone you'd already be calling someone on a BB. Granted that's not reason enough to switch back for me. I'm just saying, they had a few things they did well. The problem is that the platform really can't compete with Android or iOS.

That said, most of their benefits could be ported to an exclusive top layer on top of Android. Throw in a torch with a modern processor (I think they use old processors for cheapness not because they actually couldn't do it quickly) and pop in Android with a custom set of major apps and the ability to run the general third party Android apps. It'd be a lot quicker than fixing QNX.
     
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Jun 18, 2011, 08:01 AM
 
RIM are really just a one hit wonder who got complacent.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
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Jun 18, 2011, 09:11 AM
 
Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
I tend to think RIM purchasing Palm would have only resulted in the death of WebOS.

A badly lead company can inherit great technology through acquisition and the end result is the dooming of that great technology; the corporate mindset of RIM would have needed to change concurrently, and I don't think it would have.
Indeed. This is exactly why RIM is hurting. At the corporate level, they haven't had the vision to see that, unchanged at a fundamental level, their product would eventually fail.
     
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Jun 18, 2011, 10:17 AM
 
Don't worry about BBs. They will shine at any retro mobile meeting in the near future.
     
driven
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Jun 18, 2011, 02:26 PM
 
Yes, the Playbook *is* doing bad. I hate to say it, but Windows Phone 7 has sold more. I can think of a number of reasons why, but it's pointless. They showed up to a gunfight with a knife.

RIM is still a bit arrogant right now. This reminds me a lot of Palm at it's peak. I hope RIM figures it out. Kitchner/Waterloo is really a one-trick town, and if RIM fails, it will seriously affect the local economy.
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nonhuman
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Jun 18, 2011, 02:40 PM
 
The easier Apple makes it for people to switch from BB to iOS, the faster RIM will die. It's pretty much already happening in my company, all the execs have iPads, and my iPad is the only way I check or send work email anymore. I have a Blackberry, but the day I got my iPad set up with my work email (it was a huge pain because we're on Lotus Notes...) I put the BB back in its box and locked it in a cupboard.
     
driven
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Jun 18, 2011, 02:43 PM
 
Originally Posted by nonhuman View Post
The easier Apple makes it for people to switch from BB to iOS, the faster RIM will die. It's pretty much already happening in my company, all the execs have iPads, and my iPad is the only way I check or send work email anymore. I have a Blackberry, but the day I got my iPad set up with my work email (it was a huge pain because we're on Lotus Notes...) I put the BB back in its box and locked it in a cupboard.
What do you use? Lotus Notes traveler isn't too bad to set up. (It basically uses the same Exchange interface as ... well ... Exchange)
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nonhuman
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Jun 18, 2011, 02:50 PM
 
Originally Posted by driven View Post
What do you use? Lotus Notes traveler isn't too bad to set up. (It basically uses the same Exchange interface as ... well ... Exchange)
Yep, we're using Traveler. On my iPad it's awesome, I just set it up as an Exchange account after adding the certificate/profile. On my Android phone it was slightly more of a pain as I had to download a special app that then installed separate mail and calendar apps. Although this had the benefit of completely segregating my work and personal email so it wasn't too bad (also Traveler for Android is broken in such a way that you don't actually have to give your IT department the ability to remotely wipe your device which is nice), as opposed to my iPad (which I own personally, it's not corporate-issue) where I now have to use one signature for all email accounts (I have three), which effectively means I have to use my boring work signature for everything.

The pain in using Traveler for my iPad had more to do with our IT department. They're only allowing a small number of employees to use it right now while they 'evaluate' (I assume this means 'gain competence'), so I had to apply to the program, wait to be accepted, then wait to be given access.
     
Eug
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Jun 18, 2011, 03:33 PM
 
Back in 2006 I told people I could not understand why Blackberry was still successful, as I thought their hardware and OS were garbage even back then, before the iPhone. I guess it's taken this long for the masses this long to figure that out.

As for the iPad, I'm considering getting rid of mine. We just don't use it. For the iPhone, I do use it all the time, but the one thing it is the worst at is being an actual phone. It's a PITA to actually phone somebody using the iPhone.
     
Lateralus
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Jun 18, 2011, 03:41 PM
 
Lateralus want Pre 3
I like chicken
I like liver
Meow Mix, Meow Mix
Please de-liv-er
     
 
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