RIM’s salvation lies not in more or better smartphones, but in a high-end, ultra secure data exchange platform for the world’s largest enterprises. Forget the phone market. Go for the gold.
Canada’s former tech darling, Research in Motion, has sunk so low on the smartphone popularity meter that there’s continual weekly speculation on who it’s going to sell out to, or what parts of its vast storehouse of patents it will give up in order to salvage investors stakes.
The latest smack to RIM involves a supposed approach by IBM to discuss a possible sale of the Blackberry maker’s enterprise-services division.
Everybody loves to kick around RIM these days, especially Apple-ites who love to look down their noses at the company that essentially invented mobile. (No, it wasn’t God, oops, I mean Steve Jobs). Presumably the IBM rumor was a reason for this latest swarming.
RIM apparently rebuffed the overture and many people believe it was because their chiefs were too stupid to see the writing on the wall. As with most pop theories, this one was probably way off.
Personally, I think (hope?) RIM boffins did so because they realized that enterprise service is their salvation.
When someone like IBM takes a run at you, you know you have something valuable. The former computer maker has converted itself to one of the world’s top, if not the top, IT consulting companies by focusing on the IT needs of the world’s biggest enterprises.
RIM’s enterprise services division is all about servicing the world’s biggest companies and organizations, which jumped on the Blackberry because its messaging system is impenetrable and ultra secure. Big enterprises, which account for far more internal communication than the low-brow open Internet, value that kind of thing.
So here’s my hoped-for innovation scenario for RIM. It wakes up, if it already hasn’t, and recognizes that the gold lies in its secure information transfer system, and not in pushing boring and often inferior smartphones on Joe or Jane Blow at ever decreasing prices. That’s a race to the bottom (for which RIM is a strong contender right now).
Instead, it abandons intentions to be the world’s biggest phone supplier (it’s already lost that anyway), and concentrates on what it does best — provide a platform for ultra secure data transmission.
It could charge a fortune for it, and large organizations would pay for it because they need to. There are just too many snoops, hackers and general low-lifes out there on the open Internet. So the timing is perfect for a private transmission network that girdles the globe.
And RIM already has the makings of it. No wonder IBM was interested.