RIM’s innovator’s dilemma. RIM is king in the enterprise, because their solution caters to IT guys like nothing else out there, and that still to this day. The hyper growth market is no longer the enterprise, it’s the consumers. RIM is fighting its way in this market by slapping on consumer functionality on top of their devices. The guys from which RIM is racking loads of money are Enterprises, and Carriers, their view of what a user should be able to do, and want to do, is VERY much different than the consumers our there buying a phone for their personal use first, and work second. So for RIM how do you capitalize on the growth market the consumers, while listening to your Enterprise and Carriers customers?
The bad news. The numbers are stacked against RIM these days. It’s a tough battle out there, and Android is really giving the whole market a shake up. No matter how you look at it Android is going up, and iPhone is about the same. It would mean RIM is taking a beating in market share. RIM while they can still boast they are shipping a huge number of devices, in a growing market, one needs to ship more than the rate of growth of the market. Have a look at those two graphs, for more information. Thanks to @RobWoodbridge, for putting me on it.
Sure RIM creates great devices, they are different, and in their own ways as slick as the others out there, still not a huge differentiator. RIM has an OS, and now a new OS from QNX, can they really compete at building a world class consummer centric OS with the likes of Apple and Google.
The good news. What are RIM’s strengths? Its Carrier relationships and know-how, its enterprise know-how. It’s also the security understanding, and last but not least its optimization of the bandwidth usage.
RIM has to take it to the next level on those strengths. I think RIM has the opportunity to be the CISCO of the mobile internet, nothing less. With their strengths they have the software plumbing that will be essential before 2015 if not now.
Security – Five years out are we going to need more or less security? Is the threat then going to come from the desktop or the mobile? I think the answers to those is obvious, yes and yes. RIM is king in security and they need to deploy a product team to package what they got and build a sales force around its bullet proof security. Remember security is not just email encryption. Sell this infrastructure as a service to other manufacturer vendors, leverage Carriers and Enterprise relationships and they are ten times bigger than they are now.
Bandwidth optimization - So same smarty pants question here – in 5 years do we need more bandwidth or less? Well we need more, so much more in fact that no technology exists today to handle the load we will have by 2015. RIM today is like the Japanese car manufacturers in the 70ies the day before the oil crisis with their fuel efficient cars. They have such an expertise around optimization, they need to focus talent on this to make it into solutions. Again with their Carriers and Enterprises contacts they will hit a home run.
RIM has got some great things going for itself, and they can play more than the handset game. They can have an innovator's dilemma if they want and over analyse. They have plenty to leverage, huge market opportunities with what they have while still innovating for their biggest market and buyers. And that is that!