In the tech world there is a large amount of hate towards Research In Motion, the makers of such pieces of shit such as the BlackBerry PlayBook and the Bold 9900. I hate RIM, as do most of my colleagues, for a number of good reasons. They are the company that everyone loves to hate and they don’t do a lot to help themselves.
The biggest reason for me that I hate RIM is the fact that they make such utter crap but still sell their wares to technophobic idiots who see the devices as cool or respond to peer pressure. Many people buy RIM phones because they want BlackBerry Messenger, often known as BBM. This riot-organising service that doesn’t work is no different to any other instant messaging platform but it is only available on BlackBerry smartphones. Have these people never heard of WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger? These cross-platform alternatives do the same as BBM but in a much better way. While I understand that some people need a physical QWERTY keyboard, software keyboards such as Swype and the stock iOS one can be fantastic as well as the QWERTY touting Android alternatives like the now-bargain bin HTC ChaCha.
Another problem with RIM is the constant lack of change in their products. Look at their website now and there is almost no deviation in their design between any of their phones. Not only do they stick to the same designs for all their phones, with the odd exception where they add a touchscreen like one of the new Torch phones, but the specs for their phones are all crap and all the same as their other phones. Even their names are constantly the same, keeping the overall name of a product is fine, the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy brands for example, but RIM take it too far. How is the everyday consumer expected to know the difference between the Torch 9810 and the Torch 9860 by name alone? One has a slide out QWERTY while one is a full multitouch device. Why are these devices in the same product range? Why not create a new range for the futuristic all-touch devices?
All hate for RIM aside, there are a few things that they could do to help themselves. For a start, they could do something about the ridicule they bring upon themselves. BBX springs to mind. When you release a new operating system, the thing you have pinned the future hopes of your company on, at least check to see that the name isn’t already taken. Legal action from BASIS prompted RIM to change the name to BlackBerry 10, conveniently skipping out versions 8 and 9. Now the lawyers are fighting against BBM Canada over the BBM trademark. Hasn’t anybody learned anything from the Qwikster debacle?
Secondly, they need to sort out what they actually make. Why does the PlayBook, an enterprise tablet that nobody wants, not have a dedicated e-mail app? Why does it not have BBM, a key application for RIM products? Most of their products in fact are utter crap and they really need to sort out what they make before anyone will take them seriously. BB10 devices seemed like RIM’s Nokia moment, a chance to start again and forget the past, but now we hear that the QNX based devices will not have BBM and will be delayed until late 2012 due to microprocessors not being ready. That is RIM-speak for the software being too crap to see the light of day. That hasn’t stopped them before, but at least they are trying to fix things this time.
In conclusion, Research In Motion is in a bad place. Just look at their share prices. Maybe hiring a third CEO to work alongside Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis might solve things, as might a sale to Amazon, Microkia or even Digixav. What they really need to do, however, is stop churning out pieces of utter crap and get the
BBX BB10 devices out for the whole world to see. Or go and die quietly.