Ever since RIM's earnings call yesterday the internet has been a buzz with less than accurate reports about what was talked about. It did not surprise me that there were negative reports, but it did surprise me how inaccurate some of the news sites and blogs reported the call. The underlying issue here is seems to be how RIM is addressing its consumer base.
Now before we dive into the facts it is important to know that were talking about two different types of markets here. The Enterprise level market which purchases devices on a large scale, and mostly utilize RIM's proprietary device management software, and the general consumer market which mostly purchase devices for personal use.
The comments that gave birth to the idea that RIM was "giving up" on its consumer market were taken from RIM's CEO Thorsten Heins. When he stated that RIM plans:
"to refocus on the enterprise business and capitalise on our leading position in this segment. [...] We believe that BlackBerry cannot succeed if we tried to be everybody’s darling and all things to all people. Therefore, we plan to build on our strength.”
Yes, one could see how these words could translate to RIM giving up on its consumer market However, I think maybe some should have stopped, took a breath, and looked at the big picture before they came to the conclusion that RIM was giving up on its consumer market.
The facts are RIM is not giving up on its consumer market. In a response to pocket-lint.com RIM's managing director of global sales and regional marketing, Patrick Spense stated that:
“The claim that RIM has said it will withdraw from the consumer market is wholly inaccurate,"
Furthermore, RIM's VP Of Developer Relations Alec Saunders responded to the issue with a tweet this morning that stated that the "remarks were wrongly interpreted. We are not leaving the consumer market."
Now that we know that RIM is not giving up on the consumer market we can focus on RIM's real focus for the upcoming quarters. The enterprise customers. Let's face, it RIM's bread and butter is not the consumer market. The profits come from enterprise customers that are purchasing things on a larger scale. Here is where RIM's security and device management trump every other product on the market.
RIM is focusing their energy into something they have been doing right for years. They are expanding their efforts to perfect their core strengths, and their core strengths at this time do not include the consumer market. Will they get there? Maybe. Should they get there? Only time will tell reveal that answer. RIM is going to follow whatever path that is going to generate the most amount of income.
The Pivot Point
The pivot point for RIM this year will most certainly be the release of BB 10. This by far will be a game changer in the way both the consumer market and enterprise level markets view RIM. In a way BB 10 has to be a success, it has to deliver, it has to wow and it must be able to cater seamlessly to both markets. RIM delivered on the PlayBook OS 2.0 and they can deliver on BB 10.