Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Future of RIM

I like RIM. To be fair, I loved them for a long time. Even if I only carried a Blackberry for about a year. But recently I have begun to believe what I saw when I posted this about a year and a half ago may never come to be reality.

I remember seeing the original Blackberry in discussions back in 1999. I called it a mushroom. It was a funny looking thing, but it had a reality which I knew and wanted and loved, but in a better form factor, that thing couldn't fit in any pocket I had at the time.

Most people who know me understand my passion is in messaging and has been for nearly 20 years. A joke to some because of my lack of ability to argue coherently at times or my proven ability to say the wrong thing at the wrong time in some circumstances, perhaps a few times over, or because I prefer to keep many things private as well.

Yet when people ask me why I do what I do, it's because I want to see people share ideas. Not your political views or biased monetary perspectives but your real ideas. True ideas are never right or wrong, but sharing ideas leads to a greater insight and more productive business in many cases. Others have written about this and we see it daily in our crowdsourcing ways on Facebook, Twitter or whatever your method of asking your friends for input.

But from an early time I believed that business suffered because of a lack of sharing of information. When I first saw Lotus Notes, and this was version 2.0, I could see a better way and thus sparked my corporate life in messaging and collaboration and wireless technologies.

While I saw the Blackberry as a great step forward, I also realized the great downside to the individual who could and would be connected 24x7. A scary possibility which has basically come to fruition.

With the Blackberry Server RIM laid claim to an almost impossible leadership level not seen since Novell 3.x ruled the network file server world. Good Technologies, subsequently bought by Motorola and last week bought by Visto was never really a competitor. Time will tell if Visto has the right idea by breaking into RIMs key area, telcos, in a similar way to how Microsoft toppled Novell.

And although we the Lotus faithful may love Lotus Notes Traveler, it is not a BES although it does do much of what we want...just not for blackberries.

Will BES work with iPhones? Or Android? Or will it die because of the recent Visto purchase of Good?

We are watching the tide change again, but to whom and when? Apple? Google? Someone or something unknown today?

I still like RIM, but the ability of it to lead us, the client or the vendor, perhaps has left them. The company that could change it's direction at the whim of it's executive team needs to dig in and look at a greater reality and point their compass anew and take that step to another level once again.

I hope they do.

I submitted some ideas for WES 2010 and it wasn't because I think RIM is dead, but about a renewed growth which might be on the way for them and my wish to see it continue.