What's Ahead for Blackberry?

Kochutressia is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.

These are the days of war...corporate war! There is no place for the slow and the incompetent. Innovation is the key to victory. But more than innovation, what matters is being in the market with an up-to-date product line.

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is the czar of innovation. Apple revolutionized the world of mobile phones and touch pads with its amazing line of products like the iPhone and the iPad. iOS, their impressive operating system, has been the backbone of every portable products they developed. These products changed the way mobile phones and tablets were used. The interfaces of these devices are so user friendly that even kids find it easy and enjoyable to use them. In fact, iPads and iPhones are not only being used for personal use but also for commercial and business use.

Before iPhone, Blackberry phones sold like hot cakes. Blackberry was a symbol of class; initially, BB phones were targeted for business men and women, called the Blackberry boys. But later the popularity of Blackberry spread and it could be seen in the hands of everyone who was looking out for a stylish mobile phone. Blackberry was being used in every organization because of its strong security features.

But then suddenly something happened that changed the fate of Blackberry. The brand from Research in Motion (NASDAQ: BBRY) lost its charm. They were not quick enough to adapt to the change that iPhone brought to the smart phone market. They lacked innovation, and their product launch kept getting delayed.

Blackberry had always been the choice of government organizations. President Obama, FBI agents, military officials, etc. all preferred Blackberry phones for one big reason: security. Blackberry phones do not entertain millions of third party apps and are very careful before approving an app for their phones. But security alone cannot appease consumers. Blackberry lacks many features and functionalities that its rivals possess, and the company may be losing its government buying base.  The BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) initiative has seen many government employees getting their iPhone or Android devices to work. Moreover, the iPad is now being used in most government organizations. Hence employees are switching to iPhone for compatibility reasons.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has been a big customer for Blackberry. But due to the delay in upgrades from Blackberry the NTSB has decided to replace it with the iPhone. The department -- which investigates travel incidents, such as air crashes and train accidents -- added that its planned move to replace BlackBerry phones with iPhone 5 devices is part of a process to "standardize on a minimum number of operating platforms." The NTSB already uses iPad devices, for instance. 

At this rate, soon Blackberry would be a historic brand. But it’s not that Blackberry is not doing anything. Recently RIM announced that two phones powered by a new operating system called Blackberry 10 will be launched on Jan. 30, 2013. This has been a ray of hope for  investors. On Monday RIM rose $0.32, or 2.74%, to $11.98 a share. In the past month the stock price of RIM has risen 55%, while in the past 3 months it has increased by almost 70%. 

<img src="/media/images/user_14029/bb_large.PNG" />

**Source: http://www.nasdaq.com/symbol/rimm/interactive-chart?timeframe=3m

This is a clear indication that there are people who still believe in Blackberry and are waiting patiently for the new launch. RIM has been showing the prototypes of the new phones to customers, reporters, and analysts. Also, few carriers are in the process of testing the new devices. Optimism is in the air.

But the competitors of Blackberry are already way ahead in the race. Google’s (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android devices are the world’s best selling smart phone devices. Being an open source operating system, there is a huge number of applications for Android. Many OEMs like Samsung, LG, Sony, HTC, etc. manufacture smart phones with Android as the operating system. Google has also launched the Nexus series, which is purely Android based devices. These phones may also be a hit among the users very soo,n as they would be the first to get Android updates and are best optimized for Android. Due to high fragmentation, Android devices are not preferred in the corporate world.

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) is another big threat to RIM. Microsoft recently released its new Operating System Windows 8 with the Metro user interface (UI), which has been designed for both traditional desktops and laptops and the new touch devices. Many of the followers of Windows were waiting eagerly for the new release. Many OEMs like Nokia, Samsung, HTC, HP, Dell, etc. launched Windows 8 Smart Phones and Tablets. However, the change in the UI was drastic compared to the older version on Windows. Hence it would take some time for users to get a hang of it. Sales of Windows 8 did not meet the expectations of Microsoft in the early days, owing to the change in the UI. But this may be a temporary problem and Windows may be back in action soon.

Just like Windows, Blackberry OS also has many fans waiting eagerly for the latest version. We all hope that Blackberry’s new OS is able to meet the expectations of its users. This could be the last hope for the survival of this brand.


tressia88 has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Google, and Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Apple, Google, and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. Is this post wrong? Click here. Think you can do better? Join us and write your own!

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