What is RIM’s New Product Strategy?

Last night we had an interesting exchange at TPMA about whether RIM can effectively compete in the mobile handset and tablet space for the long term. I am a staunch RIM supporter, not just because I love my Blackberry, but they are a very successful Canadian-based technology organization constantly showing strong financial results.

TPMA members involved in the discussion were completely convinced that RIM’s current strategy is flawed and Apple is the best thing since sliced bread. Well, I do have an iPod and a brand new iPad 2. I have to agree: they are beautiful devices.  Apple does have an uncanny ability to connect with the consumer on an emotional level which RIM doesn’t have. However, should RIM continue to focus on the business segment, pragmatism should win over emotion. The big question is: Is RIM now also trying to capture the consumer segment? 

My Queen’s Marketing professor, Ken Wong, would agree that being a leader in one market segment, namely the business segment, doesn’t necessarily make you a strong contender  in a different market, namely the consumer segment. With their Playbook strategy, RIM appears to be trying to emulate Apple by opening it up to Android apps and targeting the consumer market. Maybe RIM is too consumed with comparing itself to, and competing with, Apple. 

 Is RIM forgetting who its loyal customers are and what its real market differentiators are? I believe RIM is a smart organization with leaders who will make the right strategic decisions.

3 thoughts on “What is RIM’s New Product Strategy?

  1. Ninon,

    Good post. I really enjoyed being a participant in the TPMA discussion.

    I would add a minor clarification that I think everyone is rooting for RIM and for the PlayBook to be successful. The RIM cheerleaders seemed to be fearing that a marketing mistep might result in erosion of the core enterprise segment.

    Allan

  2. Further to Allan’s comment, it’s not that those of us in the discussion thought of Apple as the ultimate (I’ve never even owned an Apple product), but that Apple does continue to build on its strengths, while RIM seems to have forgotten theirs. For instance, in an enterprise environment their new tablet has solid advantages over the iPad, yet it’s called the “PlayBook”, as though it were an entertainment device.

  3. Rohan and Allan,

    Thanks for chiming in and for clarifying the tone of the conversation. RIM is best positioned to take advantage of the enterprise tablet market. So let’s hope the new Playbook, despite its name, will live up to the business user’s expectations.

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