Hello! And welcome to our Friday column, Worst of the Week. There’s a lot of nutty stuff that goes on in this industry, so this column is a chance for us at RCRWireless.com to rant and rave about whatever rubs us the wrong way. We hope you enjoy it!
And without further ado:
Sometimes it’s not even worth getting out of bed in the morning. Unless someone has made breakfast for you, and that breakfast includes bacon, but that’s another story.
For this story, that feeling is something I am guessing executives over at Research In Motion – oh, wait – BlackBerry, are feeling this week after throwing all of their heart and soul into a sort-of re-launching of the company, only to receive back a collective groan from the industry. And, from the financial side a groan would have been much preferable to the beat-down RIM – oh, wait – BlackBerry, received as its already battered stock price went a few more rounds against a young Mike Tyson.
For those of you that groaned so hard that it erased some of your memory, RIM – oh, wait – BlackBerry, unveiled its long-awaited follow up to the BB7 platform that had been powering its devices and ecosystem with the BB10 platform. (A platform so much more advanced than BB7 that it was allowed to skip 8th and 9th grade.) This new platform also included a pair of new devices: one that is all screen and looks like every other smartphone currently on the market and one that has a physical keyboard and looks like every other BlackBerry device with a keyboard on the market. Well done.
People have noted any number of a dozen reasons why the BB10 OS and new devices will not be enough to save RIM – oh, wait – BlackBerry, and I have to say that most of those arguments do seem to make a lot of sense. (Of course, I am also able to convince myself that a diet of bacon, burgers and beer is in fact a healthy way to live, so take that previous sentence with a grain of salt. Or better yet, take it with a burger wrapped with bacon washed down with a beer. I hear they are good for you.)
Heck, RIM went so far as to change its name from RIM to BlackBerry, in a move I can only imagine was made to lure the tweener market or to capitalize on the growing popularity of frozen yogurt stores. That shows to me that these guys are really dedicated to turning around their flagging fortunes. I mean, do you know how hard it is to get new business cards?
I will admit, I was a dedicated BlackBerry user for many years, and still at times yearn for the feel of a real keyboard when typing out rants. This, plus an unexplainable soft spot in my otherwise unfeeling soul for anything Canadian (syrup, polar bear, hockey or otherwise), makes me want to find something wholesome and good in what BlackBerry did this week.
But, who am I kidding. We are all adults here, and we are all very much aware of the times we are living in. Apple, despite what the tea leaves of financial analysts might say, is still a formidable player in the smartphone market. Samsung – with the help of Google’s Android and a willingness to make any form factor of device imaginable – is also a powerhouse that can only be likened to a T-1000 in its desire to conquer all. (I will just assume everyone has noticed Samsung’s recent marketing emphasis on its “SAFE” business-focused offering. Coincidence that was pushed out ahead of the BlackBerry re-launch?)
Plus, if the likes of Microsoft and Nokia are still finding it tough to penetrate the current market, you would think those polite Canadian boys and girls will have little chance. Heck, those number crunchers over at The NPD Group reported this week that BlackBerry sold fewer smartphones in the United States during the fourth quarter than LG and HTC. Ouch!
Look, I am definitely pulling for BlackBerry to somehow make this last ditch effort for relevance pay off. They have a ton of money and there has to be some people out there with at least a tinge of nostalgia to give them a go. Regardless of the outcome, you have to at least give BlackBerry some credit for throwing it all on the line in this attempt to re-find its place in the market, an effort that deserves at least an “eh.”
OK, enough of that.
Thanks for checking out this week’s Worst of the Week column. And now for some extras:
–I know Apple’s stock has been hammered over the past couple of weeks with analysts concerned regarding the company’s ability to maintain its otherworldly profit trajectory, but did you notice the sales trends posted by AT&T Mobility last week? The carrier, which was the original home to the iPhone, noted that 87% of the company record 10.2 million smartphone sold during the fourth quarter were some sort of iPhone variant. Dang!?!
We all know that AT&T Mobility has sort of become dependent on iPhone sales as those initial years of exclusivity led to a large number of lazy customers unwilling to change carrier or device ecosystem, but that seems like a ridiculous number. This despite AT&T Mobility’s (apparently useless) attempts to broaden the appeal and scope of its device portfolio. Wasn’t that the whole point of having a network that fell back to the GSM-standard for 2G/3G: Access to a broader device portfolio thanks to international synergies?
I know this bit of trivia will have no impact on those waiting to bury Apple, but it’s gotta count for something.
–Speaking of AT&T, that carrier has a hankering for spectrum. It seems that over the past couple of weeks AT&T has announced a double-digit number of deals to acquire more spectrum to feed either a tape worm that eats nothing but spectrum or its iPhone customers that can seem to tear themselves away from their devices. My guess is that if it was possible, AT&T would be willing to purchase any unused oxygen you might have circulating through your house.
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