Troubled BlackBerry Maker Makes Surprising Move

Dennis Faas's picture

Research In Motion (RIM), based in Waterloo, Canada, has decided it will no longer target its Blackberry and related products at ordinary consumers. Instead, it will concentrate solely on the business market.

A big reason is no doubt that the company lost $125 million in just the last three months of 2011.

Thorsten Heins, the company's recently hired chief executive officer, said "We believe that BlackBerry cannot succeed if we tried to be everybody's darling and all things to all people." (Source:

Apple iPhone Popularity Too Much for RIM, BlackBerry

RIM first made its name among business users for two reasons: First, its handsets had a physical keyboard using the standard QWERTY layout. This made typing not just short text messages but full emails considerably easier.

Second, BlackBerry offered its own email service, with unlimited messages for monthly subscribers. This allowed companies to use their own secure servers to ensure messages couldn't be intercepted.

The assurance of ironclad security tempted a large number of businesses that had previously been worried about sending confidential messages over ordinary phone connections to commit to the Blackberry system.

Research In Motion hoped it would be able to cash in on these advantages with handsets aimed at general consumers.

But in recent years the market has shifted almost entirely toward Apple's iPhone and the range of handsets running Google's Android system. As a result, BlackBerry devices have had their market share severely squeezed down.

Technical Problems Also Limited Smartphone Sales

RIM has suffered through a terrible couple of years. In 2010, it faced crackdowns in several Middle Eastern countries that wanted the ability to intercept messages sent by suspected terrorists.

That demand was legally tricky because BlackBerry messages are stored and processed in Canada rather than in the user's own country.

In addition, some BlackBerry communications are so well encrypted that not even Research In Motion can reveal the contents to law enforcement or anti-terrorism officials.

There have also been lengthy delays in completing the next edition of BlackBerry's operating system.

These delays have translated into slippage of release dates for the company's newest handsets.

At one stage, insiders suggested that the new operating system was proving so problematic that even basic messaging functions weren't working properly.

Late last year, the company experienced further problems when a faulty router in Europe deprived users around the world of all Blackberry messaging services for two to four days.

That outage not only damaged users' confidence in the company, but left RIM having to step up for a costly compensation package. (Source:

Rate this article: 
No votes yet