Why Blackberry might have simply postponed its eventual demise
Classy handset hampered by OS flaws
But I fear that Blackberry might simply be as we say in Nigeria, taking medicine after death. It might be too late already. There are four reasons why I think this is an uphill battle for Blackberry:
- At its core, a smartphone as a device is only as useful as the apps available to use with it. The awesome 1024 x 768 screen resolution et al are all extras that make the apps desirable for a more premium device. And I am sorry, in a world of 800,000 apps, 70,000 is almost a non starter! That seems like asking a person looking for a new car to buy a scooter and be satisfied! And if you underestimate the value of good apps, just recall the madness created with Apple's snafu with its map app on iOS 6.
- I believe BB lost out most, when its solid base of company users and even government institutions and organizations finally switched to iOS and Android. These phones don't seem good enough to lure them back. Especially as more people use their iPhone and iPad / Nexus 4 Phone with the Nexus 7 tablet in tandem. I agree that these phones will help BB STOP the bleeding of existing customers, but not necessarily bring in new ones in significant enough number to enable it compete effectively with iOS and Android and now Windows 8.
- Microsoft, Apple and Google have the financial might to go the distance in this battle. There was once upon a time when Apple was light years ahead in this battle, that was just a few short years ago as recent as 2007 and 2009. But due to the financial muscle that exists at both Google and Microsoft, they have been able to stay in the battle with Apple and gain more and more market share. A key aspect of this is the all important fact that all of the three "big boys" have revenue steams beyond their smartphone business and investments. What does Blackberry have?
- And finally cross platform / operating system integration. It is simple, multiple devices, but ONE operating system, effortless integration. What I work on in my desktop I can easily gain access on my smartphone and tablet and vice versa. result? No matter where I am of what I have I am plugged into all my information. Life is easy(er), Period. This is obviously why Microsoft via Windows 8 has taken the time to ensure that Windows 8 runs on laptops, desktops, smartphones and even its gaming console the Xbox We see Google pushing its Chrome book and other services like Google TV. The future is cross platform integration of your operating system. Sadly in this area, Blackberry is not a big player, in fact it appears it is not even a player at all. It's only device outside it's smartphone business, the playbook was a dud. The more customers have a choice of cross platform integration, the more they will migrate to those operating system and thus those devices.
So does this mean that Blackberry's new hurrah will be short lived? Not necessary I offer the following simple road map to survival and success. What will save Blackberry?
- Accept the current as the new new normal and adjust accordingly. Forget about competing with the leaders at this point in time, that is, in the immediate future. Focus on retaining existing customers and then grow the customer base and keep increasing market share until the time is ripe to take on the leaders head on. And this time it will be with bigger and deeper pockets.
- Get the technology right. It is not good enough to simply be "as good" they need to be better, or, very different helps, and as we can see from the runaway success of for example the Nexus 7, cheaper. You know you are doing something right when for example, Apple leaders who once swore that a 7 inch tablet was an absolute impossibility is forced to come out with one due to the success of its competitors with the Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire HD et al.
- Explore the merger / buy out possibilities. I had mentioned cross integration above. Consider Samsung. Samsung has devices across ALL platforms, and in addition it is a market leader as well. A merger, or buy out will instantly give Blackberry potential access to all the platforms and devices in the Samsung stable: Smartphone, Tablet, Laptop, Desktop and even TV's and DVDs (though DVD are going to die any time from now). Samsung is not the only candidate, Vizio initially known for its TV's is not moving in to the smartphone and other device markets. Sony is another established electronics player with devices across all platforms. Though it would be rather complex, it could be a tough marriage made in heaven for Blackberry.
- Finally, do none of the above except for one thing, accept losing the market leader tag and focus on become a smaller successful super customer service oriented, maybe even higher end smartphone and telecommunication organization. After all you don't need to be big to be successful.