Apple has taken the smartphone category that RIM first revolutionized and turned it into a cultural phenomenon with the iPhone. RIM’s been struggling to keep up with Apple’s cool factor ever since.
Hot on Apple’s heels, Google has taken advantage of RIM’s vulnerability through a surge of new Android-powered smartphones. Last quarter it overtook RIM’s BlackBerry share for the first time, a fact that the RIM executive team likely did not take lightly.
It remains to be seen whether slow-moving Microsoft will pose much competition in a mobility space that it has struggled in. However, given its heritage of following leaders into markets and then beating them at their own game, RIM may have something to fear from the new iteration of Windows smartphones.
Analysts have been brutal to RIM over the last year, beating up the company for not keeping pace with Apple and Google innovations and questioning the company’s long-term viability.
Early in 2010 Motorola petitioned the court to stop import of all RIM devices from the Canadian company, claiming patent infringement. RIM countersued saying Motorola broke licensing agreements. After six months the companies settled, but it’s clear there lies some bad blood between the firms.
RIM is hoping to jump start its prospects through the release of its BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. But it’ll need to get through the popularity of the new Samsung Galaxy first before it can capture the hearts and minds of its intended market.
These two Middle East countries claim RIM’s BlackBerry devices are a "security threat" due to the device’s strong encryption and the fact that RIM routes data traffic to servers outside those countries.