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In one of the more refreshing RIM calls, new CEO Thorsten Heins pledges a refocused RIM on the enterprise market. While in the ensuing days the company was quick to add that it was NOT abandoning the consumer market, it was saying that it could not keep pace with its fervent change. Is this the right move for RIM? Is this the only move? While RIM still enjoys a strong share in many enterprise and government sectors, as illustrated by the company's first quarterly loss, recent trends are not positive. RIM has also had success with its lower cost devices in emerging markets, a position it is also having trouble holding on to.
Several months ago in a blog post we discussed the balance between RIM the consumer and enterprise brand. While features such as BBM have appealed to consumers, RIM has fundamentally not been a crossover brand. Is it possible to build a strong smartphone today without appeal to the 'consumer' first? RIM has admittedly been slow to respond to the consumerization and BYOD trend, however, with over 50% of organizations today with current or planned BYOD programs is it possible to appeal to the enterprise without winning the employee first? In their next generation OS - BB10 - looks to have a platform that will at least put it on par with its competition. However, with its release date not until late 2012, the stickiness of its competition should also increase making timing critical.
RIM's perhaps renewed focus on the enteprise makes sense and while it will limit its available market it will provide much needed direction for this organization. However, equally critical will be reviving the confidence of enteprise buyers that has been seriously tested during the recent service interruptions. RIM needs to refresh its image as the goto source for best in class secure business critical communications. Security will need to be at the heart of this direction - from communications security to security built into applications from the ground up. Tough times, certainly.