Opinion: RIM is sinking -- time to explore options

RIM is flailing and fading fast, presenting organizations with an opportunity to break free from being BlackBerry-centric

Research in Motion's stock plummeted 18 percent on Friday, following quarterly financial results where RIM disclosed that it will not make its earnings goals for the year and plans to start cutting jobs. Even with two CEOs guiding the ship, it seems that RIM has had a head-on collision with an iceberg, and the ship is going down.

RIM has made the same sort of mistakes that behemoth organizations with virtual monopolies often make: It assumed that smaller rivals posed no threat, and it failed to innovate or compete until it was too late. The BlackBerry brand has been stale for some time.

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The newer BlackBerry smartphones that aren't stale just seem desperate, and they fall short of the features and capabilities offered by competing platforms like Android, iOS, and even Windows Phone 7. The BlackBerry PlayBook tablet was a disappointment that failed to meet expectations or live up to its own hype.

RIM may not fade to oblivion, but it will not be returning to its former glory, nor will it ever hold the dominant role in mobile devices that it once enjoyed. Organizations that rely on RIM should see the writing on the wall and consider the available options.

Organizations that rely exclusively or primarily on BlackBerry smartphones should start exploring the alternatives. Yes, RIM still has a lead when it comes to providing the tools and infrastructure to effectively manage and secure mobile devices. But it is a one-trick pony, and the herd is catching up.

RIM has actually made that task a little easier by expanding the capabilities of BES. At the BlackBerry World conference last month, RIM announced that BES will soon offer support for iOS and Android devices. Once the new BES is available, it will be a perfect opportunity to expand the options for mobile devices without having to completely abandon the infrastructure and management tools you already have in place.

This is the perfect opportunity to reassess the mobile device strategy for your organization, and shift gears if it makes sense. BlackBerry may still make sense for your organization, but you should at least examine the alternatives to determine if they make more sense.

You can't build an effective mobile vision by starting from a single device or platform, then trying to make your strategy work within that limited framework. Develop your vision and mobile strategy first, then explore the platforms to determine which meet your needs and fit your goals.

Android, iOS, Windows Phone 7, WebOS, and even BlackBerry all have pros and cons and unique aspects that might work better for one organization than another. Consider all of your options, and don't paint you organization into a platform-centric corner.

This story, "Opinion: RIM is sinking -- time to explore options" was originally published by PCWorld.

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