July 16, 2008, 2:24 PM — It may be too soon to write RIM off, but as it stands, I don’t see how the company even has a chance against Apple and its iPhone 3G. Call me a cynic, but doesn’t it seem awfully ironic that RIM has yet to make any major statements about the iPhone launch? To me, it looks like a company that’s deathly afraid of Apple and still has no idea how it wants to respond to the success of its main competitor.
According to Apple, it sold 1 million iPhone 3Gs in the first weekend of its release and the new smartphone is sold out in dozens of states all across the United States. All the while, I haven’t heard one mention of the BlackBerry and more often than not, people are only mentioning it to compare its issues to the benefits of owning an iPhone 3G.
Needham & Co. analyst, Charlie Wolf on Wednesday said that although RIM is still the leader in the smartphone market, it might not last much longer.
"While RIM's dominance of the enterprise market appears secure, at least for now, the company's great growth driver-the consumer market-is bound to come under siege because of the iPhone,” he said. “We're cutting RIM from a hold to an underperform rating and reducing estimates."
Is this just the beginning of an increasingly dangerous ride for RIM and its once-dominant BlackBerry? The way I see it, RIM is in an extremely precarious position right now and as the iPhone continues to sell well and companies start taking notice of its new features, I simply don’t know how RIM can compete.
With the addition of push email, contacts, and calendar, along with Exchange support, the iPhone is now on equal footing with the BlackBerry in the enterprise space. And although it has already solidified itself in the consumer sector, Apple needed to take control of the enterprise and with the addition of these features, it’s well on its way.
Aside from that, the App Store has proven to be a major success for the company and has already exceeded expectations.
And while Apple was enjoying all its success, RIM has been left behind just waiting for its opportunity to make a headline and finally move the iPhone 3G off the front page. But the reality of the situation dictates that that’s probably not going to happen.
At its most basic level, the differences between the BlackBerry and iPhone 3G are major. Although both offer the kind enterprise functionality expected of popular smartphones, we can’t underestimate the fact that the iPhone alone is a far more impulse-worthy device.
Let’s face it – if you don’t care about the technical differences between the BlackBerry and iPhone and you’ve been listening to how wonderful the latter is for over a week and you see both sitting side-by-side in an AT&T store, which would you pick? The plans cost the same, both perform basic business tasks, both have application stores, but only one has a touchscreen and only one has been gushed over by media personalities all across the world.
Try as it might, RIM doesn’t stand a chance against the iPhone right now. And although I’m not going to say that it’ll be this way forever, I should note that RIM better get to work on something unique and revolutionary if it wants to hold Apple back.
If it doesn’t, the war is already over.