Nearly a year ago I listed the major competitors in this decade’s mobile platform war. At that time, I couldn’t help but notice something:
RIM looks pretty bad here. They have little cash and no diversity, by comparison.
Ten months later, the cash and outlook aren’t much better, and we’re waiting for diversity in the form of the PlayBook: a tablet that runs BlackBerry Tablet OS, Adobe AIR, Flash, Android apps, and anything else that might possibly hopefully oh please be on the list of what you’re wanting in a tablet.
The rumored Android app support was officially confirmed this week. In true backward-looking enterprise fashion, it’s limited to the all-but-obsolete Android 2.3 “Gingerbread” runtime. (Android 3.0, “Honeycomb,” is the first Android version that Google considers tablet-worthy.)
If you’re wondering what this all means, let co-CEO (seriously) Jim Balsillie clear it up for you. The whole thing is an uncompromising miracle of confused CIO claptrap. If you own, or plan to own RIM stock, you must read it in its entirety.
You could argue that RIM is playing to its classic audience: business decision makers who just need a checklist covered and don’t care about much else. The problem is the genuinely good products out there now are already chipping away at the same list. “We have all that” is no longer enough. And no matter who your target audience is, clarity of message is important — only more so when you’re late to the game. John Gruber asks:
Which one of these is the native SDK for the PlayBook. Which one’s best? What is RIM’s advice for how developers should write PlayBook apps?
RIM has two CEOs and three COOs. Why is anyone expecting straight answers from a company that can’t even decide who’s in charge?
Here are some big takeaways for your next slide deck. RIM has:
- Very little cash
- Weak Q1 guidance
- No clear management structure
- No clear product strategy
If that’s not a win-win synergy of agile infrastructure assets, well you need to start pivoting.