The bad news just keeps getting worse for RIM. First, companies started choosing the iPhone over the BlackBerry. Now a financial giant is making the iPad its tablet of choice. Wasn’t the PlayBook supposed to be the tab that means business?
When RIM introduced its PlayBook tablet, the hype suggested that this was the ideal tab for serious business, the natural companion for the BlackBerry, while the iPad was just a frivolous toy for the masses. Well, things aren’t turning out that way. It seems like just yesterday that the BlackBerry was the go-to smartphone tucked into every businessman’s designer suit pocket, but in the third quarter of 2010, Apple’s iPhone racked up sales of 14.1 million units, easily beating BlackBerry’s 12.4 million.
On Tuesday, Bloonberg News reported that legendary investment bank JPMorgan is providing free iPads for it investment bankers. A pair of managing directors for the firm told Bloomberg, “We believe there are real benefits in our working environment that can be realized using this device—as well as the personal productivity and enjoyment that come as part of the package.”
How bad does this look for RIM? Very bad. According to Gleacher & Co. analyst Brian Marshall: “Apple represents a clear and present danger for RIM going forward. For the first time you have a viable alternative to secure mobile communications and by and large we see people moving away from the BlackBerry platform in droves in favor of the iPhone and the iPad.”
So what should RIM do now if they hope to compete with Apple in the future? Surprisingly, the best advice comes from their nemesis, Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who offered this suggestion: “We’ve now passed RIM and I don’t see them catching up with us in the foreseeable future. They must move beyond their area of strength and comfort into the unfamiliar territory of trying to become a software platform company.” Will RIM take this advice? Probably not.