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Will the BlackBerry Slander Never Stop?

Posted July 26th, 2010 by Andrew Goodman

When a company is #1 at something — or close to it — any hiccup that comes along is proof their days are over… at least in the bored minds of formula-surfing journalists.

Remember 2005? Google was on top of the world and getting poised to really rake it in, right? Actually, no — not if you listened to the press. According to many observers, they had peaked. In 2004, as I worked on the first edition of Winning Results with Google AdWords (after having persuaded the publisher that the topic was big enough for a book), the odd minor legal skirmish or revenue question mark would make its way into WSJ, and before you know it my editor was fielding questions from some VP as to whether to shelve the half-finished book. Because, you know, Google’s days were just about done.

So it goes for RIM, a $31 billion company that seems on the verge of going under — at least, if you believe the New York Times’ Chicken Little Finance Dept.

You see, there’s this thing called the iPhone. Check. So I’ve heard.

Now, there’s this thing called Android. Uh-oh. So long, RIM.

What I can never figure out is why all of these RIM-is-falling stories must begin with the company’s origins as a provider of secure, proprietary email management to a narrow cadre of corporate customers. I’m now on my second BlackBerry (nearly five years using one now). I never once made use of the Blackberry email system. I’ve always used it for mobile browsing and now, lots of apps (including all of Google’s, and the main ones I need like Twitter). The device itself (the 9700) is a great phone and all of the functionality I need is at my fingertips. What does that old email management niche have to do with RIM’s users today? Very little.

Savvy users are of course right to say that the OS and the lack of apps are drawbacks, to some degree. But does that mean you should start lowering the RIM coffin into the ground? No more than you should write off Ford because they “make all black cars” or “that Pinto explodes”. RIM is a great brand with legs, loyal users, and many options for further market penetration and innovation.

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