A new report, if it is to be believed on face value, is claiming that former RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie wanted to implement a “radical shift” in the company’s strategy that would allow non-BlackBerry devices access to its own proprietary network so carriers could tap into its network for cheap, inexpensive data plans.
The deal would see carriers in Europe and North America, according to Reuters, to allow social media and instant messaging services only so customers on lower pricing plans could upgrade from a standard phone to a smartphone such as Android, Windows Phone, the iPhone or even RIM (and if it was going to be a cheap data plan, then possibly the iPhone would be out of the question).
According to the report, because RIM’s network infrastructure is essentially a string of data centres around the world, where it encrypts and compresses data before pushing it out to devices via the carriers:
The system allows the BlackBerry – and in theory other devices – to gobble up much less bandwidth. So routing non-BlackBerry traffic through RIM’s servers would help carriers by easing strain on their networks.
So, why did this not go ahead? Well, RIM’s leadership team ‘veto’-ed the deal after it had some fears that adding BlackBerry Messenger to Android and iOS could potentially add another risk to the network’s security.
So, where is RIM heading now? Well, they have slightly opened up to the prospect of a more ‘radical’ change than to its previous stances. It opened up Mobile Fusion to let companies manage BlackBerry, PlayBook, Android and iOS devices; while the company is even considering the prospect of licensing assets and forming partnerships.
But old habits still remain, the company is hoping is big bet on BlackBerry 10 will wow consumers. Well, once I get my hands on one, I’ll be able to answer that question – because BlackBerry seriously needs the consumer support if it wants to attract enterprise customers.
RIM needs to get this in their heads: consumers and enterprise users have blurred – IT departments no longer dictate what employees can and cannot use.
If BlackBerry 10 excites, then it is still in the game despite a lack of market share. I mean, look at Windows Phone. The hardware sales are stagnate at best, but it has excited many consumers to use a phone running it as opposed to Android or iOS. Look at Nokia’s Lumia 800 – the hype surrounding it and some good reviews.
I know some people thought the PlayBook was a ‘do or die’ moment. However, I personally view BlackBerry 10’s launch is that moment. And if it doesn’t wow consumers – then RIM as a company looks really bleak.