Preparing for Life after BlackBerry

Those of us in the IT industry have seen it coming for a while. Research In Motion (RIM), the manufacturer of BlackBerry, is hanging on by a thread and by all indication is on its way out.

CNN reported yesterday that RIM’s stock is down over 50% for the year. This is not a good sign. RIM is scrambling for answers to its shrinking market share and formulating new plans to revive the BlackBerry- most likely too late in the game.

A series of missteps and competitor innovations are leading the BlackBerry to its grave. Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android systems revolutionized mobile phones through the use of touch screen technology while the BlackBerry clung stubbornly to its old design ways. Don’t count out Microsoft, either, especially with their recent debut of Windows Mobile 8. It looks light years ahead of anything RIM has produced recently.

Failed new product designs and last year’s catastrophic worldwide outage only compounded the problems for BlackBerry. I could debate all of the technical reasons why BlackBerry’s back-end is flawed, but I will spare you the boring technobabble. Trust me, it is an overly complicated mess.

BlackBerry still has its core of fans. Heck, I was one until I bought an Android a year or so ago. I could never go back now. It was an innovative phone when it hit the market. RIM was the first company to fully consider the needs of the mobile business user. Many of us are comfortable with its interface and have become loyal fans because of it. Let’s face it, none of us like change. We like to stick with what’s comfortable and the BlackBerry is comfort. It’s the first useful business phone many of us owned and it’s hard breaking up with her even though we know she is past her prime.

I have held off on writing this blog for a while. Mainly because I don’t begrudge anyone from sticking with what’s familiar and makes their life easier. We have enough disruption without having to learn how to use a new phone on the fly. Unfortunately, it appears change might be soon forced upon us with or without our cooperation. All indications are that the BlackBerry is on its way out, maybe sooner than expected given RIM’s recent financial woes. It’s my experience that it is never easy being the last one off the old bus and on the new one. It’s time to start preparing for life after BlackBerry.

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