What’s better than one floundering Research in Motion? Two:
Research In Motion (RIMM) chief executive Thorsten Heins has confirmed on a number of occasions that he is willing to consider several new paths RIM might take moving forward. The company wants to license its upcoming BlackBerry 10 software as Heins has suggested repeatedly, but he would also reportedly consider a bigger shift. In an interview with German newspaper Die Welt, the CEO confirmed that selling off RIM’s BlackBerry hardware division would be a consideration for him, but only following the successful launch of RIM’s next-generation platform.
That’s the route Palm went, splitting into hardware and software companies. If memory serves, the two halves become whole again. Then HP gobbled it up, before spitting it back out as a redheaded open source venture. webOS was supposed to be the company’s savior, just like RIM’s new OS.
If that’s the route RIM does take, I wouldn’t expect the results to be much better. There are only two currently working models for smartphone manufacturing and sales. One, the Android way, is to give away the OS and let the OEMs do with it what they will. Samsung has made billions as an Android OEM. Then there’s the Apple way, which is to build the whole widget, OS and hardware together. Apple has made even more billions doing it their way.
Microsoft is trying to shoehorn its Windows business model into the smartphone market — right down to the name. Windows Phone 8 sells just like Windows 8: OEMs buy a license from Microsoft for each and every phone they build, probably $20 or $30 a copy. There’s just one problem. OEM’s for the most part ain’t buying. And what they are buying, they can’t sell.* The result has been a pretty dismal failure so for for Microsoft, and even more so for Nokia which has pretty much bet the farm on selling WP8 Lumia smartphones.
This is the path RIM wants to follow?
*Microsoft could have leveraged the WP8 OS, which is actually quite nice and has a decent app selection, by porting it to tablets. Consumers would have had more of a reason to buy the phones and the tablets. Instead, Steve Ballmer insisted on producing Windows RT for tablets, which remains amusingly free of apps.
“Windows everywhere” has led to smartphones that can’t run tablet apps that can’t run desktop apps except for the tablet that’s heavy and hot and still unavailable for purchase.
Oh. Sorry. We were supposed to be talking about RIM. It’s just that sometimes I get so excited talking about Tyrannosaurus Rex, I can’t help but ramble on about Triceratops, too.