RIM Shot- Blackberry Heading into the Death Spiral


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Research In Motion’s new Blackberry 10 operating system was due out around now. And, yes, we know Apple launched their iPhone 5 and sold 5,000,000 the first weekend. So perhaps it was serendipitous that RIM has delayed its’ planned update.

RIM says they probably won’t release it until the Q1 ’13. But if they do things the way they have been, it will probably show up just after Christmas – when lots of new phones will be bought/given as gifts – and Valentine’s Day when nothing says “I Love You” like the gift of technology.

Anyway, to add to that sad news, RIM recently reported lower revenues, down $2.8 billion. Down again from nearly $5 billion last year, with a net loss of $518 million.

The company is going to eliminate 5,000 jobs or 30% of their workforce too. Thorsten Heins, RIM President and CEO, noted, “it is necessary to change the scale and refocus the company on areas of highest opportunity.” Perhaps he was thinking of repositioning all Blackberry phones as paperweights.

When it comes to smartphones, Blackberry used to rank high on our Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index but that was a number of years ago – before all the system blackouts and broken promises.

Loyalty does correlate with sales and profitability, after all. But if you look at one of the most critical drivers in the smartphone category – the availability and expectations around apps – you can see another gaping hole where the RIM brand falls down.

And now, when it comes to just that, the app-rankings (fulfilling consumer expectations versus the consumers’ Ideal) look like this:

1. Apple 89%
2. Samsung 83%
3. HTC 82%
4. LG/Motorola/Nokia 80%
5. Blackberry 68%

We believe it’s safe to report that currently Blackberry users have been tweeting their frustrations directly at @Blackberry. But based on our ratings and the actual marketplace, they’re probably using their computers and iPhones to do that.

Robert Passikoff
Robert Passikoff, Founder and President of Brand Keys, Inc., pioneered research in loyalty and engagement, creating the Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index® ,the Sports Fan Loyalty Index® , and the Women's Wear Daily Fashion Brand Engagement Index® . His first best-selling book, Predicting Market Success provides marketers a 21st century perspective on predictive loyalty metrics. His newest book is The Certainty Principle: How to Guarantee Brand Profits in the Consumer Engagement Marketplace.


  1. I’ve been a BB fan for many years. I still remember the first time I saw the early BB pager device, around 10 years ago at a conference. I’ve been hooked ever since.

    Except, now it’s becoming clear that ‘apps’ are where it’s at. I like my BB Curve, and it does a great job as a phone, for texting, and of course email.

    But apps? Not so much. Increasingly I’m frustrated that I can’t use the cool apps that other smartphone users have easy access to. And although I prefer the keyboard, I’m willing to give that up to get a bit more real estate on my phone, too. All the better to play Angry Birds!

    When my current contract runs out I’ll likely switch to an Android device. I’ve been loyal to RIM/Blackberry for nearly 10 years. If only they had been more loyal to my needs, too.


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