Since its announcement there have been many articles on how Appleâ€™s iPhone will serve as a competitive threat to RIMâ€™s BlackBerry devices. This website and others have noted that the iPhone will not be a serious competitor for RIMâ€™s core enterprise business, but will be a challenger in the consumer arena.
Iâ€™d like to explore another dimension, which is the idea that the iPhone may help to grow sales of the BlackBerry. The entrance of a strong new competitor can create opportunities for existing companies in a market.
First, the iPhone will generate new interest in the cell phone and smart phone market in general. That interest may well spill over into other brands and drive additional sales. In the music industry, a monster hit album is welcomed by the competition. Why? Because a huge hit only gets people more interested in music, and into the music stores (including the virtual ones), where they discover and buy other music. The same dynamic is true with movies: a success creates interest and sales of other movies.
Second, the iPhone will allow for a nice contrast with RIM. The iPhone will be a very strong multimedia device, but will almost surely be weaker at text-based communication. The BlackBerry will stand out as a viable alternative for those who prefer a real keyboard and strong email capabilities.
Finally, the iPhone will most likely cause RIM and other competitors to get better, to get sharper, and to put out even better products. A stronger product mix will only generate more enthusiasm in the entire market and drive higher sales.
In any market economy, competition is good for both the consumer as well as the competitors. Apple entering the consumer smart phone market only validates that the market is healthy and poised for growth. I have every faith that RIM will continue to be a dynamic and vital force in this market and will only be strengthened by the competition.