With the big news from RIM yesterday, it was a given that the market would react with their well-worn two cents. Here’s what the boys and girls in finance are saying about RIM’s newest attempt to take over the mobile space.
One analyst says the move amounts to a “slap in the face” of software giant Microsoft, which has become a major force in the wireless world with Windows Mobile.
“This is RIM saying to Microsoft, ‘We think our interface is better than yours,’ and I don’t doubt that [the BlackBerry software] is pretty competitive with what Microsoft provides,” said Todd Kart, a wireless-industry analyst with Gartner Inc.
In a note to investors, Abramsky said, “It is too early to assess whether or not the strategy could have any cannibalization impact on RIM’s hardware growth long term, but we view this unlikely in the short term.”
Abramsky said the strategy would accelerate RIM’s non-BlackBerry user growth, which had been reliant on the handset vendors.
A potential risk, however, is that the BlackBerry software may not work as well on devices from other manufacturers.
“The magic of the BlackBerry experience is how well it works from a user’s perspective,” said Gene Sigorini, a wireless-telecommunications analyst with Yankee Group. “If it’s drastically worse, that could hurt the BlackBerry’s image.”
The company did not announce pricing plans, leading some to wonder about the revenue potential for the move.
Jim Balsillie, RIM’s co-chief executive, said the company’s corporate clients made it clear that they would prefer to standardize around a single mobile e-mail platform, but not be confined to BlackBerry devices, “which seemingly was a paradox.”
“You have a responsibility of either supporting openness or you’re not the standard platform,” said Balsillie. “If you don’t do this you’re really not giving the carriers and corporations what they expect.”