ThoughtPiece: Will the iPhone be good for RIM?

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Since its announcement there have been many articles on how Apple’s iPhone will serve as a competitive threat to RIM’s BlackBerry devices. This website and others have noted that the iPhone will not be a serious competitor for RIM’s core enterprise business, but will be a challenger in the consumer arena.

I’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.

  • archer6
    The BlackBerry has a proven track record of reliability & usefulness. The iPhone is vaporware until it is in use, at which point it will take awhile to prove itself. The BB is a corp business device. The iPhone a consumer entertainment device. There is more than enough room in the market for both. Apple fanatics will buy anything. Even Vaporware.
  • nsimpson

    My post wasnt saying the pocketmac program was good, I was just saying that Apple squashed it as soon as they annouced the iPHONE. They dont want to give any support to blackberries. ie
    Apple never said a word about pocket mac until then

    I know how good or bad pocketmac is. I have been using apples since the apple 2gs and blackberries since the mobitext pagers/950 series.
  • Harvitpal
    iPhone is going to kill most of the blackberry sales in the ordinary retail consumer market. Email is available on all devices now, from a Palm, iPaq, HTC, Samsung, Nokia and now Apple. The solution underneath that makes it work. Who cares as long as it works. Blackberry (RIM) no longer have the email advantage, Thats dead in the water. Keyboard!? Palm, iPaq, HTC, Nokia all provide keyboards.
    None of us have used the iPhone yet so lets reserve judgment for how useful the keyboard will be until it comes out. I personally don't like the track ball and am inclined to get an iphone for the web access usability and email.
    Most of my friends want a mobile phone that can play music, email they dont care, keyboard - no way - they hate the idea! RIM will be negatively impacted in the consumer retail market. The business users (corporate world) will initially stick to the Blackberry.
  • Tedious
    The iPhone is dead-in-the-water for e-mail junkies. This is neither good nor bad.

    It wasn't designed with text communications as it's primary function. For those who need text communication to be priority, it is a non-starter.

    It will sell like hotcakes to everyone else.

    I think the iPhone will rise the tide on "smart phones" and all boats will benefit.

    I also see Microsoft pushing hard to control this market.
  • RS
    Pocketmac has been around for a while, it was only after the annouced the iPhone did they have an issue with the software."

    Not true...Pocketmac has been an ISSUE for quite some time now. It is riddled with problems and does an inconsistent job of synching. All you have to do is go to the "Mac" area on and you will see hundreds, if not thousands of posts on this issue. RIM bought the use of the software from Appliance Associates and never got involved in any aspect of the program. As well, there is no desktop manager for Mac users...c'mon, get it together. You can successfully sync Nokia, Motorola, etc with iSync.
  • nsimpson
    In response to the first poster who said that hopefully it will improve on compatitiblity between your BB and apple, i think it will get worse before it improves.

    They veiw eachother as competitors right now, apple wants apple users to pick the iphone and will try to as hard as possible for people who chose a blackberry.

    Pocketmac has been around for a while, it was only after the annouced the iPhone did they have an issue with the software.
  • Fact
    The problem with the iPhone is that there is no Administrative side to it - no server software.

    iPhone + BBConnect = Solution to both RIM and Apple's issues.
  • RS
    Great post, and I agree completely. So many Blackberry loyalists are so completely brainwashed about how the Blackberry will win the battle with iPhone even before it has been released. I love my 8700g, but I'm hoping that the market as a whole will continually improve upon what is out there. This comes from exactly what you talk about in terms of competition. I am a Mac user and I'm hoping that the announcement of the iPhone will get RIM to pay attention to its Mac user base. (No consistent synching, no desktop manager, no OS upgrading, etc.) Fingers crossed!
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