The Rise and Fall of RIM

21 Oct

In 2002, Research in Motion released the first model of the BlackBerry, the first cellular phone that focused on Internet capabilities.  Up to the release of the BlackBerry, cell phones had been primarily for calling and Internet had been an added feature.  RIM created the first mobile device; one in which Internet was as integral to the operation of the phone as the telephone functionality.  In doing so, RIM changed the way businesses communicate.

Changing the Game

RIM had long been in the telecommunications industry.  Before the BlackBerry, RIM had a hand in the two-way pager, wireless email, and cellular phone industries.  BlackBerry’s genius combinedthese technologies into one.  This combination shifted the telecommunications game.  In order to remain competitive, makers of cellular phones had to be more than devices with texting and calling.  Individuals had the possibility of staying connected; mobile devices had to satisfy that condition.  BlackBerries, for example, allowed for email to be quickly viewed and responded to, such that the primary function ceased to be a phone.  In fact, RIM has an option in which companies can purchase only the email functionality of the BlackBerry.  The ramifications for businesses were immense.  Not only could businesses stay in constant contact with their own employees, but business could be conducted easily and efficiently anywhere, at any time.  For a number of years, RIM was the leader in providing for the new, fast-paced world of business.

Hard Times

Lately, however, RIM has been fading as a leader in business communication.  Companies, like Apple and Verizon (iOS and Android, respectively), continue to enable more sorts of communication and more effective communication through their mobile devices.  For example, video chat, once exclusive to personal computers, has been enabled for use on a number of mainstream mobile devices.  Technology has advanced to the point that one can participate in an international face to face conversation without standing on the boundary of Canada and the United States.  And RIM, unfortunately, has not kept up.  The communications abilities of the BlackBerry are ancient compared to the video chat and video conferencing that have been developed for other devices.

Where from Here?

Can RIM reinvent business communication as the world knows it again?  Barring a miracle, no.  And even though RIM revolutionized mobile communication, the industry they created will ultimately be their end.  But as RIM fades into obscurity, we ought to appreciate the company that moved business communications forward and the product that did so, the BlackBerry.

by Michael Janoski

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One Response to “The Rise and Fall of RIM”

  1. Jake Lazarus October 31, 2011 at 6:14 am #

    So, I know that RIM has come out with a few new BlackBerry phones, one touch and one not. Do you know how these are competing in the world of smart phones? I know that RIM is really struggling, so are these phones legitimate competitors with potential to sell well, or are they last-ditch efforts by RIM to get something going? I think it is interesting how RIM’s cell phone revolution led to their own demise. This shows how quickly cell phones have evolved in the past decade aided by companies such as Apple and Google – apparently too fast for RIM’s own good.

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