Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The day RIM business model blew up

A major outage of the RIM service has hit the news big time today. I am wondering how journalists are filing their stories, since their BlackBerry are not working ;-)

In my opinion, this has highlighted a major flaw in RIM business model. Not because BlackBerry has been famous for being reliable and it is not anymore. But for a more profound reason. RIM customers are mobile operators. Today at&t is not even able to tell if THEIR customers have service or not... The reason?

RIM is a single point of failure, that a mobile operator cannot control.

Today operators are forced to realize that, on top of having dissolved their brand in favor of RIM's,
they do not have control or even good visibility into the levels of service that RIM is able to provide to their own customers. Hence, an at&t user that bought a BlackBerry device and service from at&t today is not getting its email, and at&t has no idea of the status of the service or what customers are affected. Think of the Service Level Agreements (SLAs) that carriers such as at&t have with their enterprise customers. The carriers are in no way, shape or form able to monitor or enforce their compliance...

Now... the entire business model for RIM is based on extending its reach to the consumer market. They built the Pearl for it. It is their #1 goal.

Unfortunately for RIM, mobile operators will not do this mistake again for the consumer market. Carriers will own, control and brand the infrastructure for consumer push email, which is THE big opportunity and what RIM is shooting for (not really making it, looking at the latest financial results).

This will kill
RIM growth. The days where they had full control of carriers are over. The pendulum is swinging back. The operators want control of their destiny (and the one of their customers), not lock-in with a single point of failure. They need a white-label solution managed by them. Add low-cost, standard-based and open source push email and you understand why I am having a good day ;-)