back to article RIM to exit the consumer phone market

Having persuaded many a teenager to adopt the BlackBerry, RIM last night gave them the finger - metaphorically - and announced it was focusing on big businesses instead, an action spurred by its lousy quarterly results. Some say RIM did poorly in the consumer market, but it certainly built up a strong customer base among …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If the Chocolate Factory teamed up with RIM, it could make things interesting, however Microsoft seem to be a better fit for the corporate world.

  2. Nick Ryan Silver badge

    Will be interesting to see what happens to RIM now, with more and more corporates supporting Android and iThings and both of these systems steadily becoming a little more corporate friendly. Nothing yet compared to how friendly BB devices are for corporates but with the consumer backing of these already very strong their continued move into the corporate environment is inevitable.

    Maybe RIM will just go back to throwing patent based lawsuits around...

    1. What? Me worry?

      @ Nick Ryan

      I remember that. Wasn't there a time when El Reg refered to RIM as Lawsuits in Motion? It was all about the keyboards, and then Palm had to license RIM's keyboard patents and such...

  3. gautam


    They are doing a Nokia here. Lost vision and strategy. Just look at Playbook fiasco, tried do an Apple there by tying in and tethering. Now its flailing , trying to find a niche - a la Nokia.

  4. Magnus_Pym


    I think there is a niche for Blackberry. All other phones are trying to be all things to all people and security is bound to suffer. Look at the problems of Apple and Android with apps gaining access to privileged data. There will always be a market for a 'real' business phone that can be managed, secured and controlled centrally. Microsoft/Nokia are going to try to grab that space by being tied in more closely to Win/Office but Rim are already there. Good decision by RIM.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Niche

      Niche is the right word. As in small.

      Yes, there is a need for a secured and locked down phone, but these days it isn't something that the majority of corporations require. Yes, their IT and presumably audit/compliance depts would prefer, but even in the investment bank I work in, the majority of management have got iDevices and those that don't are using Androids. So unlikely that they'll be ordering the IT Dept to lock out these devices.

      RIM's big appeal to business was the instant messages and especially being able to read/reply emails while on the train or in the pub. But that functionality is provided just as well, or better, but iOS and Android, and apps like Good for Enterprise allow secure access to email and meetings and attachments which appease audit and compliance.

      I don't see RIM recovering from this. Not unless they give up on hardware and start to provide a secure messaging/email system that runs on iOS and Android and WinMobe

  5. Timmay


    Surely if you give up on them now, and lose teens to the Apple/Android side, they're even more likely to change to or stick with Apple and Android when they become wealthy corporates or wealthy benefit/dolescum? Who will be left using RIM then?

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Teens

      This assumes that the teens that use Blackberry are likely to become wealthy corporates.

      That is not quite the case nowdays.

      1. dotdavid
        Thumb Up

        Re: Teens

        "This assumes that the teens that use Blackberry are likely to become wealthy corporates."

        Well they might loot a wealthy corporate's store.

        Sorry, that was uncalled-for. Like a Blackberry handset.

        Sorry, I just can't seem to stop myself :-)

      2. Timmay

        Re: Teens

        @ Voland's right hand

        I did say wealthy corporates OR wealthy benefit/dolescum! ;)

  6. RainForestGuppy

    Forget the hardware

    From a Corporate security perspective BB blows away using iphones or Androids, but lets face it their phones are about as sexy as Anne Widdecombe in a thong.

    They have the secure infrastructure in place, what they should do is create a Blackberry/RIM client for ios and android and concentrate on providing secure remote working environments which enduser can use on the device of their choosing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Forget the hardware

      I think you might find that an agreement they have with Good Technology that was struck after RIM were taken to court by Good over the architecture they deploy for BES means they can't support anything other than Blackberry. In the same way that Good Technology can't provide a client for Blackberry as part of the same agreement.

      Not sure where this would leave them if they exited the hardware market.

    2. dogged

      Re: Forget the hardware

      their phones are about as sexy as Anne Widdecombe in a thong.


      Mindbleach! Stat!

    3. The Baron

      Re: Forget the hardware

      what they should do is create a Blackberry/RIM client for ios and android

      Seen BES Mobile Fusion?

      Not saying it's any good, necessarily. Just saying it's nearly there.

  7. LDS Silver badge

    Security banned!

    The more companies allow for employee using their own phones, the less security they obtain. They have no control on what's get installd on those devices, where they are left, and the chance of being stolen/lost increase a lot. And when an employee leave the company, on his own or because it is left off, the company can't get back the data on the phone - and I guess any remote wipe enforcement can't be used because it would wipe personal data as well, and companies could risk a suit.

    It was silly from the beginning to allow device designed for a "personal consumer" market without any "enterprise" feature just because of their status-symbol state. And the more sentitive data one can store on the phone (or tablet), the higher the risk. But those in charge of IT security ore often the first to be deceived by electronic status-symbols. I guess soon we will read about the first large security breach due to a stolen/loss phone used both for work and leisure.

    1. Jonathan White

      Re: Security banned!

      Then surely the solution is obvious - don't let them store sensitive information on their phone/tablet. Have proper security policies and enforce them both by technological means and by judicious use of the cattleprod.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Security banned!

        So they should not:

        1) read, send and store company message on their devices

        2) store any company document on their devices

        3) access and store any company data on their devices, including internal email addresses, reserved phone numbers and so on (very useful to start a social engineering attack on those people, for example)

        Basically, you said "don't use your own devices for company related activities". Exactly my point. I do not know if it is possibile to design a device with separate ares for personal and company data, and ensure the user store data in the correct area, where the company area is under company control and could be encrypted and wiped as desired. It is more or less what TPM promised, but because it was a Microsoft proposal people cried out loud it was bad. Maybe if Apple proposes the same TPM model but calls it iTPM people will cry out loud how good it is.... Google won't like it unless it can index and gather data from all you company data to sell ads about your company activities.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Security banned!

          "I do not know if it is possibile to design a device with separate ares for personal and company data, and ensure the user store data in the correct area, where the company area is under company control and could be encrypted and wiped as desired."

          Not a device, but definitely using software. Good for Enterprise has been doing this for ages. Secure email, contacts, calendar and Intranet in a secure container on an iOS or Android device. Fully encrypted and authenitcated via a NOC backk to the datacentre.

          This stuff isn't so difficult.

          1. Nick Woodruffe
            Black Helicopters

            Re: Security banned!

            We use "MobileIron" in our company.

            Similar to Good Tech where corporate data is help in a separate encrypted sandbox on the smartphone or tablet. If the employee leaves we can selective wipe just the corporate data from the device or completely nuke the device if we are feeling nasty.

          2. LDS Silver badge

            Re: Security banned!

            You can't rely on software only. You need additional hardware to protect the security software. Tampering with hardware is much more difficult than with software. Look at how long it took the break the PS3 encryption. If it was only in software it would have been much easier.

    2. jason 7

      Re: Security banned!

      One thing to keep in mind however, is just how ultra secret are most corporate emails?

      I don't anyone would have got anything useful from any of my company emails and likewise for all of my colleagues. All very humdrum stuff.

      Take a corporation of 5000 staff and maybe only 50 of them would be given access to the type of information that could be truly sensitive or of value to competitors. So give them Blackberries.

      Not much to be gleaned from masses of emails from Project managers chasing Incapable and Hopeless to get their shit together.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Security banned!

        The importance of data is in the eye of the beholder. Anyway data lost on what may be on "less important" phones could be used to mount attacks to more important targets. Many security breaches were exploited not attacking heavily protected entry points, but looking for less protected ones. People should stop to look at movies depicting hackers able to crack a system in 30s just hitting furiosly a keyboard. It doesn't work that way. But using known software bugs, many attacks are performed deceiveng people to let them penetrate systems.

    3. Joe Drunk

      Re: Security banned!

      It's not so much companies allowing you to use your own phones on the corporate network as them refusing to provide you with a cell phone for business use. About 30% of the firms I've worked at provided one at no cost, others at a discount rate and the rest left you on your own. They ALL wanted your mobile phone number listed in the corporate directory however.

      RIM is and has always been the corporate standard in mobile although I am seeing some IOS creep.

      Personally I carry 2 cell phones, not because I am a gadget freak or want to look important. It's called sanity maintenance. I used to be overcome with dread when the cell phone rang - there was always that "please don't let it be work, please don't let it be work" feeling.

      That's why I have a business and personal cell. The business number gets posted on corporate directory, is handed out freely to business contacts, is on the footer of all outgoing emails, etc. When this phone rings I KNOW it's work related. The personal phone is given to girlfriends, friends, family, etc. When this phone rings I KNOW it's someone I want to talk to. Personal cell I carry 24/7. Business cell during business hours and off-hours when I am expecting calls. Somehow the business cell often gets left behind when I am with my girl, having lots of brews with my friends or just don't want to be bothered by work. I wonder why that keeps happening.

      Since all employers demand you broadcast your mobile to all business contacts I highly recommend this corporate survival strategy to all who work in IT. Mobile plans with unlimited minutes, at least here in the US are about $50 USD/month. Data plans will set you back an additional ~$25/Mo if you need to access corporate email. Even if it's $100/month it's worth every penny to be able to tune out work when you need to.

      My cable TV operater provides my home phone service and I pay an additional $15 for an extra phone line for work. Of course work wants to bother you at home too!

  8. 1Rafayal

    The biggest problem with RIM and the BlackBerry is that the device simply isnt very good.

    I have one for work, unfortunately, and have had to get it replaced on quite a few occasions now. Either the phones software just stopped working, the phone stopped delivering email or the hardware broke with out much assistance from gravity.

    I think they are missing a trick, the communications aspect of RIM has always been its strong point. Maybe they should put less emphasis on that and concentrate on delivering BlackBerry clients for other devices.

    This could aid the "bring your own hardware" culture that many organisations are starting to adopt.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Blackberry Crumble

    Doesn't seem to fit well with the corporates when nefarious rioters force the courts to issue warrants for BlackBerry Messenger server access. In some countries nefarious usage has led to law enforcement interception as standard, Big business really likes that a lot..

    Cutting off a withered body-part for the good of the being may not be the worst thing they have done.

  10. b166er

    The problem with RIM is, they never licensed ActiveSync (until the PlayBook), plain and simple.

    So many small business owners were impressed and encouraged by their enterprise mates to get BlackBerries, only to find out the world of pain (cost) involved to get Contacts/Calendar over the air.

    Something that the iPhone, Android and Windows Phone do out of the box.

    You still can't do it now without BES(X) or BlackBerry Business Cloud when it arrives (but then only if you have Office365)

    BlackBerry Management Center can't do it (the run your own BIS service)

    Shame really.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another strategic mistake

    Teen girls love Blackberrys because of BBM. They are about to abandon a lucrative market.... what father can say no to his teen daughter ?

  12. Jess

    If they can't make a go out of being #1 in the UK...

    ...then perhaps they deserve to go the way of Nokia.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Blackberry vs toy phones

    sorry, meant touch-screen phones.

    Not even a muppet would try using an SSH client, on a train in rush hour, typing on a touchscreen - phone with a keyboard, easy. More importantly, you can use a keyboard when you can't see the screen cos the sun's shining on it when you're having a Friday morning on the beach.

    1. The Baron

      Re: Blackberry vs toy phones

      You have to admit, though, that the market for people who need to do this is very small compared to the market for people who just want to text their mates, update Faecebook, play Angry Birds, etc. So small, in fact, that it seems unlikely there will be any sniff of profit in it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Blackberry vs toy phones

        very true, but doesn't make them bad phones or any less useful. Certainly doesn't make them incredibly i-annoying. Although i suppose if govt can do things like raise tax from pasties, a 20% levy on any product beginning with a lower case "i" would raise a fortune, and a few pennies could subsidise my niche part of the market :-)

  14. werdsmith Silver badge


    I am sick of using iMEssage for this contact, What'sApp for another contact, FB Messenger here and IM there and SMS for everything else. I can't talk to the BB users at all.

    The firm that comes up with the single unified messaging client wins all.

  15. Gordon 10 Silver badge


    We have neglected our corporate base in the fruitless chase for pennies from the great unwashed.

    Unfortunately their corporate base is on an unstoppable decline due to android and iOS. RIM are a dead man walking in this space.

    Therefore though there may only be pennies in the great unwashed its the only Market RIM has any hope of growing.

  16. Bill Gould


    All of those teens that love their Blackberry phones now will shortly be the ones running the corporate world and taking the place of the people RIM can't seem to appeal to. Short sighted decision really.

  17. Shonko Kid

    I give it 2 out of 5 Nokias on the Fail Scale

    They're just not trying, sure they've got their C* jumping ship, and retreating to their traditional market, but if they want to score higher they really should be calling their customers muppets, or saying their entire SW stack is obsolete and hurting them, and are switching wholesale to a poorly regarded and largely untested and unpopular alternative.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: I give it 2 out of 5 Nokias on the Fail Scale

      Excellent, I will be rating everything in Nokias on the Fail Scale as from today...

      Genius... It's also a universal language, as everyone will quickly know what you mean...

  18. John Styles

    I think we call this process...


  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Problem is.

    Business has moved on to Android.

    IOS is too closed, and Windows Phone nowhere near cuts the mustard.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Problem is.

      "Windows phone nowhere near cuts the mustard"

      But it's got office built in. Most businesses use office, so Windows Phone 7 is perfect for businesses

    2. Magnus_Pym

      Re: Problem is.

      ...Until the next security foobar.

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