Research in Motion’s got a new OS and a new BlackBerry model out, and Dan Frommer thinks it doesn’t matter. Writing for Business Insider, Frommer says RIM has great phones with a dated OS. He says Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS have moved well beyond Blackberry 6 OS. While RIM sells a lot of phones, their software no longer leads.
In a fairly related move, Morgan Stanley changed their rating on RIM to Sell. You don’t see many stocks rated below Hold, so this must mean RIM is really thrashing. Or as Frommer puts it, RIM is the new Palm. And you know what happened to them.
The solution? Embrace Android and forget about the BlackBerry operating system. Why? Well, he already said BlackBerry OS is creaky and dated, but he thinks moving to Android would be a real strategic swipe at Apple. If the entire BlackBerry line went Android native, then developers would think Android first and then iOS.
After all, what’s good about the BlackBerry? The email, the messenger service, the phones themselves.
But what Frommer doesn’t seriously consider is just how difficult it would be to redesign the back-end that makes BlackBerry mail so awesome. Getting it to cooperate with Android could very well cripple what makes it work so well.
Sure moving to Android could be a great strategic move, and I agree the writing’s on the wall for RIM as Android eats its market share year by year. But corporations love BlackBerrys because their BlackBerry Enterprise Network (BES) has great security, and that is something RIM is not going to toss aside in order to become a me-too manufacturer. Neither iOS nor Android can compete on security. Yet.
So is Frommer onto something, or should RIM double-down on what they do best? Don’t forget that a majority of BlackBerry users would rather switch to something else (mostly Android and iPhone). Tell us what you think of this idea and would this help or hurt RIM?