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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Do not compare RIM to Palm please and it’s not because we are proud Canadians.

Do not compare RIM to Palm please and it’s not because we are proud Canadians.

HaHa my friend who was surprised to get a BBM from my Playbook had commented that he thought that RIM was going to end up as the new Palm. I don’t think so.

I was the first to get the Palm Pilot 1000 personal digital assistant in 1996 and was faithful to the end with memory upgrades, the excellent clip on 300 baud modem and the fold up keyboard. I used to do WAP in those days and paired it with a cable with my GSM Nokia 6190. It was kludged but I did get to POP3 into my account. Worst mistake was the PalmOne Lifedrive at $800 bucks it had a 4GB hard drive and it was very buggy. Palm was really the mobile pioneer (even though I loved my Apple Newton the product did get discontinued) but they had a bunch of spin offs, restructuring and never mated the PDA to a cellphone until it was too late. Palm never really made any money so it was hard to keep it afloat. Now with HP buying the leftovers of Palm I think they have a good shot with the WebOS and the PRE was a multitasking device that had some neat features. Oh I forgot the Handspring TREO which was a very good start and got picked up by corporate America for enterprise use. It sure made RIM work a bit harder at innovation.
RIM knocked out a home run in 1999 with the Blackberry and sales took off from there. The term crackberry gained a lot of press. I think RIM has sold over 60 million of these devices and is a global leader and the Playbook has already sold over 250,000 units. So how can RIM end up in the trash like Palm?
RIM has had great growth the past few years with revenues of $20 Billion a year and since they are an enterprise communication company and not selling musical players and laptops their revenue is going to be different than Apple which did $65 Billion in 2010.
Well how can they? They have over 2 Billion in cash, no debt, spend money on R&D and are very healthy as a company. They also have a lot of enterprise customers with their BES servers and their new MVS (Mobile Voice System) platform is making headway quickly. ShoreTel has also released a MVS application for its mobility client supporting the features and is now able to offer Fixed Mobile Convergence so manufacturers are taking notice. Do you think Steve Jobs would ever do this?
The strength that RIM brings to the enterprise market is their years of experience in that space. The acquisition of the multi-tasking QNX operating system is a smart play and will be the required platform for future applications. They also bar none, have the best mobile security application which includes Certicom Crypto (using Elliptic Curve Cryptography which BTW I had on my Palm Pilot) classes. RIM has a very high security level and is the standard for all others to follow.
The Apple and Androids do not have secure mobile security and recently these devices had hidden location based security flaws. In the enterprise, security is a huge concern and will continue to be so. Also the Blackberry Enterprise Server allows management and control functionality that right now is not offered by anyone else.
With Cloud computing and social networking being more prevalent on mobile devices it’s going to be a safe bet that your data and President Obama’s data will be secure for some time.
So let’s not bash RIM or compare it to Palm, who really started this whole business segment, but take a few moments to praise both of their accomplishments. I think the innovators in Waterloo have more to show us in the years to come and surely HP will pull something off with the release of their new TouchPad (Beat Technology promises better sound).

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