By April 8, 2012

Note To RIM: It’s The Software, Stupid.

There’s been a lot of talk about how RIM needs to ramp up its phone efforts and create something amazing in order for them to survive.

Unfortunately, I don’t think they have the design chops, and I’m pretty sure they don’t have enough time left on the clock to execute that plan, even if they could.

They’re betting on QNX to power the next generation of phones, but one should note that QNX didn’t save the Playbook.

And more to the point: What does it bring to the table that iOS or Android or Windows Phone does not? Answer: Not much.

That said, RIM does have a hole card it can play, but it’s not QNX.

From my perspective, RIM should…

  1. Hire a team of crack iOS, Android, and Windows developers.
  2. Use them to create a set of RIM messaging apps based on their existing Enterpise platform.
  3. Convince new and existing Enterprise partners that they need to roll out a secure, cross-platform messaging system for their employees to use on their existing smartphones and tablets.

The cross-platform, existing-device solution is the key.

iMessage isn’t cross-platform. And AIM and all of the other players in that space don’t have the security brand or or the trusted back-end infrastructure that RIM has.

A set of messaging apps could be done in an extremely short period of time given a set of skilled developers. They don’t even have to have the expertise in-house. Just farm it out to shops well versed in iOS, Android, and Windows development.

Think that would be hard? I don’t. How many app store developers do you imagine would turn down a solid contract for a half-million or so? Just look for people who’ve already done solid Facebook or Twitter or other communication apps, but were blown away when those companies released “official” applications.

Then all you have to do is roll out your apps and sell your customers on having a truly secure system for their sensitive corporate communications.

The potential market for a good cross-platform solution is tremedous.

And best of all, you don’t have to convince anyone to give up their existing iPhone or Android phone. Or their Blackberry, for that matter.

Such a services strategy could give the hardware platform a bit more breathing room, if not subsidize it outright.

It could also introduce, through Message, a whole new set of users to the RIM platform.

Best be accessed — of course — from a Blackberry device. Why not try one?

There’s a very small window of opportunity here… if they’re willing to bet the farm on their true area of competence.

I doubt they’re that smart.

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