Bloomberg is reporting that RIM would “prefer” to license its BlackBerry OS platform to help fix its balance sheet, and that it’s hiring a pair of banks for advise on how to so.
Now, it could just be me, but why would someone else want to license an OS that’s falling behind every day, or phones that RIM itself is having problems getting customers to buy?
Bloomberg also notes that both Microsoft and Samsung could be interested in patent holdings or the BBM messaging platform.
I’ve been posting about this for months now, and wrote about it last week in Note To RIM: It’s The Software, Stupid.
BlackBerry Messenger is RIM’s ace in the hole. Why they’re not attempting to leverage that by openning it up to other platforms is beyond me.
I take it back. I do know why.
There’s a classic marketing treatise called Marketing Myopia, written by Theodore Levitt, in which he introduced the famous question, “What business are you really in?”
Levitt claimed that railroad executives saw themselves as being in the railroad business rather than the transportation business. They focused on that business exclusively… and in the process they gradually lost their passenger business to the automotive and airline industries.
RIM faces the same problem. They think they’re in the mobile phone business. They’re not. They think they’re in the handset business. They’re not.
They’re in the communications business.
The value behind the BlackBerry phone system is BlackBerry Messenger. It, and the backend services, are what make the platform valuable. Without it, a BlackBerry is just a so-so phone with a decent keyboard.
One more time: RIM needs to roll out a secure, cross-platform messaging system for use on existing smartphones and tablets. That’s iOS. That’s Android. And that’s Window’s Phone.
The cross-platform, existing-device solution is the key.
Google 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.
And RIM can’t keep up with Apple and all of the other handset manufacturers churning out new phones every two weeks, nor can they keep up with all of the development resources third parties are pouring into those platforms.
There’s a golden opportunity here for RIM to dominate the secure messaging space for businesses and corporations.
They simply need to determine what business they’re in…
And focus on that business…
Before they go out of business.