I will admit to you that supporting Research in Motion during their struggles has been the equivalent of being interrogated byF. Lee Bailey on a daily basis.

Everyone wants to know what’s the matter with me. Unlike others who are condemning the Waterloo, Ont.-based smartphone developer in its darkest period, I choose to continue to support them. No, I’m not mentally-challenged and yes I can see the writing on the wall. But I still believe RIM and Thorsten Heins can produce a comeback of sorts.

Let’s recap what has taken place so far:
Blackberry 10 is delayed until early 2013;
RIM is cutting thousands of jobs; and
The company posted a whopping $518 million Q1 loss.
Sure it looks bleak but RIM does have a future and they will turn itself around. Maybe not to the satisfaction of end users and financiers in North America but I strongly believe RIM’s comeback will happen in other growing markets. I say this because I have spoken to many top-level executives in the channel and they are still bullish on RIM’s future. I completely understand that end users have backed off Blackberry for iPhone and the Droid. And, I also think that Microsoft/Nokia will in 2013 post some fantastic results.
I do not, however, consider consumers’ negative reaction to Blackberry relevant because they can change on a dime. But relevance is an important factor for RIM going forward. What they are losing is relevance in the marketplace. If you can’t get your act together and release BB10 on time; that’s the price you pay. People will stop caring. So time is running out on RIM in terms of relevance in the market.
One reason for optimism is that market analysts don’t believe the Apple iPhone will hold the same relevance in the next five years as it does today. The iPhone just recently celebrated five years on the market. Strategy Analytics executive director Neil Mawston said that some mobile operators are becoming concerned about the high level of subsidies they spend on the iPhone, while Samsung is expanding its popular Galaxy portfolio and providing Apple with more credible competition. Why do you think Apple is so busy suing the pants off of Samsung in North America?
People pay a premium for the iPhone and in some cases it’s a 100 per cent mark-up. Other analysts have told me that 10 per cent of the market can afford to keep playing that premium, but the other 90 per cent of the world’s population will be making their smartphone purchasing decisions based on price. Price can give Microsoft/Nokia a chance and it’s another reason why RIM can mount a comeback in other markets other than North America.
 
One big hit before I go. CDN offers best wishes to Cisco’s Keith Goodwin on his retirement. Goodwin was in charge of Cisco’s Worldwide Partner Organization. The classy executive announced his retirement after 13 years with Cisco and 38 years in the IT industry. Taking his place will be Bruce Klein.
Goodwin is a great leader for Cisco’s WPO and a true channel advocate. I think his strengths came from enhancing the VIP program in small chunks. He was wise to leave the overall program alone and add to it where it made sense. I also think he recognized talent when he saw it. His promotions of Edison Peres, Wendy Bahr and Andrew Sage were masterstrokes. On a personal note I will miss him because unlike other channel chiefs he made time for the press and I mean all the press. He never picked favourites and he answered every question put to him. The other thing I liked about Keith was that he always seemed happy to talk to you.

All the best Keith.

 

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