Will RIM post flat subscriber growth?

Through the never-ending stream of bad numbers Waterloo, Ont.-based Research in Motion Ltd. has had to weather in the last year and a half, the company and its successive CEOs have clung to one as evidence of the BlackBerry’s continued relevance in the smart phone market.


Whenever  faced with declining revenue numbers, or plummeting market share, the talisman RIM representatives would cling to was always the subscriber base. That number of BlackBerry subscribers — 78 million at last count — and its continuing growth was trotted out at every interview, every analyst day, every shareholder meeting.
But the Globe and Mail reports that analysts are forecasting no growth in that subscriber number for the first time when RIM releases second quarter results this Thursday.
RIM’s market share below 5 per cent: Report

If that’s the case, there’s a last-straw element to RIM’s story to shareholders. Without the stable and growing subscriber base, RIM’s defences come down to:
* BlackBerry 10: Much-touted, much-delayed and completely unproven but for the odd preview, RIM has to rely on the new BlackBerry operating system to staunch the flow of users flocking to competing devices. It remains to be seen how long investors will buy that story.
*The Fusion mobile device management platform: RIM had early-mover advantage with this platform to manage multiple mobile device types. Fusion received almost no marketing support, even as new CEO Thorsten Heins proclaimed the company was going to focus on its enterprise roots. Advantage squandered, Fusion is just one name in an increasingly crowded MDM landscape.

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Dave Webb
Dave Webb
Dave Webb is a freelance editor and writer. A veteran journalist of more than 20 years' experience (15 of them in technology), he has held senior editorial positions with a number of technology publications. He was honoured with an Andersen Consulting Award for Excellence in Business Journalism in 2000, and several Canadian Online Publishing Awards as part of the ComputerWorld Canada team.

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