Research in Motion reported dismal financial results (PDF) yesterday, with profits down 59% and sales down 10% from the same quarter last year.
The company said customer demand for its older-model smartphones was lower than expected, but shipments are expected to increase by 27% to 37% this quarter, thanks to the new BlackBerry 7 line.
Presumably, the reason a lot of customers didn’t buy older-model devices was because they knew the BlackBerry 7 was coming out. This same phenomenon might bite the BlackBerry 7 in the butt, too. RIM is planning a new line of devices with a QNX-based operating system for 2012, and customers might not want to buy the BlackBerry 7 if they think it’ll be obsolete in a year.
Plus, as critics of Microsoft’s Windows 8 launch pointed out this week, by the time these new OSes come out, who knows what kind of improvements Apple, Google and other innovative, agile companies will have made?
“Yeah, well, Apple and Google don’t matter in terms of enterprise adoption,” BlackBerry loyalists say.
That’s a fair point. But Microsoft does matter, and it’s blurring the line between PCs and mobile devices with Windows 8 — to the point that, theoretically, you could manage Windows 8 mobile devices just as you’d manage PCs. That’s a direct threat to RIM, whose major selling point is the BlackBerry’s enterprise support and management.
With the rapid innovations of Apple and Google, and Microsoft’s focus on enterprise integration and management, RIM is at risk of getting crowded out of the market.