Research In Motion Faces Big Name, Well Funded Competitors
Martin O'Donnell pointed out that today's New York Times contains an article about Research in Motion and how it continues to lose money in spite of owning the wireless email franchise in North America with its Blackberry devices. The article says that revenue has fallen recently as companies explore alternative devices and wireless data networks.
RIM is no different from any other technology company in that they paid dearly for the excess inventories built up by their customers from 1998 to 2001. Now they face a technology transition (Mobitex to GPRS) at the same time as their sales begin to climb out of a hole. The advantage that RIM has is that they already have middleware in place in many large companies' messaging infrastructures that works with their mobile devices. As such, all they will have to do is an upgrade cycle to stay in place as a network service.
Companies like Palm and Handspring on the other hand, face the gauntlet of initial acceptance testing. This can be quite a harrowing experience for field engineers who are working with corporate IT people to test a completely new product or service. Perhaps this is why they have chosen to partner with companies like Visto to enable enterprise email mobility as a service, rather than as the function of a piece of middleware.