RIM’s BlackBerry - dead phone walking?

BlackBerry manufacturer RIM announced their fourth quarter earnings today. Revenue was down 19% from the third quarter to $4.2 billion and they reported a loss of $125 million. Total BlackBerry shipments fell 21% to 11.1 million units.

New CEO Thorsten Heins has cleaned out the top level executives including ex-co-CEO Jim Balsillie who has resigned from the board.

It is difficult to see where RIM goes from here. Thorsten is admitting these are “difficult times” and that there is “no guarantee of success”. The main strategy appears to be to focus on the enterprise.

If this is all they have as a survival strategy, it is difficult to see that working for them.

Companies have already moved on from BlackBerry as being the only corporate option, with the acceptance of Apple and Google’s Android platform as suitable for business. Employees already perceive the Apple and Android phones to be more flexible and popular than the stodgier BlackBerry.

BlackBerry Messaging, the most popular feature of the BlackBerry now has rival services provided by both Apple and Samsung.

Even RIM’s patents are not thought to be worth much with a valuation of around $2.5 billion.

The decline of RIM sees the mobile phone market continue to solidify around Apple and Android phones. It is still possible that Nokia’s move to Windows Phone will be a third player in the new post-PC mobile world. But Nokia and Microsoft face as much of an uphill struggle as does RIM.