More Delays for BlackBerry 10?
Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) has made the decision to delay the release of BlackBerry 10 once already. A product that is late to market is probably better than a failed product, but at this rate the company may have both on its hands. According to Forbes, Jefferies analyst Peter Misek is not expecting to see BlackBerry 10 until March.
The new BlackBerry platform is trying to position itself as a third mobile ecosystem, “but the probability of BB10 filling the role is wholly dependent on whether RIM can convince Samsung, Huawei, and ZTE to license,” writes Misek. RIM’s North American sales have pretty much evaporated in the face of Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone and the Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platform. The United States market is so heavily saturated that BlackBerry faces a massive uphill battle for market share.
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This is why RIM’s future may rest overseas and in emerging markets, offering a solid product at a low price point. The company surprised investors last quarter by posting an increase in subscribers fueled by foreign adoption. Misek points to Samsung, Huawei, and ZTE because they dominate the mobile hardware market in Asia, and a relationship with them could be more important than sales in the U.S.
However, Misek warns that “Baidu, Huawei, and others are pursuing their own operating systems.” Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU), known for search engine dominance, has been called the Google of China and could be taking a page out of the American company’s playbook. The company released its own mobile web browser recently, and has been investing heavily in mobile offerings. More competition from competent tech companies is the last thing RIM needs.
If it’s not in the emerging markets, RIM’s hope rests with enterprise adoption. Compared with most consumer smartphones, the BlackBerry is all work and no play — save that for the PlayBook. This is where Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) enters the picture with Windows Phone 8. As an enterprise communications solution, both have a lot to offer, but Microsoft will have a huge head start in the market. Windows 8 and the Surface tablet are slated for release on October 26. RIM may just be too slow to the party.
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