There has been a lot of buzz recently regarding RIM’s flagship devices going the way of the Walkman or VCR – with Blackberry device sales plummeting in the US as well as repeatedly not meeting earnings estimates, RIM certainly looks to be in trouble. Recently, RIM’s board appointed a new CEO – Thorsten Heins to help clean up the mess. The new captain seems optimistic and has stated an interesting point at a press conference yesterday:
While RIM is growing in other countries, Heins conceded that its U.S. business is in need of a major revival after losing out to rivals like Apple Inc’s iPhone at U.S. service providers and corporations, where it once had a clear advantage among employees heavily dependent on its email service.
“In general I wouldn’t consider RIM as a turnaround candidate. It is a turnaround candidate in the U.S.,” he said. “We lost market share in this market quite substantially. That is something that we have to address.”
Most of the (negative) attention RIM has received lately is mostly US-centric, where we are seeing competitors such as Google and Apple’s handset sales skyrocketing. What I find interesting is in emerging markets such as Indonesia, Blackberry handset sales are actually growing quickly, even compared to it’s primary competitors. Take a look at the graphic below which shows growth in Indonesia vs. the US over the past several years. Competitor’s handsets such as the iPhone have high-end internals such as hi-res cameras, hi-res displays, dual-core processors etc. and the margins are much tighter in countries with reduced buying power. The other thing to think about is infrastructure – developing nations do not have the extensive mobile broadband networks that we do in the US and Blackberry handsets use far less data than Google or Apple-based smartphones.
In summary, I think RIM has lots of work to do to attempt to regain market share in the US but they are certainly not dead and will be around for some time. Many enterprises (specifically in the Financial/Insurance industries) are still heavily reliant on RIM’s handsets and the security that goes with them. There was also an interesting point in the Reuters article stating only 20% of US Blackberry customers are using the latest handsets, so this will certainly be a goal for them in terms of refreshing devices and making sure it’s customers are on the latest software versions.
Recently I discovered an intriguing SaaS provider, ServiceNow. The company is modern SaaS for enterprise IT service management. ServiceNow integrates ITIL v3 processes, social collaboration for IT departments, software-as-a-service delivery, and modern Web functionality to deliver a flexible, easy-to-use and self-managing application. The product competes with similar offerings from HP and BMC.
At first the vision was to develop a next-generation system to support the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) market (this includes things like the service desk and other processes). But Fred realized this was limiting. While the IT service desk market is $2 billion, the IT operations management market is about $15 billion.
In fact, the ServiceNow platform has proven to be quite versatile. Keep in mind that customers are starting to use it to develop non-IT apps. If this continues, ServiceNow may ultimately become a big player in the platform-as-a-service (PaaS) segment, which could have the potential of being a $50 billion market. Already companies like Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM), Google(Nasdaq:GOOG) and RedHat (NYSE:RHT) are gunning for it.
ServiceNow has functionality that can for example, automatically build a Virtual Machine to spec upon submitting a service request for a sandbox environment. Having learned a quite a bit about ITIL framework recently, this tool certainly looks attractive for enterprises and their track record shows it.
Via ServiceNow & Forbes
The annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is about to launch tomorrow, but is is still relevant to the tech world? Some might argue that it still has all its influence intact as it will attract over 140,000 visitors. While the largest and most influential tech conference, many big names in tech are beginning to announce products at their own conferences or events. Take a look at Apple’s recent iPhone 4S announcement which took place at their very own “Let’s talk iPhone” event back in October.
I think the way the industry is mushrooming may be to blame – technology refresh cycles are getting shorter with a wealth of new products being announced on a daily basis. CES may still be the most exclusive tech gathering, however it just doesn’t attract the attention that it once did in terms of announcements. There is still a large amount of CES interest for retail buyers and also “real life” social networking, you know, face-to-face.
While never having attended a CES conference, I can still see the value it has even though the larger players i.e. Amazon & Apple now hold their own announcement events. CES is a place where some of the smaller fish have a chance to show their products and build business partnerships. Firms who no longer purchase booth space often still hold private meetings at CES in order to take advantage of the fact that many key industry people are still in attendance.