How iOS 5’s iMessenger will kill BBM

The recent three day Blackberry fail adds impetus to the notion that Research in Motion (RIM) is dying. Sales of the BlackBerry are in worldwide decline, with RIM having a really bad last quarter. Pundits are wondering when the management will give in — either through acquisition or throwing in the towel altogether:

This isn’t the first time an outage has happened, with independent telecom and technology analyst, Jeff Kagan, stating that:
“I have been an analyst for 25 years and have watched RIM wrestle with this same outage problem time after time…this will not be the final nail in RIM’s coffin, but where in the past RIM always came back, this will give customers yet another reason to look at other devices.”

Similar outages occurred in 2007, February 2008 and December 2009 while international users experienced another outage in March 2010.

It’s not a well-kept secret that BlackBerry’s software is behind the times, especially with Google activating half a million ‘droids daily and Apple’s recent iOS 5 release. How unlikely is it that we’ll hear something like the New York Times review the iPhone 4s?

According to the internationally acclaimed newspaper:
“The iPhone 4S is loaded with dazzlers: Faster speed, crisper shots, global reach and transformative voice recognition.”

Much fanfare and mirth has welcomed the introduction of Siri. RIM, on the other hand, hasn’t even come close to having the luxury of creating quirky add-ons to its software. A few jokes have even done the rounds suggesting that RIM is having a few days of silence in respect of the passing of Steve Jobs

One rather serious repercussion of the iOS 5 launch is that iMessage creates messaging across iDevices similar to what Blackberry did with its BBM offering and this starts to hammer the nail into BlackBerry’s coffin. Its days of being the cheapest smartphone on the market, in terms of messaging, are numbered. BlackBerry’s only saving grace in this regard is that iOS5 doesn’t run on the iPhone 3. If this wasn’t the case then BlackBerry users wouldn’t have the argument that they use Blackberry primarily for the free BBM service. Self confessed “Apple Fanbooi” Marc Forrest has written a telling cost comparison between owning a BlackBerry and an iDevice, the highlights being:

  • iMessage is a replacement for BBM.
  • The real data usage for iDevices is in downloading apps and that the majority of browsing and iMessage data is compressed.
  • The difference in price (which may vary from country to country) between a Blackberry package and an iPhone package, US$2, is negligible.
  • The demise of RIM could leave a massive gap in the pre-paid (read developing) markets.
  • BlackBerry’s app store isn’t moderated — meaning the apps you download are prone to bugs or crashes.

It seems like RIM has fallen off the innovation bandwagon that has gripped the mobile world: The software is floundering, the hardware is prone to breakage and now its cost advantage is starting to wane. How long before a mobile hungry player like Google does another Motorola act?



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