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This was an interesting read: Inside RIM: An exclusive look at the rise and fall of the company that made smartphones smart.
I really want to root for RIM. I worked there for a bit, I have many friends working there, and they are a hugely positive part of my local community. But, shortly after I quit I got an iPhone and the thought of going back to a BB seems unthinkable right now. As I’ve said many times before, the current BB operating system cannot compete with anything else that’s been released in the last 4-5 years. Sure, if all you want is an email/messaging device, BBs are still the best, but that’s such a small part of what other smartphones can do.
It’s encouraging that they’re finally on track to replace their OS with a more modern one, but stopping their market share slide will still be an uphill battle. Apps have become as much, or more, of a selling point than the OS itself, and Apple and Android have 3+ years of lead time on that. Just look at how difficult it’s been for Microsoft’s Windows Phone to gain traction.
What I’m really curious about, and the linked articles helps to answer, is why it took so many years for RIM to finally decide it needed to build a new mobile OS. The day the iPhone was announced, 4+ years ago now, it was pretty obvious that every existing mobile OS was severely out dated. RIM kept thinking they could just make their OS look a little nicer with each release and that would continue consumer demand. It’s obvious now that was the wrong decision, but I want to know why it wasn’t obvious to them back then, as it was to many others.