I am humbled by the opportunity I received to go to New York City as media for the BlackBerry 10 Launch last Wednesday. Thanks to Art, and NerdBerry for bringing it about. When it comes to a summation of the experience I cannot narrow my view of BlackBerry but RIP, RIM. While many pundits believe the launch lacked steam, I see it entirely differently. The brief BB10 launch highlighted many nice features of the Z10 and Q10 but did little to wow anyone. And that is all by design.
BlackBerry’s biggest problem is one of supply and demand. Think back to the delay of BlackBerry 10 into Q1.
“The Company announced its CORE (Cost Optimization and Resource Efficiency) program in March of (2012). The program is focused on delivering operational savings through various initiatives, with financial objectives for the program targeted to drive at least $1 billion in savings by the end of fiscal 2013, based on RIM’s Q4” (Press Release)
“Celestica has been a high-performing manufacturing supplier for RIM and will work closely with RIM throughout the transition. As discussed on the company’s first quarter results conference call on April 24, Celestica has been working with RIM as it assesses its supply chain strategy. ” (Press Release)
Back in November of 2012 Heins interviewed with Engadget saying they already had 60 million in the bank after “Right Sizing” the company based of CORE. Meaning they are off to a steady start.
With a smaller, leaner and meaner BlackBerry launching into the mobile arena what is their strategy?
To Keep Moving,
As they further reveal the depth of the platform you will see BlackBerry 10 launching through key partner arrangements which will unite the brand name and identity with a new age of connected electronics in the domain of mobile computing.
Innovation is the key to the recipe and yes the competition is stiff but as the market turns, BlackBerry wants to be a rocket in the space. Leveraging the reality they’ve birthed with BlackBerry 10 and utilizing its remarkable QNX 8 micro kernel to bring The platform full circle.
BlackBerry’s very real problem is that they have become a smaller player by choice in a game of giants. BlackBerry is releasing their new BB10 platform piecemeal so as to keep ammo for the fight throughout the year. Ultimately being a smaller player means you have a higher cost proposition when building hardware. They have taken a staggered global approach to launch BlackBerry 10 so they can be sure they have enough supply to meet their demand, and the demand is growing every day, and that’s the point. As BlackBerry gains traction in the game they’ll have more skin to successfully launch the rest of the platform and by the end of February you’ll start to see just how large the platform is.
The BlackBerry World application storefront is shabby to say the least, with good titles hidden inside. BlackBerry is holding back a lot of the big names, while others finish up their apps so that when the BB10 launches in the US in March, it will have a more quality app store with which to attack the American market.
The Keep Moving projects will be standalone campaigns tied to the core message the new brand wants to portray. Inside BlackBerry its all about the successful launch of BB10.
As the UK, Canada and China get there hands on the Z10 a global buzz will build around the brand, reigning American interest and pushing shareholder value. BlackBerry is going to pose incremental updates to PlayBook and BB10 which will bring new innovative features to all the core applications while bringing in big name apps to bolster the application perspective of the company to gen consumers. They want the message to be resounding like BlackBerry is back, relevant, and innovative as if things were riding–business as usual. Their subtle Super Bowl ad was a nod to that strategy. While having nothing to do with the Keep Moving campaign it set the stage for millions of Americans to pique their interest, as the world begins to hear more and more about BlackBerry 10.
Managing costs will be crucial as they aim to cut the 1 billion in operating cost. Streamlining your company while also trying to grow it is a risky play. But the ongoing strategic review has been adding factors into the mix for months as they line up their ducks for a great 2013.
Sure their Z10 phone isn’t an iPhone killer but the point is it doesn’t need to be to a killer to be successful. CEO Thorsten Heins is too wise to bet the future of his company on cell phones alone, and the vertical play will come as BlackBerry starts making bigger moves into the Internet of Things, connecting automotive and health care (places the QNX operating system already dominates) into the brand mindshare.
The consumer play will come through licensing as BlackBerry 10 stands up on its first two feet the Z10/Q10.
By the end of February as we get closer to the US launch BlackBerry will be doing everything right to make sure they can afford to keep playing ball, if they came out guns blazing and didn’t deliver it would impact the overall strategy they plan to unveil. Why shoot yourself in the foot out of the gate?