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OS Watch: RIM Finds Growth in Emerging Markets

Sarah Thomas
9/28/2012

BlackBerry surprised investors on Thursday when its second-quarter earnings were not as bad as expected. The company still lost US$235 million, but the BlackBerry maker is seeing growth in emerging markets. (See RIM Posts $235M Net Loss as Sales Slip.)

The company has struggled to keep up with its high-end rivals like Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Samsung Corp. in the U.S., but its BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) service is still popular in Africa and Asia.

BBM may be "kicking it" in developing countries, as RIM CEO Thorsten Heins said on the company's earnings call, but the long-term potential of the company is tied to its BlackBerry 10 operating system, due out in the coming months. Heins said earlier this week at RIM's developers' conference that the OS has a clear shot at becoming the third ecosystem in the competitive OS world. (See RIM Wants a Bronze for BlackBerry.)

In other mobile OS news:

  • Will Windows 8 work at work?: Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) is counting on its close ties to the enterprise to make Windows 8 a success at work, but Gartner Inc. warns its "big gamble" here may not pay off. Microsoft built its OS more for tablets than traditional PCs, which Gartner says will limit it to no more than 20 to 25 percent of the enterprise market. IT administrators won't like the touch interface, even if consumers do. The OS will officially launch on Oct. 26. (See Microsoft Sets a Windows 8 Timeline.)

  • Android flap doesn't deter Alibaba: Alibaba.com Hong Kong Ltd. is forging ahead with its OS plans despite butting heads with Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), which forced the company to pull the plug on an Acer Inc. device based on the OS. After complaints that Alibaba's OS Aliyun was actually an incompatible version of Google's Android OS, Google said all members of the Open Handset Alliance were banned from supporting it, which greatly limits the company's potential handset partners. An Alibaba spokeswoman told The Register that the company is still talking to a number of handset makers, likely smaller ones, that are interested in building for the OS as the company works to build up its ecosystem.

  • Huawei's back-up OS plan: Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. is betting on Android and Windows Phone as the OSs of choice for its smartphones, but it has a contingency plan in place should Google or Microsoft someday deny it access. The Chinese company is contemplating building its own OS based on its "current platform," Wan Biao, CEO of Huawei Device, told Reuters this week. Huawei is working on building up its brand awareness in the U.S. and hopes to sell more than 100 million phones, including 60 million smartphones, this year. (See Huawei's High Hopes for Handsets and Photos: Huawei Touches Up Its Image in the US.)

  • Jolla's first MeeGo handset coming soon: Jolla, the company hoping to revive MeeGo, is planning to announce its first handset based on the OS by the end of the year, at which time it will also let you know when you can buy it. Jolla CEO and ex-Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) exec Jussi Hurmola tells GigaOm that it will run MeeGo, but with Jolla's own interface and "nice new features and functionality." The company says it also wants to extend the OS to other devices and is open to co-branding as well. You never know, "Jolla by Louis Vuitton" could become the next status symbol... (See One Giant Leap for MeeGo and Nokia Refugees Revive MeeGo.)

    — Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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