During a speech at a Hong Kong business lunch, Bradlow, who has been in his post at the Australian incumbent operator for nine years, offered some fresh insight into the troubled handset vendor's plight, recalling a meeting with RIM executives in 2006 when they claimed there would be no need for customers to buy 3G phones.
Bradlow certainly isn't positive about RIM's current predicament. During his speech he joked that if he was responsible for the Canadian device manufacturer he would "go to the 43rd floor and find a window."
He did find one crumb of comfort, though. "They are specialists in optimizing 2G devices for email, and they're very good at that," he observed.
Bradlow believes the best and most likely scenario for RIM and its intellectual property assets is to be acquired. BlackBerry's ability to support email over low-bandwidth networks means there would still be "niche demand" for devices in developing markets for some time, predicted the CTO.
But the battle against its main rivals is already lost, suggested the Telstra man, noting that RIM clearly missed the boat when it came to the now well-established mobile world of mobile apps and wireless broadband. Bradlow noted that the benchmark for viability for a mobile OS was about 100,000 apps. Apple has more than 500,000 for iOS, while Android has about 450,000. RIM, which has been in the market longer than any of its rivals, has only reached 80,000.
Certainly the current market dynamics do not look good for RIM. It commands only 6 percent of the global smartphone operating system market share, according to IDC, and is valued at about US$5.4 billion, down from its 2008 peak of $84 billion. And according to this Reuters article, excluding the company's cash reserves and IP assets, RIM's device business and customer base could be worth as little as $1 billion.
RIM last week forecast a Q1 operating loss and said it had hired financial advisers to review its business. (See RIM to Sell the BlackBerry Farm? and RIM Predicts Q1 Loss, Hires Bankers.)
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- RIM's New Marketing Man Is a LightSquared Vet
- RIM Talks the Talk
- BlackBerry 10: For the Data & Time Crunched
- RIM Begins Uphill Climb
- More RIM Shots: BlackBerry Apps & Mishaps Abroad
- RIP RIM: Will Foresight Be 20/20?
— Robert Clark, contributing editor, special to Light Reading