Published January 30, 2013
Research In Motion has finally produced the phones. Now, the BlackBerry maker is relying in large part on outsiders to get them into the hands of consumers.
After several delays and 18 months without a new smartphone, RIM plans to unveil two new BlackBerrys on Wednesday in a last-ditch effort to regain ground lost to Apple and Samsung. The support it gets from wireless carriers and software developers will help determine whether they catch on.
The problem for RIM is that its much-diminished market share has eroded its leverage with both of those groups. Carriers looking for a counterweight to the iPhone and devices running Google's Android system have lined up to distribute the new BlackBerrys. But they are also locked in negotiations to lower the fees they pay RIM to use its software and computer network.
And while RIM has convinced developers to adapt some 70,000 apps for its new models, it has had to fill some big gaps—like an app for Facebook — by building its own versions.
The result is RIM faces some deep disadvantages as it goes up against the market's leaders.
Rameet Chawla, founder of Fueled, a New York company that develops apps for companies such as Hallmark and Porsche, said that around six to nine months ago it stopped getting requests from clients to develop apps for the BlackBerry platform.
The strengthening duopoly of Apple and Android, he said, "is further crowding out all of the other options."
Read more about the new BlackBerrys at The Wall Street Journal.