Is Blackberry out of the consumer market or not?

RIM, the company that makes Blackberry, has had a rough time lately despite being a brand associated with smartphones, and despite a (superficially successful) move away from its core business market to offer a range of mobile devices.  Today there has been an announcement that Blackberry is to leave the consumer market – or are they just refocusing their brand to concentrate on certain products?

Whatever the true flavour of the statement, I wouldn’t like to predict whether this move is successful or not.  In its favour, one could argue that RIM should recognise its strengths in hardware aimed at business, it should focus on something that could be a lucrative market, and it could promote the pproach where email is handled by Blackberry’s own server as a kind of cloud solution.  Against them, one could argue that enough teenagers have acquired Blackberries and used BBM for the brand no longer to be credible as a supplier of business products, that the Blackberry servers aren’t reliable, and particularly aren’t perceived as reliable following last year’s outage, and finally that it’s unclear whether there is a future for a business phone as a distinct product.  Surely part of the business model for both iPhone and Android phones is that the phone is a relatively generic, standardised product which can be tailored with apps and accessories, and also that the same phone could be of use to every aspect of its user’s life.  So business apps definitely have a future, but I’m less sure about business phones.

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