RIM: Time to Call Life Alert?
Research in Motion CEO Mike Lazaridis says that the company’s forthcoming BlackBerry 6 operating system will make “anyone that looks at it…say ‘I want a BlackBerry.'”
For RIM’s (RIMM) sake, let’s hope so, because the company’s current OS certainly isn’t doing that now. According to a new survey by ChangeWave Research, consumer interest in the BlackBerry is declining at a time when demand for smartphones is on the rise. Just six percent of survey respondents planning to purchase a smartphone in the next 90 days intend to buy a BlackBerry. That’s fewer than half the number that were planning to do so during ChangeWave’s last survey, taken in March. And it is dwarfed by the 52 percent of respondents planning to buy an iPhone (up from 31 percent) and the 19 percent planning to buy an HTC handset (up from 12 percent).
Grim news, and it only gets worse. Customer satisfaction with the BlackBerry is on the decline as well. Just 30 percent of respondents who own the device say they’re satisfied with it. That’s a record low for RIM after a seventh consecutive quarter of decline, and something of an embarrassment when 73 percent of iPhone owners rate themselves very satisfied.
Clearly, RIM has fallen. The question now is, can it get back up?
“In recent quarters RIM models appear to have lost their ‘cool factor,’ and the onus is now squarely on RIM to regain consumers’ confidence in their products,” ChangeWave says. “To do so they need new, highly compelling offerings that can compete on an equal footing with the best that Apple and Android have to offer. Otherwise, RIM’s future growth may increasingly be limited to the success or failure of its lower cost models on the international market.”