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RIM Doesn’t Need BlackBerry 10 — It Needs a Time Machine  2012-03-31 15:50:27
Mashable OP-ED: This post reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of Mashable as a publication.

Research in Motion‘s latest quarter almost doesn’t need commentary. With revenues down 19% and posting its first loss in seven years, the company is clearly on the decline. The dismal financial news follows the revelation that BlackBerry phones were no longer the device of choice even in RIM’s home country of Canada.

Many have used the news to pile on, saying the long-predicted implosion of RIM has finally begun. Acquisition, once the topic of idle speculation about the company, is now a very real possibility.

There appears to be one glimmer of hope, though: BlackBerry 10, the next-generation device software that’s supposed to debut later this year. Repeatedly describing BB10 as a “platform” that the company will build its entire suite of products around in the coming years (maybe), CEO Thorsten Heins said the future of RIM depends on its successful and on-time launch.

That’s not entirely true. The future of RIM has just been determined by a recent decision Heins revealed in its earnings call: that it was going to refocus on the enterprise market. He backpedaled a bit later, saying that it doesn’t represent abandoning the consumer market (the majority of its customers are everyday “consumers”), but the message from RIM was clear: We lost the consumer smartphone war to Apple and Google. We’re backing off.

This decision makes a large degree of sense — and I support it — but that doesn’t make it any less tragic. By retreating back to its core strength of enterprise devices and services, RIM may eke out a happy existence, but it will never be the smartphone titan it once was, no matter how good BlackBerry 10 is.

The reason is the smartphone market is worlds apart from where it was when RIM was king — which was just a mere three years ago, as the market share flies. The “consumerization of IT” trend is in full force — witness the staggering number of businesses that plan to buy iPads in the coming year.

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