Why Blackberry and Windows Mobile isn’t going anywhere

Orrett Morgan
Jul 3, 2009
Updated • Dec 1, 2012
Mobile Computing

iPhone sells 1,000,000 devices in its opening weekend, Palm sells 300,000 Pre’s in 3 weeks, T-Mobile has 1,000,000 G1’s in circulation. You’d think with these numbers Microsoft and RIM would be pacing their respective offices. But instead both companies are business as usual. I’m almost sure that if you take a visit to Redmond or Toronto, you’ll see RIM and Microsoft execs carrying on the usual tasks of readying Windows Mobile 7 for its 2010 debut and of course working on the successor to the Storm.

Most analysts keep yelling at both companies that their lagging in the innovative space, but based on the numbers RIM and Microsoft are doing just fine. They both have huge market shares and combined still outsell both Apple and Palm. Just in case you’re wondering, there is a reason why both companies are not in a hurry to create the next iPhone, Pre or Android killer. And it lies deep in their strategy.

Ever since Microsoft bought Danger (the makers of the Sidekick), there has been rumors about the company creating its own cellphone. While there might be some truth to it (as the company keeps denying the rumors vehemently), Microsoft isn’t ready to cut HTC, Samsung and Toshiba from their bankrolls yet.

As a corporation, both RIM and Microsoft appeal to a different audience then most attracted to the Pre or iPhone. While the majority of iPhone owners are first time smartphone buyers, those who have Windows Mobile and Blackberry’s are quite aware of what is out there and what fits their needs. Talking to most Blackberry owners you will hear the resounding answer as to why they haven’t adopted an iPhone yet, “it has no proper email support” or “it lacks a keyboard.” While these are “minor” issues to many, to those who have grown to love their Blackberry’s it’s a major deal.

Another reason for the continued success of Windows Mobile and Blackberry is its corporate following. To date the iPhone has a meager corporate base and the Pre is nonexistent. However, both Blackberry and Windows Mobile excel in this arena. To a lot of smartphone owners, buying a smartphone their company approves of is a big deal and with most corporate IT departments still shunning the iPhone Apple has some major hurdles to jump before they cause any real trouble for RIM or Microsoft.

Fancy graphics and cool animations and slick UI’s are not everything in a smartphone. But you already knew that. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that no one is taking notice of Apple and Palm, if they were not there would not be custom UI overlays for Windows Mobile, Blackberry or Android. That said, it still is a fact that not everyone is swayed by them. You’d wonder why people would still use the classic Windows theme even though it’s close to two decades old. Well that is the same reason why people still buy the subject phones here.

Last but not least not everyone is a fan of the iPhone or Pre. There are those who categorize the iPhone base as just a subdivision of the Macintosh base who will buy any s_ Apple puts out as long as it’s shiny and expensive. Fortunately this is not the case but Apple has been notorious for its fan boy following and many smartphone users don’t like this.

I won’t say however that RIM and Microsoft need not worry because every update the iPhone gets, it comes closer to gaining a little more acceptance from its enemies. But as is the case with the new players in the game, they are the ones who have to work doubly hard as the seasoned players can relax a bit (however the proverbial rabbit and turtle teaches what happens when seasoned players rest too long).

As the case is right now RIM and Windows Mobile isn’t terribly exciting at the moment. But they both carry functionality, customizability and an avid user base and that’s what counts. However they can learn a lesson or two. As a former owner of both Windows Mobile (MotoQ) and Blackberry (Curve 8330), I can say it didn’t take me much to drop my previous phones for the Palm Pre. Neither can I say it will take a miracle for me to keep my Pre. There are those of us who ride the gadget waves and those are the customers that can make or break a company. Did I mention the new Blackberry Tour and the Toshiba TG01 are looking mighty sexy at the moment?


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  1. VAC said on October 21, 2009 at 12:52 am

    What crack are you smoking??

    Congrats iphone sold so many so quickly, its called a fad by definition, look it up guy.

    Check how many people are using Blackberries compared to iphones total, then go write an article.

  2. Roman ShaRP said on July 5, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    I’m not fan of all new phones. Device of my choice must be not expensive and live days without charging. So…

    My phone still is Nokia 1100, and after my pocket PC Palm m100 broke, I see nothing that can I want to buy.

    I’m reading texts and books from my Lbook V3 e-book, and I’m satisfied with it. But I really miss my Palm m100 – and I don’t see any replacement. On my opinion smartphone and pocket PC segments doesn’t have any device that can become world-popular like Nokia 1100 with (AFAIK) 200,000,000 devices sold. Those who want robust, reliable, long-lasting device – have to wait.

  3. Orrett Morgan said on July 5, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    @jaux – Sorry for the mistype…you are correct.

  4. jaux said on July 4, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    RIM is a Waterloo based company, not Toronto

  5. Taco said on July 4, 2009 at 5:00 am

    I had a Moto Q and it ended up being an oversized phone with horrible battery life. The monthly fees weren’t worth it either. I ended up going back to my Razr.
    My sister just got the 3Gs and it’s more a toy than a tool, though she won’t admit it.
    My cousin just dropped his and he’s not happy.

    These things are still a joke and will be for a long time.

  6. Lima6 said on July 4, 2009 at 4:49 am

    Let’s be clear here, the biggest hurdle to iPhone adoption is the exclusive locked in contract with AT&T it requires — then again there is AT&T, the carrier at the bottom of just about everything!!!

  7. Blackberry Chick said on July 3, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    How can you say blackberry is going nowhere??? I love my blackberry and its way better than a sidekick or iphone!!

  8. Rarst said on July 3, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    WM is failing but it has absolutely nothing to do with iPhone (very few things on global market have). It is because:
    a) it only keeps increasgin function gap and slim chances to catch up to competition
    b) Microsoft wants manufacturers to pay for WM in age of establishing free and open source OS for mobile phones

    It is not about Microsoft cutting HTC, it is about HTC cutting Microsoft. :)

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