It’s been a bad week for RIM, first it’s co-CEO has an interview go wrong with the BBC and secondly the first impressions from the tech press call it a dud.
I think, though, when you look at the details, the tech press may have got it wrong about RIM. There is no way that the PlayBook could ever be popular as a consumer device. It doesn’t have the app infrastructure, distribution or the cachet that the iPad has, and will never have a price advantage. Why would any consumer ever choose it above an iPad in the short term?
As I’ve argued before, where RIM does have an advantage is amongst corporate customers where they can offer the PlayBooks combined with business services to create profitable projects. If we grant that this approach makes sense for RIM, then their priority in the short term should be to make CIOs happy rather than consumers or the tech press.
This approach worked well for Blackberry the first time round, it way work again. Selling to corporations might give them a large enough user base to invest in creating a consumer oriented device. Competing with Apple is going to be hard, they are far away ahead and have built up a formidable apps advantage. Hence going head to head in the consumer market will come down to one thing only today: can you beat Apple on price? RIM can’t and oughtn’t to.
So the tech press should re-evaluate the PlayBook from the eyes of a CIO and get their take on it. It might be surprisingly good.
Concerning the interview Mike Lazardis made with the BBC, he clearly shouldn’t have flipped out like he did, but at the end of the day, we are all human. Mike clearly was tired, might have been on a red-eye to London, and couldn’t wait to show off the PlayBook. Yet, he is lambasted with questions about data security. Bring human, you can understand what happened here, especially if you are not accustomed to the British method of interviewing that can be quite aggressive.