BlackBerry maker tries to quash rumours it has ditched consumers
Research in Motion says it will continue to go after targeted consumer segments
By Sophie Curtis | Techworld | Published: 12:14, 30 March 2012
BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIM) has denied reports that it is withdrawing from the consumer market, following its earnings call earlier this week.
In a statement emailed to Techworld, RIM stated that part of competing in the ‘bring your own device’ segment is to create a compelling consumer offering.
“The claim that RIM has said it will withdraw from the consumer market is wholly misleading,” said Patrick Spence is SVP and managing director of global sales and regional marketing.
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“Whilst we announced plans to re-focus our efforts on our core strengths, and on our enterprise customer base, we were very explicit that we will continue to build on our strengths to go after targeted consumer segments. We listed BBM, as well as the security and manageability of our platform, amongst our strengths.”
RIM further clarified its plans to drive sales of BlackBerry 7 smartphones, and launch new devices in the next few months in an attempt to reinvigorate its position in the entry-level smartphone segment. It will also seek partnerships to deliver those consumer features that are not central to the BlackBerry value proposition.
Although BlackBerry's traditional market is the enterprise, RIM's devices have found a new home in recent years amongst teenagers and students, who are attracted by the free instant messaging service, BlackBerry Messenger (BBM).
During an earnings call yesterday, RIM revealed that its revenue dropped 25 percent in the last fiscal quarter compared to a year earlier – a decrease of $5.6 billion (£3.5 billion), with the decline in revenues accelerating after it launched its BlackBerry 7 smartphones in Autumn 2011.
BlackBerry 7 is primarily aimed at customers who have previously been using feature phones and are now considering upgrading to their first smartphone.RIM has had to discount large numbers of BlackBerry smartphones and PlayBook tablets to clear inventory.
Meanwhile, RIM continues to express confidence that its forthcoming BlackBerry 10 OS – expected to hit the market this Autumn – will reinvigorate the company's fortunes. But the company warned investors to expect no turnaround before then, and said they would no longer provide investors with guidance on financial performance.