Here’s the prevailing wisdom on RIM, makers of BlackBerry, from the tech community:
Slow to react. Underpowered. Last-generation hardware. Ancient software. Refusal to expand beyond the corporate world. Lousy web browsing. Lousy multimedia playback. Lousy syncing. Barren app store. “Doomed to be the next Nokia.”
Well, that doesn’t seem to matter to John Q. North American Smartphone Purchaser. It seems as though reports of RIM’s eventual demise were very much exaggerated, because the company’s quarterly profit jumped a whopping 68% over the year-ago quarter. That’s not only “not failing,” that’s an impressive showing from any tech company.
What’s more, those earnings just barely include the revenue from the BlackBerry Torch, RIM’s new flagship smartphone, which launched only two weeks before this quarter ended. The Torch has earned mediocre reviews and isn’t selling in gangbusters numbers like an iPhone or particularly hot Android device, but it’s selling quite well overall and is anything but a failure (except, perhaps, in ambition–wait, see that, right there? That’s the tech journo’s tendency to bash RIM for being boring, when in fact they’ve done nothing wrong. That snark is the only reason why BlackBerry’s success is a surprise. After all, it’s the biggest smartphone brand in America, present on all four major carriers, during a time when smartphone sales are exploding. Of course they’re doing well!)
BlackBerry has had some legal troubles as well lately, though that’s really due to certain totalitarian governments demanding access to smartphones owned by its citizens. It’s hard to really get upset at a company for refusing to allow Saudi Arabia or the UAE or Indonesia access to private data, and apparently it hasn’t affected sales very much.
It’s notable that even in this Associated Press article, the majority of the column inches are devoted to enumerating BlackBerry’s problems and deficiencies–while in a story about how great the company is doing financially! Maybe it’s time we get off BlackBerry’s back–it’s pretty clear they’re doing something right.