A market leader once, manufacturing the best of phones, now losing market share, developer interest, attempts at innovation failing. Sound familiar ? What was the fate of Nokia before its partnership with Microsoft is plaguing Research In Motion now. I still remember when Blackberrys used to be the devices used by the elites of every field. Then came Apple, Google and Microsoft and pretty much turned the game on its head and left RIM struggling to catch up. Ravi Nar put up an interesting article on his posterous hypothesizing the pros and cons of RIM adopting Windows Phone.
RIM would enjoy lower core platform development costs if they were to move to Windows Phone 7 as Microsoft would own the development roadmap. As a development platform Windows Phone 7 is less fragmented than Android. If RIM were able to have the same exclusive access purportedly being given to Nokia of the Windows Phone 7 core they could enhance the platform for their own phones and integrate BlackBerry Messenger (BBM). Office and SharePoint integration would suit RIM’s existing corporate user base. RIM would have an army of willing Microsoft based developers and a strong community. RIM would possess a smartphone user experience which rivals Android and iOS.
Almost all of these benefits are the same ones Nokia got and without a doubt, RIM would gain a lot if it joined forces with the Redmond giant. Combining one of the greatest strengths of RIM, the Blackberry Messenger with Office and Sharepoint features would make an extremely sweet deal, especially for business users. As it was with Symbian, even after many updates, hardly anyone finds the Blackberry OS on par with other modern operating systems. Adopting one of the most praised UIs around will definitely help them provide a better experience to their consumers.
A move to a new platform could:1. Alienate the existing large user base who like the current style of handsets and BB OS. Steps would need to be taken to avoid upsetting these users.2. Reduce the likelihood of existing BlackBerry developers committing to writing for Windows Phone 7. RIM would lose complete control of their phone platform in terms of feature development.
While a completely different direction would affect the user base of RIM, it would be upto RIM to show its customers the improvements of the new platform over the original. Change is always criticized, its upto RIM to make sure that criticism is positive.