TechCrunch comes out in support of RIM! Well, sort of…

I’ve regularly discussed the role of the media in the growth and development of the mobile world. I often quote and display screenshots of examples highlighting just how (unwittingly) influential the media, particularly the tech blogosphere, can be when it comes to supporting one ecosystem or the other.

A few years back Nokia more or less completely ignored the warning shots being fired across their bows by the Silicon Valley blogosphere (and the large array of hangers-on churnalist bloggers who write about whatever TechCrunch, GigaOm or Venturebeat write, often getting their post up in minutes of the original to try and claim the traffic).

We all saw what happened to Nokia. RIM has been receiving the same treatment.

It’s not necessarily deliberate. A lot of the criticism is certainly warranted, however in many cases, I feel that negative coverage becomes self-fulfilling.

A lot of people don’t know what to think. Or they don’t have time to bother. They outsource their opinions to the likes of the blogosphere (and there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, we’re all busy people). So when truly partisan coverage is published day-in, day-out, it’s difficult to get the real picture. It’s also rather challenging to rebut.

After a while, it’s rather difficult to counter “RIM/Nokia/Microsoft is dead” arguments because it’s been repeated so often it feels like fact. And since there’s always a degree of truth (e.g. installing an application on a 5.0 OS version of BlackBerry isn’t particularly beautiful), the coverage easily becomes ‘real’.

TechCrunch is one of those publications that — I do think unwittingly — plays to Apple and Google. I can see why. Unless you physically transplant a TechCrunch author to Indonesia or Abu Dhabi so they can witness the total domination of the likes of RIM in such markets, then what should we expect? In fairness, the rest of the world doesn’t really matter, does it? The excitement, the launches, the innovation, it’s all taking pace in the States and invariably on the West Coast.

It’s nice to see a bit of a different perspective this afternoon from Matt Burns at TechCrunch who took aim at his colleague’s rather negative portrayal of RIM. Indeed, if you’ve ever wanted a good example of how the US media tends to overplay things in favour of the likes of Apple or Google, just read that post.

Here’s Matt’s final paragraph:

None of us here at TechCrunch have any dog in the mobile platform race, yet it’s often perceived differently. It really doesn’t matter to us if Google dominates Apple or if Samsung overtakes Nokia. We don’t care if OS X has a bigger market share than Windows 7. But we do care when companies die.

RIM messed up. They were very late to the game. BlackBerry 10 will hit the market six years after the iPhone debuted. BlackBerry 10 might be too late as Wired says. But that story is old. We’ve told it before. It’s time to move forward, which is exactly what RIM is attempting to do and at least Wall Street is encouraged. And it’s clear RIM’s employees attempting to save the company actually care.

via RIM Employee’s OOO Reply This Week Is Both Epic And Inspiring | TechCrunch.

Nice one Matt.

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

10 replies on “TechCrunch comes out in support of RIM! Well, sort of…”

Dog ≠ Hunt.

The fundamental USP of RIM has dried up and blown away in the winds of change: hard keyboards and security.

RIM themselves have gone down the touchscreen route, acknowledging that is what most people want.

And corporate security teams no longer value RIM’s much-vaunted security features. CTO’s are now wondering why they are paying a fortune for BES, when Android and iOS pushmail does just as good a job, data plans are now all-inclusive and WiFi is pretty much everywhere.

Oh, and BYOD apps like Fixmo, MobileIron et al just ate the lunch of people needing to be given a new phone on Day 1 of a new job. People only want to carry one phone, and they want to use it for personal stuff. Surprise!

Even if RIM hadn’t dragged out 10, even if they hadn’t hemorrhaged users to iOS over the last two years, even if they hadn’t set fire to several Billion over the Playbook and wasted two years in the process, they are still stuck with no USP apart from a fast-disappearing ‘corporate cachet’. That a BB was what you used when you’d *made it*.

And ‘battery life’? Please. If you actually *use* a BB in the same way as an iPhone or Android – lots of video, photos, browsing – the battery dies just as fast. RIM have no magic bucket of amperjoulevolty-things inside. The laws of physics, CPU cycles, energy density of Li-on apply to them just as the others. I’d argue most BB’s last longer because the UI is so horrible people just don’t use them as much as the others.

Sorry, but dog ≠ hunt.

No. But blaming Apple/Android-centric media, analysts or investors ignores the real problem: people don’t buy RIM devices or services like they used to. Why? Because they have ‘better’ alternatives. RIM need to deliver all that iOS and Android does PLUS something else. ‘me too’ is not good enough, given the ecosystem effect they need to counter. A BlueTooth link to your Playbook and emails that swap just don’t cut it.

The whole experience? Really? email (a given?), browsing, music, photos, navigation (OK, OK, not hard) and sync with PC/Mac/cloud?

‘A lot better’ must therefore translate into sales then. Surely.

If they do, I look forward to eating my hat*

* my hat du jour is made by Pieminister, and may contain free-range chicken, pork and leeks. Best worn slightly warm.

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