Blackberry: A Globally Local Phenomenon?

I use my Blackberry more than I would like to admit (thanks to the curse of BBM); most Blackberry users do! Canadian company Research in Motion (RIM) has been producing the Blackberry since 1999. Today, Blackberry accounts for 3% of the total mobile sales in the world. Though this may seem to account for a small number, the Blackberry has had significant social implications in the region in the past few years. The Blackberry has redefined the way people interact not only with their phones, but also with one another. Thanks to their instant messaging platform Blackberry Messenger (BBM), RIM was able to make messaging, sharing photos and broadcasting information so easy and so accessible. In doing so, RIM was able to penetrate markets, such as ours in the Gulf, to meet market demand for easy exchange of information and media. Keeping in mind objectives and strategy in a global environment, I will explain this blackberry phenomenon in the context of operations management.

Having this in mind, it is important to understand the RIM, while initially aimed for a business customer base in North America and Europe, was able to diversify into Middle East markets, particularly in the Gulf where mobile phone usage is very high. This issue of globalizing the business explains that RIM was not only able to understand the market at hand, but also learned to improve their operations abroad to attract and retain global clients and talent. In seeing this shift in global markets and adapting to this new commercialized leisure customer base, RIM began providing better goods and services that keep in mind the cultural mindset and markets. They introduced the “display pictures”, for example, to their popular BBM application and made photo sharing instantaneous and easy. Both these features show that this interaction between foreign customers and the supplier (RIM) can lead to new opportunities and extension of the life cycle. This clearly coincides with the fact that blackberries have shown an extended growth in life cycle across Middle East markets in particular, and in doing so, they are also able to improve operations by allowing for the free flow of ideas and creation of an improved product fit for both consumer and producer.

With this new market in mind, RIM needs to think of perhaps hiring more local talent based in the Middle East, in a way to further ensure success in the region. In doing so, RIM can make its mission explicit by allowing for an employee base that understands cultural implications and habits. This could help solidify the strategy for the company and make it more concrete and attainable. By doing that, RIM can continue to produce the Blackberry, ensuring a loyal client base in the Middle East and other global markets that are consistent with its reputation, values, and its ability to generate profits by capitalizing on market and cultural trends.

With new market trends on the way, most notably Instagram which only works on the iPhone (and more recently on Android), how do you think RIM needs to respond to ensure growth, profitability and loyalty by its client base in the Gulf?

5 thoughts on “Blackberry: A Globally Local Phenomenon?

  1. Interesting article Hussa.

    RIM Blackberry devices were in market for many years, mainly used by businesses to connect their employees in small work networks, until they introduced the revolutionary “BBM” feature. in the Arabian Gulf region, no one was interested to carry a complicated bulky phone, this concept has changed, thanks to BBM. People in the gulf and across the world are getting more engaged with real-time communication, and as we learned in class, Technology has a short life cycle. RIM have to come up with new features to maintain their current customers in the Gulf, as many already started shifting to WhatsApp and become more familiar with Instagram.

    The only reason I hate BBM is in the link attached:

  2. RIM should concentrate on understanding the gulf market as you mentioned one way would be by hiring local talents from the Arab gulf to be able to understand the cultural changes and requirements to stay consistent and computable.

    Great post Hussa.
    I also hate the wa blackberry used without responsibility, funny video Ahmed.

  3. This is a very interesting article ! In my personal opinion, I think Blackberry will decline in the coming years because many customers are selling their blackberries and purchasing iPhone instead. iPhone provides more innovative features and its a much smarter phone than Blackberry.

    However, Blackberry can survive and compete with its fierce competition by investing heavily in research and development and by studying their target market very carefully in order to create products that meets the needs and requirements of the customers. Otherwise, Blackberry will have the same downward direction as Nokia.

  4. Great blog with thought-provoking ideas. I do believe that Blackberry needs to fully understand the cultural influences of its target markets to better capitalize the market share; however, I believe Blackberry needs to do more than just that. Blackberry is nearly becoming obsolete in the US, which is arguably the most influential mobile market in the world. Blackberry needs to develop more attractive and functionally innovative products to gain back a larger part of the American market; these thoughts can increase Blackberry’s success in the Gulf as well. The Blackberry needs to boost its R & D for creative and up to date mobile devices or it needs to reinvest in a new strategy.

  5. This was a very interesting article. I feel for the original poster in that BBM was a both a blessing and a curse. Without a doubt Blackberry was able to create a game changing way to make smartphones appealing to nonbusiness orientated customers. Unfortunately, most of the previous comments were correct in that Blackberry was slowly on the decline and needed to make a huge investment in research and development.

    Jump over two years in the future and Blackberry’s hardly even exist anywhere in the world. Nearly the entire smartphone market is comprised of Android and iPhone. Blackberry has made a few attempts to stay in competition with these two powerhouses but they simply could not keep up.

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