The Social Networker

by Chris Miller at 03:17:16 PM on Monday, March 30th, 2009
We discussed the pending launch of the Blackberry App World on Episode 14 of TheSocialGeeks podcast.  Research in Motion (RIM) has the ability to take a chunk of the market for handheld applications in the corporate world with proper marketing, distribution and pricing.  Nokia and WMD devices are next up to get stores this summer too.


We all know that the iPhone App Store offers pricing anywhere from free.  Apple then takes 30% of the sales price as their own.  RIM on the other hand is shooting for 20% of the sales price that jumps to a minimum of $2.99 after free.  What this means for RIM is they will make more per sale than Apple.  If they can get the marketing right.  RIM is not just an enterprise product as numerous people now rely on the Blackberry Internet Service (BIS) through the cell providers.  You can then 'upgrade' to BES service which gives the enterprise access, controls and activations on top of BIS.

For RIM to penetrate the consumer market, they will need to drop some of the entry level pricing to match Apple and build as large a catalog.  Tossing and collecting tons of free applications is a key start to reach the end user.  Having bundles that come with the cell provider device versions for free is an excellent selling point when you sit in the store and hunt for a new phone/device.  That moves us to marketing.


First thing, RIM must get the app store as an icon on each and every Blackberry device sold.  The new Storm on Verizon has this exact feature and drives you to download a fixed set of free applications right away.  This currently has no way to browse for anything outside of it and finding more on the Internet is always a duck hunt.  You never know what is good, how much it will be and how to get it.  Making this app center visible as soon as you start your device is almost like suggesting users buy more things.

RIM will also need to not only hit the enterprises hard with the sales of corporate applications (like SalesForce and bundle licenses), but the consumer with marketing around Skype, SlingPlayer Mobile and even Google integration apps that exist.  Centralizing this marketing push is a key movement from them to get the name Blackberry from being looked at as corporate only.  I only say this as even those concumers I know that got a Pearl or Curve, only chose these since they looked closest to the iPhone without being on AT&T.

One other key is how RIM deploys updates quickly and allows you to exist and update to most any of them across providers.  Not one version and make me Jailbreak you, like Apple.  I can download the most recent OS version for my device, remove the vendor file and upgrade away.  My apps keep working, new features get added and the user is happy.  Corporations handle this in mass through testing and OTA deployments.

Another piece of marketing the the beautiful, inherent, full QWERTY keyboard on many of the devices.  A lot of people do not like typing on the iPhone and this is a huge win for RIM.  I, myself, got used to the Storm but still cant type as fast on the iPhone.  RIM has penetration into each and every carrier, unlike Apple, and can use that to beat the freakin pants off of them.


Before we get into how the Blackberry device gets the application, we need to mention the global presence of RIM already.  As Apple started in the US only and is slowly going out through AT&T globally, RIM has been there since they started.  You can take any of the devices (with tri or quad band support) anywhere on the globe and get service.  They need to capitalize on this early lead.

Another strength of the Blackberry that many do not know is the ability to install all these applications OTA (over the air).  Most people think you have to download it locally and then sync your Blackberry with the Desktop Manager that comes whether you are enterprise or consumer.  OTA simplifies installation and updates for everyone.

If you are corporate, your company can then buy packaged multiple licenses for mass distribution.  This ability also beats Apple since they must sell each and every one individually.  Imagine the volume sale to a company with thousands of devices and the return for RIM?  Companies can control OTA deployments with ease through the BES server (policy driven already so don't ask).  So they download and buy once and deploy once.


As usual, I jump around a bit, because I type as I think.  Through multiple license sales, bundles with cell carriers and a global corporate presence, RIM can make a huge leap and take a chuck of this emerging market.

  • 1) How RIM (Blackberry) can win part of the application store wars
    Created by Joerg Michael at 03/31/2009 1:38:19 AM email |

    Good post! Minor correction: actually Apple keeps 30% of the app store revenue.

  • 2) re: How RIM (Blackberry) can win part of the application store wars
    Created by Chris Miller at 03/31/2009 7:47:42 AM email | website

    Thanks and you are right, I amended that. I read one thing and typed another in the posting. it is 30%

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