Comments on: Palm and RIM Bringing BlackBerry Connect to the Treo 650

Palm and Research In Motion (RIM) today announced that they are working together to bring BlackBerry Connect to the Palm Treo 650 smartphone. The companies expect the solution to be available in the United States and internationally starting in early calendar 2006.
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The end...

mtnbrfl @ 10/17/2005 1:40:21 PM # Q
Along with the use of Microsoft's Windows Mobile, this seems to me to mark the end of the line for POS.

RE: The end...
cervezas @ 10/17/2005 1:44:09 PM # Q
If so, it's a loooong, slooooow end. We first heard an announcement like this one back in Dec 2003:

And why should this be the end of the line for Palm OS? Do you think Microsoft would ever let a Windows Mobile smartphone connect to BlackBerry Connect?

David Beers
Pikesoft Mobile Computing
Software Everywhere blog

RE: The end...
AdamaDBrown @ 10/17/2005 2:20:21 PM # Q
I'm afraid I don't get it. How is this "The end of Palm OS?" If anything, I'd see it as a threat to the continuance of the Blackberry hardware. Both of the major handheld computing/communication platforms now have BB clients, so enterprises can get dump their Blackberries without changing servers.

RE: The end...
AdamaDBrown @ 10/17/2005 2:30:59 PM # Q
Um, actually there is already a BB Connect client for Windows. It's packaged by HTC with their PPC phones. Just FYI.

RE: The end...
cervezas @ 10/17/2005 2:37:42 PM # Q
Um, actually there is already a BB Connect client for Windows.


Yeah, I spoke before really thinking this through. Naturally, MS would like to see companies with BB servers first switch to Windows Mobile devices and then realize "hey, why do we need to keep paying for BlackBerry Connect? We can get push email without it now."

And you're completely right that the threat is to the BlackBerry devices, not to Palm OS. So, the mystery is what RIM thinks their big strategy is here? Do they really think it's worth paving the way for Treo defections to sell a few licenses to BB Connect? Or have all those references to "CrackBerry" so gone to their head that they think they're invulnerable to such competition?

David Beers
Pikesoft Mobile Computing
Software Everywhere blog

RE: The end...
AdamaDBrown @ 10/17/2005 3:10:55 PM # Q
I see there being two possible explanations. One, RIM forsees the fact that eventually, they'll be largely pushed out of the hardware market by other devices which do both push email and other things. Say what you will about the Blackberries' efficiency, they're not much of a platform. Thus, RIM wants to expand their software market to become the de facto choice for enterprise servers. As I recall, they worked with HTC on the BB Connect client for WM, too.

Option two, RIM thinks that it won't significantly impact their hardware sales, but will broaden their software base, becoming the only "real" option for push email on the extremely popular Treo.

It would be greatly enlightening to see a breakdown of RIM's revenue, and how much of it comes from hardware versus software and support.

RE: The end...
sr4 @ 10/17/2005 3:51:54 PM # Q

Ive seen somewhere that 80% of their revenue comes from selling very overpriced poorly featured hardware (that therefore are durable, reliable and simple). Shades of Palm there.

The rising competition from rivals will cause their advantages (e.g. battery life and lack of crashes) to disappear soon. Also shades of Palm.


RE: The end...
sr4 @ 10/17/2005 3:57:59 PM # Q

For the three months to 26 February 2005, RIM recorded revenues of $404.8m, up 11 per cent on the previous quarter and 92 per cent on Q4 FY2004. Some 66 per cent of the quarter's revenue arose from sales of Blackberry hardware, down from 71 per cent in Q3. Of the rest, 17 per cent came from service deals - the same as the previous quarter - but software-derived revenue jumped from seven per cent of the total last quarter to 14 per cent in Q4.

Well written and very informative article on the transition RIM appears to be trying to make from a hardware company with software to a software / services company that also sells some hardware. One tidbit that stuck out to me was the note that carriers pay RIM between $5 & $10 per subscriber. Is that per month or year? If BlackBerry has 2 million subscribers and gets $10 per month for each subscriber, that's $$240 million dollars per year they get in revenue through subscriptions. Wow. But get this:

Sales of all of RIM's handsets, affectionately known as "crackberries" for their addictiveness, are expected almost to triple in this fiscal year. This would drive hardware revenue to 76% of the total in the 2006 fiscal year, up from 58% last year.

Sales are expected to triple. That's a good year.


RE: The end...
cervezas @ 10/17/2005 4:21:23 PM # Q
Sales are expected to triple.

Shades of a Palm we once knew. This CrackBerry phenomenon is endlessly fascinating to me. They really did copy Palm's Zen schtick--it's just that they did it for email instead of for personal information management.

David Beers
Pikesoft Mobile Computing
Software Everywhere blog

RE: The end...
svrontis @ 10/17/2005 8:04:04 PM # Q
The big cheese in our IT department thinks this is not news at all - it's no more than a rehash of what RIM have been saying for years. He says that Windows Docile devices will soon supplant Blackberry devices for 'push' email.

If this attitude is typical of corporate IT departments around the country, what chance has Palm got?

RE: The end...
Dr Opinion @ 10/17/2005 11:47:20 PM # Q
> "...the mystery is what RIM thinks their big strategy is here?..."

Compete where you have a competitive advantage, guys. RIM's advantage is their network, not their devices. 66% of revenue came from devices, but that doesn't mean they're making even a $1 of *profit* on them. If they get better margins on the network, then they should dump the hardware business as soon as is realistic (ie, without damaging their network business).

So this is totally non-news, really. Just common sense. :)

As for Palm, well they dominate in the only important device market: smartphones. They dominate so much that even m$ had to suck it up and pay to get wince on the Treo... no existing wince licensee can create a device that realistically competes! :)

"People who like M$ products tend to be insecure crowd-following newbies lacking in experience and imagination."

RE: The end...
whydidnt @ 10/18/2005 12:22:17 AM # Q
I don't see this as contributing (or not) to the demise of Palm. It just means more potential revenue for RIM as their network is accessible by more devices.

However, I'm not sure if I really understand how this is going to be distributed. Will a user be able to purchase or download this software and install it on their device? Or is it dependent on the carrier providing it? If we have to wait for Cingular or Verizon to deliver this, RIM will probably be sold six times over before anyone can really benefit from this.

BTW Dr. Opinion - RIM would be foolish to get out of the hardware business when they currently receive over 60 % of their revenue from it - REGARDLESS of profit. Any 1st year econ student can tell you that the market looks at revenue and changes to revenue just as closely as profit. If profit goes up, but revenue tanks the stock will more than likely tank too. Doesn't make sense, but that is the way it is. Some would say that common sense has very little to do with the stock market, and vice-versa.

RE: The end...
AdamaDBrown @ 10/18/2005 1:39:21 AM # Q
Not to mention the fact that simple common sense suggests that they make a not inconsiderable profit on the devices themselves. Considering their mostly low-end specs, and the prices that they're sold for, I would be not at all surprised if there's more profit in a Blackberry than in a Treo.

RE: The end...
Bostonnerd @ 10/18/2005 9:02:26 AM # Q
"...RIM's advantage is their network, not their devices…"

I wouldn't minimize their hardware and embedded OS. I've had a 7290 (Treo 600 prior) for the last 8 months. The hardware has been bullet proof after multiple drops to concrete, falling down flights of stairs, and being stepped on while on a flight to Europe. The embedded OS, while not a robust platform for application development, has NEVER so much as burped while averaging ~ 75 emails a day (with attachments) all over the world. It also does a good job of multitasking.

The phone component is more then adequate and the Bluetooth implementation is solid. As a device designed to provide extremely secure and reliable access to email (especially from behind a corporate firewall), it is tops in its class.

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