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商业 - 科技

拿什么拯救你,黑莓

Jack Hidary 2012年07月24日

虽然有很多迹象显示黑莓手机生产商RIM颓势难改,但这家公司也不是完全不可救药。RIM完全可以抛弃自身已无法吸引开发者的软件平台,改用谷歌安卓系统的同时保持其独特的黑莓硬件产品线。这样,RIM就可以在安卓平台上提供商务版操作系统,提升自身的价值。

    很多人已经放弃了黑莓手机生产商移动研究公司(Research in Motion,RIM),理由充分。曾经在移动商务通信领域叱咤风云的RIM如今已经丧失了市场领导地位。

    上上周,RIM首席执行官托斯滕•海因斯宣布的一则消息进一步压低了该股股价。RIM决定保留过时的操作系统,计划明年一季度推出新的版本。这个消息毫无疑问地表明,这家公司前途渺茫。

    事实上,我建议选择另一条道路:效法苹果(Apple)。2006年,史蒂夫•乔布斯将所有产品线中的IBM PowerPC芯片都换成了英特尔(Intel)半导体。随后,苹果开始放手专注于自己最擅长的领域——整体用户体验。尽管此类传言多年来不绝于耳,乔布斯最初的声明仍然震惊了Mac粉丝。时至今日,我们知道这一步是多么地有先见之明。重新将重点放在用户体验上是新苹果的开始,如今苹果已成为世界上最有价值的公司。

    RIM完全可以抛弃自身已无法吸引开发者的软件平台,改用谷歌(Google)安卓(Android)系统的同时保持其独特的黑莓(Blackberry)硬件产品线。RIM可以在安卓平台上提供商务版操作系统,提升自身的价值。其中包括与Salesforce.com、甲骨文(Oracle)和SAP等企业平台连接的内置式接口。一般安卓手机更多地装有消费应用和多媒体应用,而不是出厂自带的核心商务应用软件。

    如果由于某些原因、谷歌不愿与RIM合作,RIM也可以转向微软(Microsoft),采用其Windows Mobile 操作系统。接下来的挑战是Windows Mobile同样存在应用软件和开发人员不足的问题。RIM最好还是与谷歌达成协议,打造移动商务平台。

    黑莓用户普遍喜欢黑莓手机的构成和键盘。很多人发现很难改用虚拟键盘,宁愿继续使用他们“顶呱呱的黑莓”。通过提供现代的操作系统和商业应用软件,海因斯先生既可以满足用户需求,也能让用户更愿意留下来。RIM已打造了一个全球性的快速网络,其安全性对于企业用户具有极大的价值。但是,除非它能很快推出一个平台得到开发人员的有力支持,否则这个全球网络必将消亡。

    五年前充满希望地起用黑莓手机的财富500强首席科技官,如今面对的是愤怒的用户希望得到前沿的商业应用软件。如果RIM改用安卓系统,就能留住庞大的公司用户群体。但这些首席科技官们不会等到明年。我和很多首席科技官们聊过,有些早已在实施黑莓退出计划。RIM的困境持续只会让过时的趋势真的成为过时。

    RIM只有几个月的时间来调整方向。如果向史蒂夫•乔布斯学习,今秋就能拿出一款升级手机。否则,在这个RIM共同打造的市场中,它或许会面临被边缘化的窘境,最后只剩一家圆周理论物理研究所(Perimeter Institute)。

    Jack Hidary是一位初创企业投资者,Dice.com的共同创始人和前首席执行官。

    译者:早稻米

    Many have given up on Research in Motion -- with good reason. The company has ceded its leadership in a space it once dominated.

    Last week RIM's (RIMM) CEO Thorsten Heins depressed the stock further by announcing that the company will stick to its outdated operating system and come out with its next iteration in the first quarter of next year. This -- without question -- will doom the company to failure.

    Instead I suggest a different approach: pull a reverse Apple (AAPL). In 2006, Steve Jobs swapped out the proprietary PowerPC (IBM) chips for Intel (INTC) semiconductors across its product line. Apple was then free to focus on what it does best -- total user experience. Though a rumored possibility on and off for years, Jobs' initial announcement shocked Mac fans. We can now see how prescient a move it really was. Refocusing on user experience was the beginning of the new Apple that has come to be the most valued company in the world.

    RIM can easily jettison its software platform, which has failed to attract developers, and license Google's (GOOG) Android while keeping its unique line of Blackberry hardware. RIM can add value on the Android platform by delivering a business version of the OS. This would include built-in hooks for Salesforce.com (CRM), Oracle (ORCL), SAP (SAP) and other enterprise platforms. The typical Android phone is geared more for consumer applications and multimedia rather than hard-core business apps out-of-the box.

    If for some reason, Google will not play ball with RIM, the company can turn to Microsoft (MSFT) and license its mobile Windows OS. The challenge then will be the paucity of apps and developers on that platform as well. But RIM is better off cutting a deal with Google and creating a mobile business platform.

    Blackberry users love the form factor and keyboard of their devices. Many find it hard to use a virtual keyboard and would rather stick with their "crack berries." Mr. Heins can give them what they want with a modern OS and the biz apps that will make it easy to stay with Blackberry. RIM has built a fast global network whose security offers a lot of value to enterprise users. However, unless it rolls out a platform soon that has strong developer support this network will disappear.

    Fortune 500 CTOs who adopted Blackberry with such gusto five years ago are now facing angry users who want cutting-edge business apps. If RIM jumps to Android they can keep their strong corporate user base. But these same CTOs will not wait until next year. I have spoken a number of CTO's who are already implementing their Blackberry exit plans. RIM's continued woes are only likely to make an anecdotal trend an actual one.

    RIM has only a few months to change course. If they take a page from the book of Steve Jobs they can come out with an updated device this fall. Otherwise, RIM might as well fold into its Perimeter Institute because that is exactly where it will end up -- on the outskirts of the very market the firm helped create.

    Jack Hidary is a startup investor and co-founder and former CEO of Dice.com (DHX). Send Jack comments @jackhidary.

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