BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) has been forced to issue a clarification over its strategy, after press reports asserted the firm was about to turn its back on consumers, while the truth is that mobile vendors cannot totally ignore what happens in the consumer space any more.
During RIM's recent fourth quarter results briefing, the firm's new chief executive Thorsten Heins talked about refocusing efforts on the enterprise business and capitalising on the leading position it has in this segment with its BlackBerry handsets and services.
For the company, this was about recognising where its strengths lay, and on where it should focus its energies in attempting a reversal of its fortunes in the mobile device market.
However, press reports interpreted this as meaning that RIM was turning its back on the consumer market completely, abandoning non-corporate users of its BlackBerry devices.
The company soon issued statements clarifying its position, with the firm's managing director of global sales Patrick Spence stating that "the claim that RIM has said it will withdraw from the consumer market is wholly misleading."
This reflects the reality that, since the launch of Apple's iPhone, expectations around smartphones and other mobile devices have changed, with users now expecting or even demanding that media players, games, high-resolution cameras and other features will come as standard on whatever device they use.
The challenge for RIM now is to meet these user expectations, while making its main focus the features that appeal to enterprise buyers, such as the corporate-grade push email and device management support in its BlackBerry Enterprise Server.
"Right now, it seems like RIM is caught in a catch-22 situation. On the one hand, there is this expectation that smartphones will have all these features, yet it makes complete sense for them to focus on the things they are good at," Tony Cripps, principal analyst for devices and platforms at analyst Ovum told V3.
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