RIM, You Just Don't Get It, Do You?

by Thomas Brady


John Paczkowski quotes Jefferies analyst Peter Misek today, explaining that the BlackBerry PlayBook isn’t going to be a flop” because (among other reasons):

  • Its lack of native calendar and email applications isn’t the deficit that it’s been made out to be, since accessing those functions from a browser as one might do on a PC is logical and easy.
  • It will account for far less than 10 percent of sales and earnings in even the most optimistic models on the Street.

I don’t speak analyst, but that second point to me seems to be saying, “It can’t disappoint us much because we are really not expecting much.” More interesting, though, is that first point. Presumably the point is that the lack of a mail application and calendar application is not a problem since people use online mail and calendaring applications on their PCs. Here we have an identity crisis, I think. Who are these users we’re talking about? I know plenty of people who use online calendaring and email for personal use. I know a few non-profit agencies that use online email and calendaring in the workplace. But neither of these categories of people are RIM’s bread-and-butter, and considering that this tablet is only useful when paired with a BlackBerry, they’re not going to be reaching out to new customers. Their target audience - the pantsuit-and-latte crowd - are chained to Microsoft Exchange servers. Outlook Web Access, the only way I know of to access your Exchange email and calendar online, is a painful experience that I, for one (of millions), avoid at all costs. It is neither “logical” nor “easy.” 

RIM, you have no idea who your target market is, do you? Maybe you don’t even have a user experience department. You know, those people with the fancy glasses that talk about “use cases” and “personas” that maybe you let go a while back because they were causing too much trouble and didn’t seem to affect your bottom line in a way you could measure with satisfaction. Well, you should ask TAT about that whole “accessing those functions from a browser as one might do on a PC is logical and easy” thing. I  bet they have a few people with fancy glasses and opinions.