BlackBerry-maker RIM quits fight with iOS and Android

BlackBerry-maker RIM has abandoned the consumer market, and from now on will focus on selling phones to businesses.

Luke Westaway Senior editor
Luke Westaway is a senior editor at CNET and writer/ presenter of Adventures in Tech, a thrilling gadget show produced in our London office. Luke's focus is on keeping you in the loop with a mix of video, features, expert opinion and analysis.
Luke Westaway
2 min read

BlackBerry-maker RIM has relented in its battle against the iPhone and Android, abandoning the consumer market to focus on selling phones to businesses, the BBC reports.

The news comes as RIM announces losses of $125m (£78m) dollars for the first three months of this year. Ducking out of the consumer race means that ordinary folks are unlikely to see new BlackBerry phones in shops in the future. Instead, RIM will focus on flogging crate-loads of devices to big organisations.

Businesses are keen on giving their employees BlackBerry phones, because it means everyone in the company is working on the same platform and has the same security. Whether employees who get lumbered with a work BlackBerry are quite so excited is debatable.

Long-term gadget fans will know that the business world is where RIM got started. But RIM has failed to keep pace with developments from rivals like Apple, Google or Samsung, and now its mobiles look tired alongside smart phones like the Samsung Galaxy Nexus or iPhone 4S.

Its tablet offering was also sub-par -- the PlayBook arrived with no email client and hardly any apps to its name. It was a costly mistake, and one that cost RIM roughly £235m when it had to pick up a bill for unsold units.

Hopes were pinned on RIM's new operating system, BlackBerry 10. But that hasn't arrived yet, with the first flashy touchscreen phones to be running that operating system mired by delays. We'll have to see whether RIM bothers now with rumoured upcoming kit like the BlackBerry London.

BlackBerry handsets are still popular with youngsters though, who prize the wallet-friendly price tags and BBM -- the instant messaging app that fell over in spectacular fashion last year.

Is RIM smart to wave the white flag? Will it have more success in the besuited world of business? Or will big companies also turn their attention to Android, iOS and Windows Phone? Let me know your thoughts below or on our Facebook wall.

Update: RIM has been in touch to say: "The claim that RIM has said it will withdraw from the consumer market is wholly misleading. Whilst we announced plans to re-focus on our core strengths, and on our enterprise customer base, we were very explicit that we will continue to build on our strengths to go after targeted consumer segments."

So it looks like RIM isn't planning on completely ducking out of the consumer world, but it remains to be seen exactly what its plans are outside the world of business tech. The company pointed out that new BlackBerry 7 devices will be appearing in the next few months.