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Research in Motion

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Research in Motion

Research in Motion Limited (RIM) as it is also known as a maker of Blackberry was founded in 1984 by Douglas Fregin and Mike Lazaridis. Both were engineering students when they first started out. RIM started out as a wireless and telecommunications equipment company which was based in Waterloo, Canada. One of Rim’s main target customers were business and government organizations (Wikipedia, 2014).

In my opinion, I would say that RIM was the first to come out with an innovation and technology for smartphones. It had a vision for the future, and it was after they came out with their first Blackberry smartphone in 2000 that companies such as Apple and Samsung followed suit. When the Blackberry first came out in 2000, RIM faced its first and biggest challenge on its intellectual property in which it was sued by NTP. NTP is a Virginia based patent holding company that was founded in 1992. NTP is a non-practicing entity which enforces its patent portfolio against larger organizations (Wikipedia, 2014). NTP requested RIM to license its patents and Charles Meyer, RIM’s in-house attorney concluded that there was no violation (Teska, 2006). The lawsuit was ongoing for six years until in 2006 the US Justice Department decided to intervene and warned that the network would be shut down as the government was relying on blackberry (Hill, 2013). RIM then finally decided to pay NTP $612.5 million the amount that would cover past and future use of the patents. Interestingly after the settlement was made, RIM’s shares shot up by 15% in a few days (Regan, 2006). Hence RIM decided to take precaution in ensuring its intellectual property is protected by recording all its employees’ conversations. According to RIM’s CIO Robin Bienfait, everything is recorded and remains in RIM and the employees are aware of the surveillance (Tindal, 2009). RIM now protects its intellectual property through patents, trademarks, copyrights, designs, trade secrets, contractual agreements and confidentiality procedures.

As said previously, Blackberry was the first to come out with the smartphones and were leading in the industry for many years not only in the United States but also in many other continents. Most of it customers were businesses and governments as they were given the benefit to access the email through the smartphone. Nevertheless Blackberry started having stiff competition when Apple and Samsung started producing smartphones. Apple could be said to be one of Blackberry’s biggest competitor during the early stages compared to Samsung, who later on became equivalent in giving Blackberry, the run for their money. During the early stages of the competition, Blackberry still continued to grow with almost 22 million users just in the United States. It was not until 2011 that Apple’s Iphone surpassed Blackberry and became a major smartphone provider. By 2013, there was 49 million Iphone users compared to Blackberry, which then had only 7.6 million users (Wikipedia, 2014). I would say that the rivalry became tougher when most phone companies started using Android as their operating systems. Another issue that challenged RIM and BlackBerry was in 2010 when there was a disruption caused by a hardware failure followed by failure in RIM’s dual redundancy system which left businesses and governments unable to access their emails for 3 days throughout the different continents. (Williams, 2013). This in my opinion caused a big blow for RIM as those using Blackberry would have started looking for other available options.

RIM was able to be successful all these years was due some of the TCO’s applied by them and one of it was optimizing technology. As it is known, the blackberry was the first to come out with smartphones. They had the technology in which email service could be accessed on the phone. The famous QWERTY keyboard that many of us know now was also introduced by Blackberry. Next I would say is design dominance, during the time when there were other competitors that entered the industry, Blackberry has come out with multiple different designs in their product line that suits different types of user’s needs. Their design dominance, I would say was why many businesses and governments still used the blackberry for their daily business use. Many would agree with me if I said that at one point of time it was like a standard guideline to use a blackberry for a business purpose.

To sum this up, I would personally say that RIM’s technology was a stepping stone for the smartphone world. The innovation in which email could be made accessible on the phone has given us the opportunity to be able to have a smartphone that we enjoy today. This generation’s smartphones give us the ability to not only access the email but also chat using applications such as WhatsApp, make calls through Viber, access social networking sites such as Facebook and twitter. The challenge faced by RIM through the lawsuit taught the world the importance of protecting any intellectual property by licensing, patenting, trade secret and many more. We also could not agree more that any new technology invented will face competitors and in order for a company to be able to sustain would be to ensure that we always find new methods to improvise the existing product or come out with another technology that is superior to what was already invented.

References

Blackberry Limited. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved July 22, 2014, from

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BlackBerry_Limited

Hill, S. (2013, September). The 11 moments that defined BlackBerry's rise and fall. Tech Radar. Retrieved from

http://www.techradar.com/us/news/phone-and-communications/mobile-phones/the-10- moments-that-defined-blackberry-s-rise-and-fall-1175428

Regan, K. (2006, June). With NTP Settlement Done, RIM Turns to Face Tougher Competition. Ecommerce Times. Retrieved from

http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/49197.html

Teska, K. (2006, March). The Story Behind the BlackBerry Case. Spectrum. Retrieved from

http://spectrum.ieee.org/consumer-electronics/gadgets/the-story-behind-the-blackberry-case

Tindal, S. (2009, March). RIM records employee calls to protect IP. Cnet. Retrieved from

http://www.cnet.com/news/rim-records-employee-calls-to-protect-ip/

William, J. (2011, October). Businesses likely to rethink continuity plans after Blackberry outage. Computer Weekly. Retrieved from

http://www.computerweekly.com/news/2240106434/Businesses-likely-to-rethink-continuity- plans-after-Blackberry-outage

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