ADMS4250 Marketing Strategy
BlackBerry: Ready for a New Market?
Kitchener, Ontario based company Research In Motion, Ltd. (RIM) enjoyed considerable success in
the early 2000s. Its main product – the BlackBerry – created a whole new market for mobile hand-
held e-mail devices and in 2006 RIM remained the undisputed leader of this rapidly growing (about
55% in 2006) market.
BlackBerry bridged the gap between PDAs (personal digital assistants) and cell phones. Immensely
popular with professionals in late 1990s, PDAs allowed storing, reading, and composing e-mails on
the go but required a physical connection to a host computer to send or receive e-mails. BlackBerry,
first introduced in 1999, allowed sending and receiving e-mails in real time over cell phone
networks. Just like a PDA, the device was equipped with touchpad screen, a selection of business
applications like daily planners and contacts managers, and a full (although tiny) keyboard.
To fully utilize the product, users had to subscribe to BlackBerry service offered by RIM. The key
selling points of this service were and still are “push e-mailing” when new e-mails are being
automatically sent (pushed) to the device, and a “single mailbox” solution which allowed using the
same e-mail address both for the office computer and the mobile device.
Sales of BlackBerry devices and subscription fees remain the main sources of revenues for RIM.
Figure 1: One of the early BlackBerry models - 6230
Figure 2: BlackBerry Pearl
From the very beginning, BlackBerry targeted corporate executives and managers – people busy
traveling whose productivity depended directly on their ability to receive information and make and
deliver decisions in real time. To meet the needs of this group, RIM developed a BlackBerry
Enterprise Server solution that allowed fully integrating BlackBerry devices into corporate e-mail
systems. Over the years, BlackBerry built a reputation of reliable, easy to use, and most important –
secure service. Gradually, RIM added features to its BlackBerries, the most notable being
integrating a cell phone into the device. In addition to that, current models can have speakerphone,
Bluetooth wireless technology, instant messaging, GPS, integrated two-way radio, and other