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How Research In Slow Motion can get on the Fast Track Again


NASDAQ:RIMM stock chart with volatility as at September 29, 2011

Demonstration of how Apple’s FaceTime works on iOS devices, which is now also supported with Mac computers.
Source: CNet

Demonstration of Skype for BlackBerry, only available in the U.S. for Verizon customers. International users are not able to use the app to make VoIP calls or chat with Skype friends.
Source: CrackBerry, via YouTube

Adobe engineer demonstrates how developers could use Adobe Air to create a single code base for applications that can be used to run the apps on multiple operating systems.
Source: Adobe, via YouTube


RIM’s overhauled BlackBerry Bold 9900, includes capacitive display and keyboard.
Source: RIM, via Bloomberg

The Ontario-based BlackBerry maker, Research In Motion LLC (RIM), continues to disappoint investors, as sales and free cash flow to equity significantly declined in the pervious fiscal quarter as a direct result of still not having released a competitive device more than a year after Apple launched its iPhone 4 – in fact, Apple will announce the next generation iPhone next Tuesday.

Investors largely blame top management for being too slow to innovate coupled with a corporate structure filled with intermediaries and lack of accountability that works counter-intuitively in facilitating efficient information flows, decision-making, and innovation.

Despite the significant downturn, the company holds over 2,000 patents, and is the market leader in providing enterprises with the most secure mobile communication and management infrastructure. However, competitors are now able to offer many of those core BlackBerry features in their own products with a better user experience and on a more cost-effective basis.

But, it isn’t too late for RIM just yet.

Here are some of the most important things RIM should consider to remain a going concern.

1. Take back control of your own platform:

Apple has been criticized for being notoriously controlling over what apps work on its iOS platform to the point where competitors have raised anti-trust concerns.

Although being too controlling might not be a good thing (and Apple isn’t as controlling today), at least it provides a very consistent user experience, but the same cannot be said about the BlackBerry user experience.

For example, the U.S. telecom Verizon reached an exclusive deal with Skype to make the Skype VoIP/chat app available exclusively only to Verizon BlackBerry customers. As a result, millions of other international Skype/BlackBerry users do not have practical access to Skype (even in Canada) because of the exclusive deal reached between Skype and Verizon in the U.S. – this would have never happened with any Apple product.
As another example, after you’ve restarted your BlackBerry, have you ever noticed new app installation icons (like mobile commerce app Zoom on Telus) on your menu? That’s courtesy of your carrier that has pushed the apps to your device after reaching a deal with the app makers, in the process re-arranging your menu configuration. Even if you delete the service books, after another restart, those apps re-appear. Could you opt out? No.

2. Focus on the user & innovate

One thing Apple really understands is consumer wants, and as a result, people are willing to camp out in front of stores to buy new Apple products.

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Skype’s downtime explanation could have caused new patent infringement lawsuit

The world’s most popular online video teleconferencing company, Skype, has been served with a new patent infringement lawsuit by Gradient Enterprises, alleging the way Skype has setup its network infrastructure infringes on patents it holds.

Court documents filed by Gradient Enterprises on December 21, 2010 in a New York district court cite U.S. patent number 7,669,207, a patent that relates to how information systems detect, report, and respond to network node-level events.

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Facebook press event could yield Skype deal, Facebook email accounts

facebookThe world’s largest social network with more than 500-million registered users across the globe, has announced a press event that is scheduled to take place at the company’s headquarters in California tomorrow at 10am.

Facebook did not disclose any details of the event, including what the company would unveil. It simply sent out a teaser invitation to members of the press inviting select members to the invite-only event.

It is widely rumored the company will use the event to announce a new partnership with the largest VoIP telephone company, Skype, that would bring telephone capabilities straight from Facebook, likely to be integrated with Facebook Chat.

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Google expected to bring VoIP calling to gmail

Google is expected soon to integration VoIP into its popular gmail email and instant messaging client.

Google has slowly been positioning itself into the VoIP space with a few acquisitions, including most recently of the company Global IP Solutions Corporation (GIPS) that develops technologies that process and deliver voice and video over Internet protocol, namely for service providers and developers to integrate with their platforms.

On May 18, Google acquired GIPS for $68.2-million in an all cash deal that also moved the top employees of GIPS to the Google camp.

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Skype sale moves forward, patent disputes settled

eBay is inching closer to selling it’s popular internet telephony service Skype after reaching an agreement with Joltid and Joost M.V. over patent infringement litigation.

The settlement did not come cheap. Skype founders Niklas Zennstorm and Janus Friis have given up a lot of equity, bringing their total stake in the company to 14-percent, in order for Joltid to drop litigation and to pass all rights to the questioned underlying VoIP technologies to Skype.

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Skype 2.8 Mac released with screen sharing, Skype Access

Skype has just released the fairly much-anticipated Skype 2.8 update for Mac. The update includes new features such as screen sharing and Skype Access support. You can download Skype 2.8 and get the complete details over at Skype 2.8 page. You can also check out a preview of Skype 2.8 in action in the video below.

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eBay planning Skype IPO by 2010

eBay has made it clear that they over paid for Skype and the synergies they were hoping for are just not there.

According to comments made today by eBay CEO Tom Donahoe, he said, “it’s clear that Skype has limited synergies with eBay and PayPal. We believe operating Skype as a stand-alone publicly traded company is the best path…”

According to the company, an IPO will be completed by Q2 2010.

Skype currently has more than 400 million global users, and generated $551 million in total revenue in 2008.

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Skype Reaches Nokia Distribution Deal

Internet telephony VoIP company Skype has just announced a new partnership with Nokia to bring Skype preinstalled on the Nokia N97. Skype will also be available on the other N series Nokia handsets. “With more than 400 million Skype users worldwide, the integration of Skype on Nokia Nseries mobile computers is a significant step in bringing converged Internet experiences from the desktop to the world’s most advanced mobile computer,” said Jose-Luis Martinez, Vice President, Nokia Nseries.

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