I get embarrassed easily. Usually happens when I see someone trying desperately to be cool when they aren’t cool at all. You know that guy or girl that tries so hard but just looks ridiculous? Embarrassing right? Well the company formerly known as RIM is moving into mobile payments. They signed a 3 year agreement with EnStream – a joint venture between Canadian carriers Bell Mobility, Rogers and Telus – to move transaction data between smartphones and the bank. Now, BlackBerry has been moving secure data across its network since the blackberry was conceived – that’s the BES piece of their infrastructure. They know how to do this. The can do this but that is not the issue here. Payments are a commodity. Commodity businesses are low margin and mobile payments are a low-margin business. It just seems as tho BB is still being so reactive to what is happening today. What made them a great company was their pioneering way. They weren’t distracted by the things that couldn’t get done but they inspired the things that could.
Why focus on payments, something that credit card companies and banks will eventually own completely because they do volume. Why not focus on the thing that can propel the company through the next decade? No, not smartphones, that is over for BB. How about the Internet of Things? Why not shift the focus over to the amazing operating system they have in QNX? Stop trying to jam services down a pre-built infrastructure just because it is there. It’s like keeping the same acronym but changing the meaning of the letters.
This company is adrift in the dark. Becoming a cog in the mobile payments wheel is a short-sighted, short-lived strategy that will further devalue the company. But unfortunately this is something we’ve come to expect.