Trading Places with Networks

The recent global network disruptions that have hammered Research in Motion’s already weak reputation are interesting when constrastd with Apple’s launch of iCloud.

RIM has been struggling to maintain customer and enterprise confidence while they work to launch their QNX based handsets. The network outage highlights yet another area where RIM is paying the price for their lack of innovation: the network.

Having invested millions into building a global, dedicated network for moving data traffic, RIM has failed to plan for the future. Not only have the requirements of both enterprise and consumer handset purchases changed, but the way that these handsets connect has evolved.

Before cell carriers had built robust data networks, RIM’s dedicated pipes were a big incentive for carriers to do the work of selling Blackberry. Now, with their own networks able to (mostly) handle data traffic from millions of iPhones and Android smartphones, RIM’s network is no longer a critical intermediary.

iCloud is a network with a different purpose. Rather than moving data from point A to B, iCloud takes data from point A, stores it and makes it available to points B, C, D, n when it’s needed.

The Blackberry network is only useful for transport, not for storage or sync.

In addition to being behind in handset innovation, RIM has not developed the supporting infrastructure. This back-end is arguably as important as the products themselves. Apple has put a down payment on this part of the puzzle and it’s set to pay off.