Nokia / Research In Motion Update

I wanted to take another look at how Nokia and RIMM are doing.  The graph below shows their stock prices compared over the last 3 years – the candlesticks are RIMM, the brown line Nokia.  I’ve annotated the chart with just a few key events – Nokia in orange, RIMM in black (of course), Apple in green.
The two stocks have largely tracked each other over the period, with both down about 85%.  That’s a staggering loss of value:
In December 2007, Nokia was worth $150bn and RIMM worth $64bn
In June 2012, Nokia is worth $9.8bn and RIMM is valued at $5bn.
That’s $199bn of value gone in less than 5 years (though Facebook is certainly trying to make a dent in that value loss over as little as 4 weeks)
I wrote up my “prescription” for Nokia in March last year, not long Stephen Elop had made the decision to go with Windows. I didn’t write a similar prescription for RIMM.
From here, I see Nokia surviving – without Nokia, Microsoft’s mobile strategy is dead in the water. Maybe Microsoft will buy them or, more likely, maybe they will keep pumping money into them to help them deliver.  The Lumia is a good first effort (though they should have thrown them away and started again as I suggested), but it it’s far from enough when compared with the latest Galaxy from Samsung or the iPhone 4S let alone what’s coming next.  They still need to do more – get rid of NSN, embed new features in their phones, make some smart acquisitions, cut more people (sadly) and so on – but it’s achievable.
But RIMM is, I think, done.  They have no one to save them.  They are still to get their product transition going to the new o/s (and Nokia is down over half since even starting that process).  Microsoft, Nokia and all of the other rumoured buyers won’t step in for RIMM – they don’t want blackberries.  Perhaps a PE company will step in and run the company for cash, but that would be a lot like buying Nokia’s Symbian business – it’s declining fast, faster than most (including me) expected.  To turn them around from here, even with the relatively large cash pile that they have, just doesn’t seem likely.

Why Mail On the Move Isn’t Working

More and more of the people I interact with on a daily basis are doing all or very nearly all of their email on a mobile device – mostly iPads, iPhones (if they have a choice on the device) or blackberries (usually if they don’t have a choice).

But email tools on these devices have not evolved much in the last few years.

– They are still, essentially, one large inbox (and often one inbox with email from multiple accounts in them). Managing sub-folders is cumbersome.

– They support only basic searching (Apple’s iPad email search is significantly poorer in capability than its spotlight search built into the device and much worse than Mac Mail or Microsoft Outlook). Searching To/From/Subject just doesn’t find what I need often enough (and why can’t I search across all sent mail in one go?)

– There is little or no support for flagging email, moving it to a task application, attaching it to something else you’re working on. In short, if you don’t deal with an email the moment you see it, then you are unlikely to ever go back to it and so your mobile device suddenly becomes a bottleneck – either you’re not answering your email or you’re constantly marking items read/unread as you try and juggle your task list.

– As soon as you have more than one email account, any effort to manage a simple non-duplicated contact list is doomed. I know people who 5 or even 10 copies of every person they know in their address book. The effort to sort that is huge – and you have no guarantee it won’t recur as soon as you’ve fixed it

Lots of work is needed – to build on the advances already achieved (I don’t want to take anything anyway from the effort expended to get universal inbox, the basic search capability, exchange on iPhone etc) – to ensure that we can be genuinely productive whilst on the move.

Dell on Apple

Michael Dell, talking about Apple, in October 1997:

“What would I do? I’d shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders.”

Andy Lark, CIO of Dell, talking about the Apple and specifically the iPad in March 2011:

“Apple is great if you’ve got a lot of money and live on an island. It’s not so great if you have to exist in a diverse, open, connected enterprise; simple things become quite complex.”

“[for] an iPad with a keyboard, a mouse and a case you’ll be at $1500 or $1600; that’s double of what you’re paying.”

I believe he’s talking Australian dollars, not US dollars but his pricing is still wrong … and who knows why he thinks you need a mouse for an iPad (I’m not convinced you need a keyboard either but I don’t have sales figures for those from Apple). I think I like living on the island I’m apparently on.

Mr Lark goes on:

“…Our strategy is multi-OS,” Lark said. “We will do Windows 7 coupled with Android Honeycomb, and we’re really excited. We think that giving people that choice is very important.”

It will be interesting to watch Dell’s tablet strategy unfold. This is a stock price comparison chart showing Dell versus Apple. Dell is the set of volatile black and red bars, Apple is the brown line along the bottom. Dell have been right before, but not very right, very recently.

Apple Made It Very Thin

From Yonhap News:

Lee Don-joo, executive vice president of Samsung’s mobile division, said that Apple has presented new challenges for the South Korean company with a thinner mobile gadget that is priced the same as its predecessor.

“We will have to improve the parts that are inadequate,” Lee told Yonhap News Agency. “Apple made it very thin.”

Samsung also made its latest Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet computer larger, faster and thinner than the 7-inch original Galaxy Tab. But the new, larger screen comes at a price. The 7-inch Galaxy Tab was priced at nearly US$900 without a two-year contract from mobile operators, while the price of the iPad 2 starts at $499, with the most expensive model costing $829. Samsung did not announce the pricing details for the 10.1-inch tablet.