By: Hillel Fuld (@hilzfuld)
As Samsung takes the crown of the mobile industry with Apple breathing down its neck, companies like Nokia and RIM continue to struggle. Both Nokia and RIM are not going down without a fight and both have made some drastic strategic moves, which hypothetically speaking, could be the beginning of a comeback.
Nokia partnered with Microsoft and the Windows Phone ecosystem to create what is widely regarded as the most beautiful smartphones on the market today, the Lumia lineup. RIM announced and previewed its upcoming OS, BlackBerry 10 and from where we are sitting, it looks like the company might have finally come to the realization that they cannot depend on security and email solutions forever.
You can watch BlackBerry 10 in action below and read more about it here.
RIM actually has a unique advantage being in the struggling position it is in. The company can learn from other’s mistakes and iterate. After all, there is not much to lose. It seems that that is exactly what RIM has done with this new offering.
Let me explain. If Windows Phone has taught us anything, it has taught us that specs don’t matter, and some might say, even UI is secondary to the strength of a platform’s developer ecosystem. Or in one simple word, apps! Windows Phone has 80k apps in the MarketPlace and growing but in today’s world with 600k apps in the App Store and approximately the same in Google Play, 80k just doesn’t cut it.
But how does a platform get those numbers? The answer is that those numbers are achieved by putting the needs of developers first. What are the needs of developers, you ask? Good question, I thought you’d never ask. The answer is money. App monetization. That means discovery and that means revenue.
Well, RIM did something pretty gutsy yesterday by announcing that any BlackBerry developer whose app is approved for the App World and generates a minimum of $1,000 of annual revenue, will automatically make the developer eligible for a guarantee from RIM of $10,000 in annual revenue.
Now, the only two small catches are that the app needs to meet certain standards, which RIM did not yet disclose in order to get approved and the app needs to generate at least some minimal traffic on its own merit. Seems pretty legitimate to me.
If the developer gets approved and generates anything over $1,000, RIM will make up the difference to $10,000. Nice, move, RIM.
Again, is this desperate on the part of RIM who is slowly going extinct in the mobile space, or is this an indication that RIM gets the fact that in order to play this game, developers have to be top priority? A third possibility is of course, a combination of the two. A sign of desperation with a little brilliance on the side. I vote for that.