RIM rolled out their new Alliance Partnership program this week and it’s just another sign, to me anyway, that RIM is missing the boat. Before I could write my own blog post, though, Ronen Halevy over at BerryReview.com wrote everything I was thinking (here and here).
Here it is in short: RIM’s historical focus on enterprises has caused short-sightedness on the part of consumer efforts (and by consumers I’m referring to everyone not in Fortune 2000 companies and government). Instead of developing the software to cater to consumers, it seems, they completely defer any consumer relationship to the carriers and hope for the best. The examples are everywhere:
- Why do OS updates come from the carrier instead of RIM, and why do we have to go find them rather than those updates being pushed to us?
- Why isn’t BlackBerry’s App World pre-installed on devices and why doesn’t this service work over wifi on the devices that support it?
- Why do enterprises get RIM’s impressive BES software for syncing with mail, contacts and calendars but consumers get the poorly created and implemented BIS implementation which doesn’t even support push email?
And now we have the new Alliance Program, as if the old one wasn’t bad enough. The old program was pay $2,000 per year to get pre-release software, a couple of devices, a cheap BES system, and access to the BIS-B wireless sync protocols. It also included tech support with your own technical guru.
For two grand, I thought we would get marketing, too, but every time RIM had a chance to help us out, they passed on the opportunity.
Now comes the new program. For the price of $2,000 plus thousands more to buy 45 participation points, we get the same benefits we had before. So the price is higher and we have to jump through more hoops than writing a check. We get points by getting people to buy BlackBerry’s, sending company reps to RIM’s dev conferences, and writing case studies.
Personally, I’m insulted. This program isn’t about us, the developer and what we can bring to RIM and how RIM can help us be more successful. It’s about what RIM can get out of us. Instead of rolling out a program that gives us better placement on the web site, elevates our standing in the App World Store, and helps us promote to the vertical markets that buy our software, we get no additional benefit for more cost.
To me, it’s just another shining example of how focused on enterprise RIM really is. The $2,000 badge of honor from RIM and access to technical support means something to enterprise developers. For consumer markets, it’s no help.
I really hope RIM gets their act together. They really have developed amazing devices for those who care more about communication than infotainment. And given their dominance in enterprises and government, they have a great opportunity to win the prosumer markets that a product like FastFigures is focused on.