Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) is still struggling, and the company’s most recent earnings release confirms it. Despite the release of the highly anticipated touchscreen model of its flagship line, the company managed to ship just 6.8 million phones for the quarter.
The only real upside to the release is that it seems the launch of the BlackBerry 10 platform has managed to turn around the revenue decline in three of the company’s four business regions. Still, it isn’t much of an upside. The company reported the aforementioned 6.8 million phones for the quarter with a $0.13 per share loss on $3.07 billion in revenue. This fell well short of Wall Street’s expectations of 7.5 million phones and an average estimated profit of $0.08 per share on $3.37 billion in revenue.
It seems Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) has fallen even further behind its competitors, despite bringing the smartphone category to the forefront of mobile communication. What can the decline of Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) tell us about the future of big tech?
First let’s examine BlackBerry’s decline, which most will tell you can be traced back to the meteoric rise of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s iPhone and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s Android operating system. Looking at market share data provided by IDC, it seems clear that if they didn’t cause BlackBerry’s demise, they certainly capitalized on it. Together they represent 92.3% of all smartphone operating system shipments in the first quarter of 2013.
Innovation, or in Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY)’s case, lack thereof. The company, then known as Research in Motion, was content with its design trajectory and kept true to its course. And the result? Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Google, and the rest are eating Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY)’s lunch.
The competition is rapidly innovating, initiating new projects at a breakneck pace, while pruning ones that fall short of expectations. Could these firms have learned from the mistakes of Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) and others that met a similar demise?
What does this tell us about the future of tech?
It suggests that the future belongs to the innovators and not necessarily the current market leaders, which gives the companies two real choices: innovate or buy innovation. For instance, while Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is widely regarded as the top social network, the company is floundering for direction and still hasn’t closed the gap between its current stock price and its IPO price.
Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) did perform admirably over the first quarter of 2013, posting a 7% gain in net income over the previous year’s quarter, but investors are still waiting for direction. The company has initiated several new services, the bulk of which seem to be knee-jerk reactions to the services developed by competitors. Poke, the firm’s SnapChat clone, has had little traction. Facebook Places, a Foursquare competitor, has been a flop thus far. And Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s Instagram competitor was basically dead on release. It seems as though Facebook is on the defensive, opting to continually play catch-up with the competition rather than looking to lead. Is it coincidence that the company’s stock has languished below the IPO price?