Why Apple + RIM would be a bad idea

Several days ago a financial analyst in Canada floated the idea that Apple and RIM might collaborate to create the merger of an iPod and a Blackberry. Most of the online skepticism about this idea has focused on the incompatibility between the RIM and Apple cultures, particularly their large-ego CEOs, but there's a much more serious reason why it's a dumb idea:

iPods are beloved by young people and creative types who want entertainment on the go. Blackberries are beloved by fast-moving corporate managers who want to squeeze a little more productivity out of their busy day.

Young and mature. Carefree and career-driven. Slacker and buttoned-down. What's the intersection between those two groups?

Right: Virtually nonexistent.

So, how many people would buy the Frankenpodberry?

Every 20-something surfer-dude IT manager on the continent. Plus some technophiles. But not a mass market.

Convergence works only when you combine two features that are both desired by the same demographic group. Making a mobile device ain't like making a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, folks.

Does this mean Apple and RIM would never partner? Not at all, lots of companies do dumb things. But I think the product wouldn't sell.

2 comments:

Rob said...

The culture clash between these devices does make the idea of a combo device seem odd.

I still have a nagging thought though that a LOT of blackberry users also have iPods. Would they really not want to consolidate their devices?

Of course, that doesn't address the fact that blackberries are probably bought by companies for employees, where the ipods are bought by the individuals.

Michael Mace said...

Rob wrote:

>>I still have a nagging thought though that a LOT of blackberry users also have iPods. Would they really not want to consolidate their devices?

Good point. I haven't ever seen any market research on the iPod ownership of Blackberry users. I know from research I was involved in that the demographics of people who care about products like the Blackberry are very different from the demographics of people who like entertainment products like the iPod.

So I don't think there's a mass market for a merger of the two, but I don't know if there's a niche of people who love both.