NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- TheStreet published several excellent accounts of Research in Motion's (RIMM) quarterly conference call carnage. Most responses contain an ironic mix of yeah, we expected this and disbelief.
On one hand, RIM's ineptness comes as no surprise. Yet, on the other, you have to wonder how one company can continue to do so many things so horribly wrong.
It's high time for Apple (AAPL - Get Report) to embarrass RIM one last time on the way out. With the Waterloo Store leading the promotion, Apple should set up a no-questions-asked smartphone exchange. Sort of like the events they do in Los Angeles where gang members can drop off firearms and, "no questions asked," receive a $50 gift card to Wal-Mart (WMT) or some other assortment of cash and prizes.
Apple could quite possibly put RIM out of business in the U.S. and Canada by giving up a free iPhone if you're willing to stomp on, turn in and recycle your old BlackBerry (after saving all of your contacts) in a public display of unbridled aggression. For many diehard BlackBerry users this amounts to renouncing one's citizenship via flag-burning ceremony. It would be a somewhat fitting end to RIM's nightmare, particularly because, at this stage, we're only still watching out of some demented quest for entertainment.But seriously people, it's not simply that Apple deserves virtually all credit (or responsibility) for RIM's implosion. Plenty of companies lost or are losing to Apple. It's RIM's cluelessness in the face of failure that sets it apart. Microsoft (MSFT) finally looks prepared to make a meaningful challenge via Xbox and the cross-platform Windows 8 OS. It deserves a look from investors, particularly as the holiday season approaches and Microsoft presumably steps up advertising for its Surface tablet and smartphones. Despite media hysteria to the contrary, expect Nokia (NOK - Get Report) to play a key role in this effort. As I explained in Buy Nokia, Prepare RIM's Grave (Déjà vu Edition), no matter the outcome, Nokia already deserves much more credit than RIM. As a company, Nokia failed just as horribly as RIM. It did not, however, stand stubbornly pat. Instead, it acted fast to change management, blew up the dying Symbian platform and hooked up with Microsoft to help lead the Windows Phone charge.