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“India remains one of the top five markets globally for RIM”
Patrick Spence, Executive VP – Global Sales & Regional Marketing, RIM talks about the tablet business and BlackBerry’s position in the Indian market
Issue Date - 30/05/2012
B&E: How important is Indian market for RIM? What will be your strategy to tap the market?
Patrick Spence (PS): For a strategic intent, there are five pillars on which success rests – relevant products, investment in the brand, developing a go-to-market channel which is holistic and efficient, consumer insights through market research, and people who are going to execute the strategy. In India, the number of developers has increased from 4,000 to 26,000 in the last two years. We are focussing on relevant apps and have close to 50,000 at present. That’s not a small number. Right now we are investing more money in developing apps for the the enterprise segment so that we continue to lead in that space. By no means we are underestimating the Asian market. India is great for small business as well as for the large ones. We are trying to cater to all the segments. BlackBerry 10 devices will come out later this year and we are hoping they will also do well.

B&E: At the moment when you are doing really well in India what is the reason behind slashing prices?
PS: India remains one of the top five markets globally for RIM. All big and small companies are looking at India to find out what products are being used and what is the demand. It is important on several fronts. We will continue to evaluate what the market is saying about our products and focus on making sure that we get BlackBerry in the hands of smart people. Slashing prices is a way of getting the benefit of economies of scale through increased sales.

B&E: Middle East has so far been an extremely lucrative market for RIM. According to IDC data, shipments to the Middle East and Africa more than doubled to 2.29 million units in Q4 2012 from a year earlier. How does BlackBerry plan to sustain this growth?
PS: We have done a lot of work in these markets and our product teams are making sure that they develop market specific features. Like in the case of India, we introduced FM and a dedicated BBM key which enhances the experience. We have already been challenged in the US but we know what we are supposed to do there. We’ll make sure that we continue to build our brand. We already have a great base of subscribers in the Middle East and will continue to build on it.

B&E: How do you plan to tackle competition from Nokia and Samsung which have sub Rs.10,000 smartphones in India?
PS: Currently, we are not looking at numbers in terms of market share in India. Right now we are #3 in India and we’ll continue to build on this position. India is one of the most demanding markets and we think we are on the right track. Given the role that the youth plays in driving the Indian economy, we are targeting them with smart features and a great experience.

B&E: What is your outlook with respect to the tablet market?
PS: Tablets are comparatively a new category, and RIM is working aggressively with a new platform. When we talk about the smartphone market, we know that it is a great experience and customers will buy it. But with tablets, every brand has to create demand. Playbook 2 is absolutely industry-leading and has been getting positive response.


Deepti Singh           

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