A notable year for all the wrong reasons


 Plenty of notable events occurred in our industry during 2011 but as Michael Garwood explains, unfortunately most of them had a negative impact

This has been another landmark year for the mobile industry. Unfortunately, with tsunamis, earthquakes and rioting, it was eventful for the wrong reasons.

There were dramatic moments aplenty from BlackBerry and Nokia, who will be hoping for an upturn in the coming year.

It is hard to believe that Nokia is going into 2012 as an underdog. It spent 2011 laying the foundations for a smartphone revival following its death-or-glory Microsoft alliance.

Google’s acquisition of Motorola is one to watch, as is Sony following its purchase of Ericsson. Sleeping giants ZTE and Huawei have also made their intentions known.

Which leaves RIM facing its most difficult year. A disastrous three-day data outage virtually wiped out its claim to being the de facto business smartphone, while August’s riots gave BlackBerry the unwanted profile of being the device of choice for criminals and rioters.

Apart from the marauding prepay hordes, most of RIM’s customers are tied into contracts. But many dealers in the B2B channel – RIM’s biggest market – doubt the company will recover from declining revenue and the loss of 2,000 staff.

We expect 2012 to be a make-or-break year for RIM if it is the subject of a hostile takeover or a break-up.

Apple predictably made the headlines with the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S, but the year will forever be marked by the passing of Apple founder Steve Jobs.

It remains to be seen if Apple can continue its success story, but few would bet against it.

The past year has been miserable for networks. The economic downturn hit revenues and the reduction in mobile termination rates cost them millions.

And spare a thought for the network stores trashed in the riots. The ultimate irony is that, if it wasn’t for mobile technology, the thieves and criminals would not have been as successful in co-ordinating their outrages.