Case | HBS Case Collection | July 2012 (Revised April 2014)

Research In Motion: The Mobile OS Platform War

by Alan MacCormack, Brian Dunn and Chris F. Kemerer


The case describes competition in the market for smart phones in the US, and the position of one player, Research In Motion (RIM) who manufacture the popular Blackberry line of products. Early in 2011, RIM is in trouble. Its stock price has plummeted, amidst poor business results, and its future as an independent company is in doubt. A new Chief Executive Officer, Thorsten Heins, must decide how to position the company for the future. The case allows students to understand the strategic dynamics in platform-based industries in general, and to explore more specifically how a firm that led the industry in 2007 could fall to earth so dramatically four years later. The case is based upon data and information from public sources.

Keywords: innovation; product development; technology strategy; platform strategy; software; hardware; Technological Innovation; Innovation Strategy; Hardware; Mobile Technology; Technology Platform; Telecommunications Industry; Technology Industry; Canada; United States;


MacCormack, Alan, Brian Dunn, and Chris F. Kemerer. "Research In Motion: The Mobile OS Platform War." Harvard Business School Case 613-001, July 2012. (Revised April 2014.)