When Alec Saunders stepped down as CEO of iotum, a VoIP company he founded, he said he wanted a change and a challenge. Well, he certainly found both when he joined Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) last fall as the company's vice president of developer relations. Saunders is responsible for growing RIM's developer base and generating excitement around its products--the same kind of excitement that developers currently feel for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS or Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android operating systems.
It's no secret that RIM's U.S. market share has been on the decline--BlackBerry share slid another 2.9 percentage points between September and December to make up 16 percent of the U.S. market, according to research firm comScore. Meanwhile, Android and iOS accounted for a combined 76.9 percent of the market.
Nevertheless, Saunders remains undaunted. At the BlackBerry Developer Conference last fall in San Francisco, the executive said that he believed RIM had a compelling story to tell and that the company needed to dispel some "urban myths," namely that developers aren't making money on the platform. Indeed, Saunders continues to push back against the perception that RIM is struggling, and just gave an update on how the company is doing in terms of apps. Speaking at this week's BlackBerry DevCon Europe conference, Saunders looked to "bust a few myths" about the BlackBerry ecosystem, stating that BlackBerry App World now generates more than 6 million daily downloads, translating to 174 million downloads per month and 30 downloads per user each year.
But Saunders needs to quickly end the notion that RIM is antiquated and outdated. He needs to convince developers that RIM's BlackBerry 10 platform, which is based on RIM's QNX software but won't be released until later this year, is worthy of development. He desperately needs to generate excitement for RIM--a particularly difficult task considering the rapid onslaught of Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone, which is generating a lot of good buzz and operator support.