RIM acquires The Astonishing Tribe (TAT)

RIM has confirmed plans for The Astonishing Tribe (TAT) team to join Research In Motion (RIM).

“We’re excited that the TAT team will be joining RIM and bringing their talent to the BlackBerry PlayBook and smartphone platforms,” David Yach, Chief Technology Officer at RIM, blogs.

“For those who don’t know, TAT is renowned for their innovative mobile user interface (UI) designs and has a long history of working with mobile and embedded technology,” Yach writes. “TAT focuses on delivering great user experiences, from a design, technology, and usability perspective. Their design technology is used today in a variety of industries including the consumer electronics and automotive sectors. Examples of TAT’s UI designs and concepts can be viewed on their web site at www.tat.se.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: RIM. Doing to TAT that which will be done to them sooner than later.

As any Apple executive who was with the company in the late 1990s will tell you, the greatest user interface in the world is a tough, tough sell without a thriving, vibrant ecosystem.


  1. I feel sorry for these guys about to be dragged down into the bowl with the swirling RIM-turd. Let’s hope they have enough stock options vesting on change of control and are wise enough to sell quickly.

  2. Well, you can’t blame RIM for doing this. The likely way this played out was: senior management got together to try and identify the most serious weakness in their platform. After deliberation, they figured it is user interface, so they asked themselves what they can do about it. Since they have no in-house talent capable of overcoming the problem, they went shopping.

    The question is, how long until they realise that this was only the most serious (but nowhere near the only one) weakness of the RIM mobile platform… What happens when they realise they don’t have the developer-friendly SDK? Or when they realise they don’t have the user-friendly ecosystem? Will they also go shopping for a solution to those?

  3. At least these guys are taking a step in the right direction. MS is marketing crappy UI as a desirable feature. “You’ll spend more time with your family since you won’t be able to use the phone!”

  4. Not to mention how RIM plans to integrate these guys into the RIM corporate culture and how RIM plans to benefit from their expertise. Let’s not forget Microsoft’s Sidekick story; they bought out the entire team, and practically everyone worth something left MS soon thereafter. That Sidekick team was essentially melted down completely, and MS benefited exactly NOTHING from the acquisition.

    Do we know, from past RIM acquisitions, if RIM might be able to avoid MS example?

  5. Being Canadian, with a vested interest in the TSX, of which RIM is a large chunk of pie, I hope there is room for more than one player to succeed. There’s lots of rust on RIM for sure, but they wouldn’t be the last tech company to dust themselves off and come out swinging. They don’t have AAPL’s vision but they’re not lazy.

  6. So, RIMM may start working on the UI. If it were done today, does anyone understand how far behind they are? We are talking years!

    Android and RIMM will tank when Verizon customers can choose the iPhone in the next few months. This game is over! Those iPhones will be being replaced 2 years from now as their contracts end and the iPhone 6 or 7 will be the top dog at that time. Now one will want a Blackberry or Android.

  7. I had sympathy for RIM, and actually expected them to remain a top tier player in the smartphone market of the top 2-3 players back in Jan 2007.

    But one month from Jan 2011, & I don’t see the whole RIM ‘monoculture’ in place needed to compete with iOS & Android.

    What were RIM executives doing the last 4 years? Shareholders can toss out the execs (like Nokia), but once you drop into the also-rans category with the runners like Apple & Android, what chance do you have?

  8. This is like HPs acquisition of Palm, Apple’s acquisition of NEXT and also RIM’s acquisition of QNX.

    Good news–they all realized that their current solutions sucked and they needed serious help.

    Bad news–as shown by Apple, it can take five to ten years of highly focused, very hard work, (with very little immediate profit) before a company can really start to reap the benefits of such an acquisition.

    More Bad News–also as shown by Apple, their acquisition of NEXT was too late to help them take major marketshare in the PC market, they had to wait till the mobile revolution to take advantage of NEXT. They also had to build up a major ecosystem through iTunes, Apple retail, the original iPods, Apple software portfolio (iWork, Final Cut, iLife, Aperture, etc.) to keep the company rolling while they waited on the next big thing. Interestingly, Apple’s success in mobile/mp3 players is allowing them to become a major PC player again.

    I’ll be surprised if any of these companies have that kind of patience and vision.

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