A few years ago if you heard the word Blackberry you automatically associated it with professionalism and highly-polished smartphones. As far as messaging and e-mail were concerned, Blackberry did both best. The Blackberry was the corporate device that had a great deal of appeal to the general consumer base. It’s messaging capability made it very popular amongst the younger crowd. This was surely something that Blackberry (RIM at the time) did not foresee happening, but the truth is that the Blackberry was very popular with teenagers and young adults. Even to the present day, the Blackberry (the brand) is highly valued and respected, but has clearly fallen by the way side when compared to brands, such as Apple and Samsung.
It’s not news that Blackberry has been on the decline for a number of years now. Blackberry has already announced that it is up for sale, following abysmal sales of it’s new flagship phones, the Blackberry Z10 and the Blackberry Q10. The key phrase is that Blackberry has done too little much too late. Blackberry is hemorrhaging money and one has to wonder whether or not the property will be bought before it’s strictly in the red. The most valued asset has to be the Blackberry name, which is still a valued brand. Aside from that, one has to wonder if Blackberry’s patents, phones, tablet, and team are desired enough to attract the attention of potential buyers. Blackberry’s story is really a tragic tale of how inactivity and sluggishness can lead to failure.
Slow Response to iPhone
When we take a look at what’s lead to the downfall of Blackberry there are several problems we can focus our attention on. One of the biggest problems was RIM’s response to the debut and release of the original iPhone back in 2008. What was their response? It was nothing. While companies, such as Samsung, immediately started working on new phones that sought to mimic the functionality that Apple was offering and other companies, such as Microsoft, sought to innovate in new directions, Blackberry (then RIM) did absolutely nothing. One can even say that they had done absolutely nothing up until their two handsets release now in 2013. Blackberry did nothing to compete with revolution in smart phones following the release of the iPhone. There have really only been two attempts by Blackberry to compete with the iPhone, prior to 2013. The first was the Blackberry Torch and the second was the Blackberry Storm, which were both failures because all that Blackberry did was to put a touchscreen on their phones. That’s it. They saw the iPhone and decided that in order to compete all they needed was a touch screen. This isn’t the kind of response you would expect from a well-established and reputable company.
Resting on Corporate Business
Blackberry has essentially coasted on its corporate business for the last few years. The Blackberry was not going to be easily displaced in the work place so perhaps RIM thought that Apple, Samsung, Google, Microsoft and several other companies weren’t a threat to it’s business, but clearly management was over-confident. What we’ve come to realize is that as phones, such as the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy, become popular to general consumers, demand arises in the corporate setting. Corporations and government agencies were secure with the Blackberry, but as other smartphone’s quickly far advanced the phones offered by Blackberry they became more open to change. RIM was short sighted to think that focusing on their corporate business would be enough to stifle the advance of vastly superior smartphones.
The Blackberry App Marketplace
Blackberry’s app marketplace to this very day is abysmal. When I turn on my Blackberry Playbook and visit the Blackberry World Marketplace, I find myself journeying through a desert of destitute apps. There is dearth of apps that is so blatant it would lead a consumer to believe that the enterprise had been abandoned. Developers have simply not adopted the Blackberry platform. Blackberry was smart to have allowed Android apps to run on both the Blackberry Playbook, Q10, and Z10, but even that was simply not enough. It’s the theme of this post-mortem. It’s simply been too little and much too late.
A Non-Mainstream Tablet
I do have to admit that I am a Blackberry Playbook user and while I’ve had problems with Blackberry support in the past, I still enjoy my Playbook. It does everything that I need it to do and it does it well. The Blackberry Playbook has had a lot of problems. It was again another device that was late to the market. With the iPad and a large proliferation of Android tablets, the argument for a Blackberry tablet was weak. Aside from this the Blackberry Playbook, from the viewpoint of a user, is not much a mainstream tablet. There just simply isn’t that much you can do with it and with a destitute app store there isn’t much functionality that can be added to it. It’s not like an iPad or an Android tablet, where the app store can extends appeal to just about anyone. We’ve come to realize that a device lives or dies with its app store and if platform lacks it, it will surely struggle to gain in popularity.
Blackberry Messenger, BBM
A few days ago Blackberry debuted its Blackberry Messenger app, which brings the BBM functionality of the Blackberry to both iOS and Android. This is a great move by Blackberry, but once again, it’s much too little, much too late. Knowing that Blackberry is looking for a buyer, this is almost an attempt to gasp for air. This might have been a great move on Blackberry’s part had it happened a few years ago, but simply comes across as forced now. Aside from this, I just don’t see anyone adopting the application. Why would anyone? There are so many other solutions out their now that I don’t see anyone sincerely having interest in BBM, which might be associated with the earlier part of the past decade.
These have just been a few of Blackberry’s many problems which I decided would make up a great look into the post-mortem of Blackberry. I believe the company to be dead, but, of course, you could argue it’s simply on life-support. Whatever the case, if a buyer does not present itself soon, then surely Blackberry will be on its last knees. I’m sure that this will be a business case that will be studied for many years by business students as a prime example of how a company can shut down and simply fade away through inactivity.