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Blackberry Story

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In 2003 a little know Canadian pager company RIM came up with a push email device with a built in qwerty keyboard. This enabled users (mostly corporates) to send emails and communicate via short messages thus CrackBerry was born. This went to make the headlines around the globe and reaching its lustrous financial peak in 2008 around $55bn owning private jets and have made numerous acquisitions of third party companies and technology. Up until 2 years ago Blackberry, was a communication device, so powerful it was credited with enabling a revolution in Egypt. During the London 2011 riots politicians called for the Blackberry Messenger (BBM) service to be switched off. But today users are pulling the plug with whatsapp, vemo and Wechat (Still some argue about the security and privacy issues on these apps).


RIM was caught completely by surprise when Apple launched the iPhone in 2007 and took smart phones to the next level with an advanced web browser and third-party app support. Google followed shortly thereafter with its own Android platform. Turns out a smartphone could have other killer apps. Suddenly, BlackBerry had company to compete with.


Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie never once admitted or realised they were in trouble, even as the iPhone and Android decimated BlackBerry's market share.  It was late to hit the panic button when overheads and other expenses started sky-rocketing like, $70 billion loss in market value, forced to take a $485 million charge on unsold PlayBook tablets. Apart from this Black Berry has left its users fuming over the issue of Blackberry 10 not wont be supporting playbooks. When


Blackberry lost its juice, it started believing in Marketing gimmicks and decided spending more in Ads, Watch this Super Bowl video here (estimated $4 Million).


Once the giant of the smart phone business, RIM, which was renamed Blackberry Ltd, is now on its knees. The company reported a $965-million fiscal second-quarter loss, primarily because of a massive write down of Z10 phones that sit, unsold and unwanted, about eight months after they first hit the market. The company is cutting 4,500 jobs, 40 % of its work force, in a desperate bid to bring costs in line with plummeting revenue. Though from the companies prescriptive they seam to work on controlling further damage like releasing the phones like Z10 and making BBM available across all appstores and brining in seasoned saviour.


From our perspective we see the following, for the Tech titans roller coaster ride.


No new products There is no big news about products in pipeline, last or the latest buzz was there for Z10 which failed to impress all segments, even the corporates. In the era of wearables users expect to see smart gadgets, ever since balckberry came into existence BB was shipping smart phones and tablets unlike its counter parts who have started working on the next gen technologies.


Upcoming leaked products are boring Look at what’s coming up next, well there is no news yet, supposedly stuff like the BlackBerry Bold 9900 Sure, it'll run Blackberry 10 and might have a touch screen, But it's also the same handset RIM has been pumping out for the last five years. Since smart phone market is short lived and users expect to see upgrades in technology and handsets. Sadly BB has not released or showing intention of realising any thing in near future.


The Play book Rim’s foray into the tablet market was not well received unlike its counterparts like the ipad. After Thorsten Heins said “PlayBook tablet won't receive upgrades to BlackBerry 10, despite earlier plans to do so” this is major let down for its loyal flock and playbooks fell flat in sales and received harsh reviews among the users.


BlackBerry Appstore This is considered one of the prominent reasons for the current situation 120,000 Apps in BlackBerry World (Spoiler: 47,000 Made by One Developer). When compared to any existing app store BB has lesser apps interms of usability also ecosystem of Blackberry world is not upto the mark compared to other app stores.


Struggling leadership Surely this is making headlines with recent step down of Mr. Thorstein Heins who was a little known insider and Mr.Chen has been appointed as an interim CEO. Message from a unified voice was missing up until enough damage is already done.


Lack of users A recent survey suggests more than half of the current user base in planning to shift either iphone or Droid this chat below explains the interest towards other brands over blackberry.


Failing interests from Enterprises RIM has a stronghold in the corporate world, but its grip is loosening. In the past, everyone from the CEO to the office manager had a BlackBerry on their hip. Slowly but surely, those BlackBerry handsets are being replaced with iphones and Androids. Even the iPad is gaining ground. Apple's Tim Cook said recently that "more than 80 percent" of Fortune 100 companies are testing out the iPad for their enterprise.


An experienced captain at the helm: 


Within less than three weeks after ousting its former CEO, BlackBerry continues to loose couple of top management folks, COO Kristian Tear, CMO Frank Boulben and CFO Brian Bidulka has already chosen their exit paths from the struggling smart phone manufacturer. Though the board seams to find a ray of hope and hence decided to appoint Mr. John Chen who is widely regarded for taking struggling enterprise technology company Sybase Inc. He is widely acknowledged for turning around Sybase fortune by selling it to SAP AG for a whooping US$ 6 Billion in 2010.


"I'm doing this for the long term. I'm going to rebuild this company," "I know we have enough ingredients to build a long-term sustainable business. I've done this before and seen the same movie before." - John Chen.


Will RIM end up like Palm or will it overcome the downturn like Apple 97 crisis.


Good luck Blackberry. The world is watching.

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