Blackberry Had to Fail

Do you Know, Blackberry’s Failure was Inevitable? Why Did Blackberry (the Phone) Doom? Read on Views from the Expert. 

Amongst the biggest technology stories of giants morphing into dwarfs, would that be of Blackberry, once the world’s most widely used smartphone. Indeed, its fall has been dramatic. What is responsible for the fall of a company, whose phones were the most widely used?

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Blackberry phones were amongst a set of wireless hand operated devices introduced by Blackberry Limited. While the first BB device was a pager which was introduced in 1999, the first BB phones were introduced in 2003 and what characterized and were unique to these phones was the presence of a QWERTY keyboard. Thus the phones could be used not only for telephoning but also for data creation and distribution such as the creation of documents. But why it won the hearts of businesses and employees was due to its Blackberry Messenger, which ensured that communication between Blackberry phones was free of charge.

BB phones were also known for its push mail service, browsing and instant messaging. They were the ideal business phones because of their design, style and ease of usage and thus they dramatically changed the way people thought of phones. This was before the introduction of keyless touch devices like the smart phones. During its heyday, Blackberry phones ruled the roost.

The evolution of Blackberry phones was quite interesting. The earliest device was a two way pager like thing. At that pagers were in use. BB followed that up with the introduction of what you can call as the first smartphone but without touchscreen. Calling functionality, email, IM, browsing facility was there. Because it was the first phone to have email on the move, it became THE phone of the business community. The phones which were subsequently rolled out had additional features such as color screens, qwerty keyboard which became its trademark.

With the introduction of Blackberry phones in 2003, the usage and sales had steadily increased and it had become the craze amongst business. In 2010, its sales had reached almost 800 K and 18.3 million users following which it started declining. During the time when it was ranking as the 6th maximally sold mobile device and the top ranked business phone, it was also known as Crackberry owing to the intense obsession and addictivity inspired by its usage and it had its maximum penetration in the Caribbean and Latin America.

BlackberryBut subsequent to the high of 2011 it started declining with sharp declines between the years 2012-2014. This decline was also paralleled by decrease in the traffic to its website. The site’s popularity also declined. The percentage of people using it browse also declined.

Reason for the Decline of the Market Share of Blackberry

Why did this sharp decline occur? From a high 55.3 % of the global mobile phone market in 2009 to a mere 2.7 % in the April-June quarter of 2013, what has led to this spiraling decline? This is in spite of efforts to re-establish Blackberry by introducing a new series of phones, keeping in with the latest trends, the Z10. It was hoped that this new, ultra modern series would give tough competition to the current big players, Apple and Samsung.

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But in spite of its manifold qualities, Z10 failed very badly, forcing the company to absorb almost 1 million dollars in costs, related to unsold phones and also laying off nearly 4000 plus employees as a result. Ts stock prices fell sharply. This has dealt a death knell to the company.

Its era of being a player in the Smartphone market has ended. It has signed the dotted line on a deal to be taken over by a Canadian Holding company, in a 4.7 million dollar deal as a private company.

What was the reason for this disastrous fall of Blackberry?

Many analysts say one reason was its in ability to adjust, adapt and keep improving on technology on a very rapid basis, which is the current scenario in the mobile phone industry. By failing to ensure quick fire innovations, on the lines of Samsung and Apple, it quickly started falling back to the bottom. Blackberry was entirely focusing on efficiency, security and keyboards without understanding that the demands from customers was changing. By the time it realised the need for innovations and introduced the Z10 and Z30, it was too late. Had it been able to monitor the changing trends and improvised its phone models along with the software, it may have been able to survive. It was also entirely focused on the corporate market and never realised, unlike Apple and Android, how critical would be the average consumer to the survival of the mobile telecommunications industry. It was never in touch with the times and hence never foresaw, the development of apps and touchscreen, which is what majority of Apple and Samsung phones are using it for.

Not only was that, the innovations introduced were not welcomed so warmly. It was not able to pull in new customers on basis of its unique features and was already losing existing customers as some of the traditional Blackberry customers could not adapt to the new look and style (without press buttons). The Z10 failed and destroyed Blackberry’s hope of survival. Blackberry was at the bottom of the barrel. What a come down for a company which ruled the markets!

blackberry1Not only that, change in company policies regarding mobile phones, was the biggest killer. Earlier company policies ensured employees purchased Blackberry’s for office communication but with the change towards, BYOD (Bringing Your Own Device) as a result of cost cutting measures, this dealt a blow to Blackberry’s hitherto undisturbed exclusive zone of customers viz companies and its role as the corporate mobile phone was torn down and was now open to competition and poaching by the biggies Apple and Android.

The Blackberry Doomsday is a lesson for all technology companies viz. If you don’t innovate, you die. In the meantime, the troubled but defiant phonemaker is fighting a legal battle against Ryan Seacrest ‘s company for patent infringement of its keyboard design, which it claims will damage its product sales and it is very l ikely that the charges against the Typo products would be proved.

Image source:

By Evan-Amos (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Corbis Images

References:

http://slashdot.org/topic/bi/why-blackberry-10-was-doomed-from-day-one http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-57603960-94/sorry-but-blackberry-is-doomed http://business.time.com/2013/09/24/the-fatal-mistake-that-doomed-blackberry http://www.bbscnw.com/a-short-history-of-the-blackberry.php http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/tech-news/BlackBerry-wins-ban-against-Typo-Productss-iPhone-keyboard/articleshow/33059582.cms http://www.engadget.com/2013/11/05/broken-blackberry http://royal.pingdom.com/2012/09/25/blackberry-spectacular-decline http://crackberry.com/best-blackberry-you-can-buy http://cellphones.about.com/od/cellphonereviews/tp/best-blackberry-phones.htm

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