What Blackberry has taught us

Sometimes, companies fail. And it’s not always because of market forces or bad luck but sometimes it’s simply because it’s product sucks. And that’s exactly what blackberries do–they suck. But their product wasn’t what killed them–Blackberries were at one point the number one phone in the world–their failure to adapt with the times was. I should say that Blackberry hasn’t failed yet, but to put it in perspective, it lost $84 million last quarter and announced 5,000 job cuts last year. T-Mobile has even said it will stop stocking their phones due to low consumer demand. And you know you’re screwed when T-Mobile, still promoting Sidekicks, yes, Sidekicks, refuses to keep you in stock.

Blackberry, back in the day, gained extraordinary popularity for one simple reason: it made email easily accessible on a mobile device. Yet, when iPhones and Droids did the same thing, Blackberry’s original model could no longer compete–having BBM could only keep teenage girls as customers for so long.

There was a simple solution though: Rim, Blackberry’s developers, could have embraced the overwhelming consumer appeal to open up their platform to app developers. But that would have been too easy, or something.  Because instead, Blackberry decided to stay with reliability and qwerty keyboards, making their phones just as hopeless as they were app-less.

So what have we learned from the sad trajectory of Blackberry? A few things. But most importantly, always move with the times, no matter how successful your product may be, it will become obsolete if you don’t give people what they want when they can get it elsewhere. One of the reasons Apple has been so successful is because their products  are constantly improving–you don’t even have to purchase a new phone to have a new phone(i.e.  free software updates). Ultimately, don’t be afraid of change, embrace it. But like I said earlier, Blackberry isn’t extinct yet, its still worth billions, but the jig is up.


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