What Happened to Blackberry?

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All that texting is showing how flexible and adaptive the human brain really is.
All that texting is showing how flexible and adaptive the human brain really is.

The Blackberry stayed too long with the technology. Samsung and Apple ate their lunch.
The Blackberry stayed too long with the technology. Samsung and Apple ate their lunch.

Blackberry Stuck to Engineering

THUNDER BAY – Business – What happened to Blackberry? The company went from being the industry leader to struggling to keep up in a marketplace that continues to grow. The Canadian company which is now in the process of a take-over by Fairfax Financial.

Only a few years ago, a share in the company was peaked at $241.90. Today that same share is running at $9.12.

Blackberry and Rim were the latest Canadian company to ride a roller coaster for investors.

The Marketplace Shifted to Fun

Perhaps the real issue, behind the scenes, is that the company lost out because it was an engineering marvel driven by the technology in a marketplace where consumers are now fully engaged in driving the market. As the market shifted, RIM and then Blackberry seemed stuck in the mode that the technology was the most important component.

Blackberry failed to fully commercialize the market. It is a common flaw. many of the high-tech business models today that were started by engineers focused on the technology. Doing so at the expense of the marketplace is a recipe that hurts the long term viability of the company.

Canada has already seen several high-tech giants literally vanish off the face of the marketplace. Nortel is another example. The company was so focused on the technology, and on making the best voice networks, that they missed that the marketplace was shifting extremely fast to a data driven consumer driven place.

For Blackberry, there is a huge contrast to the Apple Iphone. While Blackberry focused on the eight hours an employee might be using their phone at work, they forgot about the 18 hours and weekends where the phone is used for fun. 

Consumer Driven Markets 

The consumer driven marketplace is one that Blackberry appeared to focus on with the release of new smart devices. The concept of the Blackberry Z10 that has a work and a personal profile is really good engineering. It just came late to the table.

The next steps however for Blackberry were to move away from the consumer market.

Blackberry Chief Executive Thorsten Heins said “The strategic shift to focus on so-called enterprise customers would play to the company’s strengths in security and reliability. Security matters and enterprises know the gold standard in enterprise mobility is BlackBerry”.

Engineering Driven Companies vs Market Driven Companies in Technology

There is a sharp contrast in the marketplace between a market driven company and an engineering driven company. Google is a market driven company, that focuses on what consumers want. Facebook is an engineering company that focuses on the technology.

You can see it in the simplicity of Google, and hear it when Facebook announces new looks, new features and new innovations. Consumers often grumble if they don’t want the latest innovation.

The next steps for Blackberry will pan out in the next six weeks.

James Murray

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