BlackBerry Was Ultimately No Match For The iPhone
Blackberry phones did a good job of hanging on during the iPhone era. Especially as they were so entrenched within the business community, those old boys found it hard to let go.
However, is wasn’t long before iOS on the iPhone improved to the point where you could edit documents and spreadsheets and the iPad became the latest business toy. The Blackberry was doomed.
So here we take an in-depth look at the rise and fall of once iconic smartphone manufacturer and ask some fundamental questions:
- What happened to BlackBerry?
- Why didn’t they get up to speed with the times and join the current smartphone game?
- What does the BlackBerry market share look like today?
- What is the company doing to keep it’s head above water in the modern economic climate?
A Brief History
Before the dawn of 2007, BlackBerry was a pioneer of its time, making waves across the world, that was until Apple released their iPhone, a smartphone that would forever change the way people looked at their on-the-go digital needs.
Apple took over the market with their iPhone and reinvented what people thought they wanted and needed to see in a smartphone, and before long, the iPhone became the de-facto standard among other manufacturers trying to follow its lead, leaving BlackBerry to crash and burn.
Sure some manufacturers, such as Samsung with their Android devices, adjusted their products according to Apple standards, while others, such as the infamous BlackBerry, were totally blindsided by their newest competitor.
In the early and mid-2000’s, BlackBerry was the gold standard among smartphones, but their fall from grace happened all too quickly with the dawn of 2007 and Apple’s new iPhone.
In Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff’s book titled Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of BlackBerry, readers find a gripping description of how BlackBerry came to be an icon and, ultimately, demised under the establishment of Apple’s great smartphone.
Events highlighting the circling-of-the-drain for BlackBerry (previously called RIM) were posted in the excerpts from the book by the Wall Street Journal in 2015. The post goes into detail about how BlackBerry just couldn’t offer consumers a full web browser, a feature that was one of the iPhone’s key selling points.
Interestingly enough, BlackBerry executives didn’t seem to be bothered by their competitor initially, or perhaps they were just too ignorant to admit any real threat. They had believed that iPhone’s target market would fall on consumers that were more interested in Internet features than efficiency or security on their mobile devices.
BlackBerry Tries to Fight a Losing Battle
Trying to combat the effects of the iPhone’s global success, BlackBerry released their Storm, a smartphone with a multi-touch screen which provided haptic feedback while typing. Unfortunately, the rollout didn’t go quite as planned.
Even though the Storm was aggressively promoted by Verizon, the phone’s software wasn’t nearly ready when it was rushed into the market, and the BlackBerry engineers were all aware of the possibly disastrous outcome.
The results of their hasty production included a browser that seemed to never get up to any real speed, a clickable screen that didn’t respond to input at the corners, and a device that would freeze and reset itself whenever it felt like it.
What happened next was to be expected. RIM played for time while Verizon pushed sales as far as possible. The BlackBerry engineers worked around-the-clock in a bid to try and release as many software updates as possible to counter the Storm’s various bugs.
According to BlackBerry co-CEO Mike Lazaridis, the Storm was BlackBerry’s best-selling product ever, and with over 1 million models sold during its first month on the market, they couldn’t meet public demand.
The Storm’s popularity was partly due to the fact that it was so aggressively marketed, often sold as a “two-for-the-price-of-one” deal. So sure, the Storm was initially flying off the shelves, but they were being returned just as fast as they were being sold due to their software and hardware glitches.
Conservative and Complacent Business Approach Spells BlackBerry’s Downfall
BlackBerry today is a prime example of an incumbent business which was disrupted by better and bigger newcomers in their game. Unfortunately, success, such as the type that BlackBerry had ten years ago, comes with two great negatives: complacency and conservatism.
When the iPhone hit the market, the industry was on the precipice of evolving to bigger and better touchscreen displays, and everyone except BlackBerry was onboard the ship. Now, ten years later, Apple’s iPhone upended the smartphone game. Their pioneer smartphone has managed to wipe out its only major predecessor: the BlackBerry.
According to the research firm Gartner, the most recent quarterly data shows that BlackBerry now has a 0% market share among smartphone operating systems, this after exporting a mere 207,000 smartphones in 2016. This follows a decline that spans over more than seven years from BlackBerry’s peak market share of roughly 20% back in 2009.
BlackBerry Backs Itself Out of the Game for Good
Once being the Canadian poster child of innovation, BlackBerry has decided to shift its focus to software instead of smartphones, selling their global rights to all future BlackBerry smartphones to a Chinese manufacturer by the name of TCL Communications. “We have decided to discontinue all the handset hardware development,” said BlackBerry’s chief executive, John S. Chen.
Even though BlackBerry continued to grow for about two years after the release of the iPhone in June of 2007, with a market share of 9.7% in 2007 and 19.9% in 2009, the decline was inevitable. Today, Android and iOS have a combined market share of 99.6%, almost eliminating any other competitors on the market.
What’s Next for BlackBerry?
Although BlackBerry had a phenomenal fall from grace, they’re planning a comeback, but this time, it won’t be with smartphones. The company has been quietly testing out its self-driving car software. The company owns the QNX Operating System, the same operating system that Ford’s Sync3 infotainment system relies on and runs on. The QNX Operating System is also used in General Motor’s OnStar System as well as the Audi TT’s virtual cockpit. To crown it all, BlackBerry’s QNX Operating System also supports Apple’s CarPlay.
Why Does the Apple iPhone Dominate?
With the advent of smartphones and their touch-screen capabilities cam a whole raft of functional technology. This new tech needed to replace simple functions that were accomplished by using a keyboard.
As it was the keyboard that kept Blackberry at the top of the business phone tree, once the keyboard functions were replaced by Smartphones, the Blackberry was doomed. This happened around the release of the iPhone 4s and it’s iOS which allowed ‘Copy and Paste’. Once that had been added to the iPhone there was no stopping it.
You could now write and edit a document or an email easily, in fact more easily than by using a keyboard and a small-screen phone. The business community also loved the Plus sized iPhones and iPads’ that came later. These large sized screens made it very easy to work on Spreadsheets, the business community’s go-to App.
Now the iPhone is the darling of the business community and there are plenty of iPhone’s out there. In fact, it’s not so easy to know that you are getting the best deal when you buy one on a contract. Because there is so much choice and all the Networks offer them, there is thousands of deals to choose from.
Fortunately, there are great search tools around like this one of you want to Compare iPhone deals.
It did seems apparent that BlackBerry’s hardware days have drawn to a close. The iPhone changed just about everything and BlackBerry was simply too slow to change with the times.
In fact, you’d be forgiven for thinking they didn’t even exist in the device business anymore at all. However, this is not quite true. In 2017, Blackberry released new handset call the KEYone although I haven’t seen anybody using one in the wild.
Blackberry Mobile, as they are now called has also released the Motion and KEYone silver handsets which are built with Android
Here is the promo video for the Blackberry KEYone:
The once beloved dominant force of businessmen and fast-typists across the world has now become one that has to make it way up the ranks again, this time from a non-dominant position and that’s a whole new game.