Blackberry Limited is a Canadian company that specializes in developing products within the wireless telecommunications industry. Once known as RIM (Research in Motion), the company is also world renowned for their highly secure and reliable software for applications and MDM (Mobile Device Management). Blackberry’s software is so secure and dependable that it is preferred for use by many government professionals and agencies as well as various other businesses throughout the world. Due to this characteristic the company is not in the major spotlight due to the fact that its main users are not in the eye of the general public.
The company headquarters is located in Waterloo, Ontario and was originally founded by Mike Lizardis in 1984. Through financial assistance from the Canadian Institutional and venture capitalist investors, Lizardis was able to develop the Blackberry 850 pager in 1999 in Munich, Germany. The following year in April 2000, he then went on to create the Blackberry 957 which was the company’s first smartphone. It was originally called the “Blackberry” due to the resemblance of the keyboard to druplets of the blackberry fruit. With improvements in software and functionality Blackberry devices gained increased usage by government bodies and business enterprises in the early 2000’s.
In the early 2000’s RIM started developing new Blackberry Devices aimed at the consumer market as well instead of only focusing primarily on the two previous target markets (governments and businesses). The company released the Blackberry Pearl 8100 that was their first smartphone to possess a camera and it was very successful. Other series were also released similarly such as The Blackberry Curve and The Blackberry Bold. All smartphones received positive feedback and demand was high. In order to cope with the level of demand for their products the company developed extensive carrier partnerships to globally distribute their devices. These partnerships played a huge role in the company’s diversification process because it massively expanded the total number of users across the world in all three of their target markets (Government, Business and Consumer Market).
Effects of Competition
When Apple released its first IPhone it sent ripples throughout the smartphone industry. This was not good news for Blackberry as investors and analysts became worried about the effects of Blackberry’s rising competition. Initially in 2007 the IPhone did not sell as much as the Blackberry due to Blackberry’s advantage of having large carrier support. However by 2010 with the release of the IPhone 4, Apple managed to sell more phones quarterly. In 2010 Blackberry also reached its peak in sales and started to decline the following year while IPhone sales went up in the opposite direction. For this the IPhone was dubbed as the “Blackberry Killer”. By January 2013, only 7.63 million (5.9%) of the 129.40 million smartphone users in the United States were on a BlackBerry compared to 48.91 million (37.8%) on an iPhone.
The IPhone however was not entirely responsible for the decline of Blackberry. Google’s highly innovative and interactive Android operating system was utilized by many well-known companies such as: Samsung, LG, Motorola and HTC in 2010 (The same year of the decline). Within the same year of they were introduced, Androids managed to outsell Blackberry. As of January 2013, there was 67.68 million Smartphones in the United States running Android compared to 7.63 million running BlackBerry.
Recovery and Current Situation
Blackberry’s decline occurred mainly due to the fact that the company’s operating system was outdated and not up to par with competitors. Consumers also complained about the company’s lack of available applications and web browsing capabilities when compared to competitors. Not responding to consumer demands and interests proved to be very costly for the company.