A new book released earlier today (Tuesday, May 26, 3015) offers information on BlackBerry’s rise and fall – “Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of Blackberry”.
There is something to be said for arrogance. If you’re good at something, you become arrogant about it, but it’s that exact arrogance that will be your downfall.
It will either make you underestimate your opponents, or trap you in a sense of false confidence and give you the illusion that you can’t possibly get even better, or that if you stop exercising your craft you will still as good as it two (2) months from now as you are today.
BlackBerry Inc felt the deep repercussion of that mistake back in January 2007 when they didn’t give Apple’s first iPhone proper credit for all it could do as a device, and all the ways that it could affect the business. BlackBerry simply didn’t see the iPhone as a threat or a reasonably sized competitor or rival.
Back then, BlackBerry were market leaders, they controlled half the world’s smartphone market, they practically invented the world’s smartphone market.
When Apple CEO Steve Jobs walked on stage at the Macworld Conference back in January 2007 and showed the entire world that he could download music, videos and maps from the Internet onto the iPphone, everyone was impressed.
Mike Lazaridis, the founder and vice chairman of BlackBerry back then, saw the event on TV, wondered how he could do that, but was not worried about it and did not see it as a valid reason to up their own game.
Instead, the BlackBerry reassured themselves that no customer would leave them, the market leaders, for a device with a keyboard that’s hard to use, a battery with terrible life and poor security.
They also believed that the iPphone would collapse AT&T’s network due to all of its downloads.
An insert from the book, posted by the Wall Street Journal, reads as follows:
The next day Mr. Lazaridis grabbed his co-CEO Jim Balsillie at the office and pulled him in front of a computer.
“Jim, I want you to watch this,” he said, pointing to a webcast of the iPhone unveiling. “They put a full Web browser on that thing. The carriers aren’t letting us put a full browser on our products.”
Mr. Balsillie’s first thought was RIM was losing AT&T as a customer.
“Apple’s got a better deal,” Mr. Balsillie said. “We were never allowed that. The U.S. market is going to be tougher.”
“These guys are really, really good,” Mr. Lazaridis replied. “This is different.”
“It’s OK—we’ll be fine,” Mr. Balsillie responded.
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