October 18, 2011

The Death of BlackBerry

Eric Griffin

BlackBerry is on the way out.  A number of signs are pointing to the end.  Is it too late to turn things around? No.  But I don’t think they will – and the debut of the PlayBook is what sealed the deal for me.

BlackBerry has survived mainly from their business sales.  Corporate contracts, government workers (remember that free Obama endorsement?) and small business employees alike were addicted to the instant-email and BBM feature that no one else had.  But market share began to shrink for RIM, as new players like Apple and Android stepped in with better web browsers, huge app marketplaces and good-enough email.

But the PlayBook was a crippling decision for BlackBerry.  First of all, BlackBerry, get some focus.  You’ve built your brand on business.  You make your first tablet.  You name it PlayBook. Then you market it as a gaming, web surfing, multimedia machine – none of which you’re known for (or good at).  Even on your own homepage, not once do you mention email capability, BBM or even the word business.

In fact, you go bragging about things you’re in dead last place for.  “More apps. More choice.” you say.  Really?  Symbian has more.  BlackBerry has 40,000 apps right now, compared to 50,000 for Symbian, 200,000 for Android and 500,000 for iOS.  You have flash, but that’s about it.  And as the iPad has proven, no one cares  about flash.

Am I saying BlackBerry should be a one-trick pony, and forget about new markets?  Maybe.  At the very least, unless you’re going to come out with a new groundbreaking product, stick to what you’re good at.

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