Blackberry (formerly Rhythm In Motion), the Canadian company that was the dominant name in cell phones/smartphones for most of the 2000s, has announced it’s putting itself up for sale. The Guardian notes the company’s share has fallen from 50% in 2009 to currently under 3%. Meanwhile, the much-hyped Blackberry Z10 smartphone that was supposed to save the company has pretty much fizzled out. Maybe they should’ve taken Mashable’s advice and revised their weird Super Bowl ad campaign.
Either way, it’s a sad time for a once-dominant company whose phones were at one time called the “Crackberry” by its fanbase. I suppose Blackberry was, like everyone else, blindsided by the iPhone’s debut in 2007. To throw out a few other possible reasons for Blackberry’s downfall:
- The same problem WebOS and Windows Phone have had: the smartphone market’s become dominated by iOS and Android, with everything else shoved to the margins. Windows Phone, however, has managed to still linger better than Blackberry; being backed by a huge company like Microsoft might help, plus various models available for cheap with smartphone plans. Microsoft also didn’t wait quite as long to revamp their phones.
- Attracting app developers. Some popular apps (like Instagram) weren’t available at launch for the Z10. Other apps were ports of Android versions (one of the revised Blackberry OS’ features), which might imply one should just stick with an actual Android phone.
- Their core audience of business customers moving away from Blackberry to Android and iOS phones. The huge variety of Android phones (from cheap to expensive models) might’ve made such a move appealing once contracts were up for renewal.
- Touchscreen keyboards and large-sized screens started to become preferred over the squat screen size and keyboard design of Blackberry’s signature phones.
I’m not sure what whoever buys Blackberry can do to right the company, unless they plan on just latching onto their patents and liquidating the rest of the business.