Friday, 23 August 2013

NEWS: REVEALED: Five Key Mistakes That Led to BlackBerry's Collapse

So, it is no longer secret that Blackberry is experiencing
problems surviving in the smart phone market.
BlackBerry, last week, announced that it is exploring
strategic options, including an outright sale of the
company to investors or other third parties. BlackBerry is
close to the end of the road and desperately seeking an
escape route.
Here's how BlackBerry, former favourite of the business
class, found itself trapped with nowhere to go.
1. It wrote off the iPhone.
Former BlackBerry co-CEO Mike Lazaridis scoffed at the
original iPhone. He thought it was a toy. He derided its
poor battery life and balked at the idea that anyone
would want to type on glass when BlackBerrys offered
full QWERTY keyboards.
The original iPhone may not be impressive by today's
standards, but there's no denying that it forever altered
the smartphone paradigm. It offered a big screen, a
capable browser, and the best music/video experiences
available from a mobile device, something that
BlackBerrys (and most other smartphones at the time)
did not.
As the saying goes, BlackBerry didn't adapt -- at least,
not fast enough -- to the changes in the market. Classic
Darwinism in action. (Nokia is guilty of this too.)
2. It wasted resources on the PlayBook.
The BlackBerry PlayBook tablet is one of the biggest
tech industry failures in recent memory. The company
introduced the tablet during the fall of 2010 (following the
debut of the original Apple iPad tablet earlier that year),
and brought the PlayBook to market in April 2011.
BlackBerry's leadership probably thought it was
responding to the Apple iPad is a timely manner, getting
a competitive product to market as quickly as it could. It
did this at the expense of its smartphones. BlackBerry
pulled resources away from its smartphone development
teams in the months leading up to the PlayBook's debut.
Instead, it should have skipped the tablet altogether and
focused on its core smartphone business, which was
already in trouble. (Handset sales are historically
responsible for 80% of BlackBerry's revenue.)
The one thing BlackBerry did right with the PlayBook was
to base the operating system on QNX, which it had
purchased earlier. QNX and PlayBook OS eventually led
to the foundation of today's BlackBerry 10 operating
system. If BlackBerry had only skipped the PlayBook and
begun work on BlackBerry 10 right away, it might have
had a better chance.
3. BlackBerry didn't fire Lazaridis and Balsillie soon
BlackBerry's former CEOs, Mike Lazaridis and Jim
Balsillie, are far more responsible for the company's
position today than is current CEO Thorsten Heins.
Lazaridis and Balsillie were bullheaded and unwilling to
change with the market. They ignored competitive
threats from Apple and Google, they frittered away time
and money pursuing the PlayBook, and by the time they
realized their mistakes it was too late.
BlackBerry's board of directors should have recognized
this sooner and done something about it. It was obvious
to everyone else that Lazaridis and Balsillie didn't know
how to handle the changing market.
Why did the board not see it? Had BlackBerry's board
noticed the writing on the wall 12 months earlier, the
company might be in a much better place right now. Was
the board scared of what would happen if it fired the two
founders of the company?
Lazaridis and Balsille stepped down from their co-CEO
roles in December 2011, ceding control to Heins, who
officially became CEO in January 2012. Heins hit the
ground running, but BlackBerry was already too far
behind to catch up.
4. It didn't take BYOD seriously.
One of BlackBerry's core strengths is the BlackBerry
Enterprise Server. The BES is the tool used by
businesses to manage their fleets of BlackBerrys. It
remains a capable and incredible service for mobile
device management.
Once the iPhone and Android were proven enterprise
devices able to run business apps, some businesses
began to let employees pick their own smartphones.
Guess what they picked? iPhones and Android
smartphones, not BlackBerrys.
The problem is that BES was unable to manage the
iPhone and Android devices in the way it can manage
BlackBerrys. Enterprises began to allow mass adoptions
of these competing products and had to choose other
solutions to manage them. BlackBerry didn't add the
ability to control the iPhone and Android smartphones to
BES until BES 10 was released this year.
5. It delayed BlackBerry 10 until 2013.
BlackBerry debuted BlackBerry 10, its next-generation
operating system, in January 2013. The first BB10
devices hit the market shortly thereafter. Of course, by
this time, Apple's iOS was onto its sixth major
generation, Google's Android was onto its fourth major
generation, and even Microsoft's Windows Phone
platform was on its third major generation. BlackBerry 10
would have been late to the game if it showed up in
January 2012, let alone January 2013.
Of course, building an operating system from scratch is
no easy task. Had Lazaridis and Balsillie reacted to the
iPhone immediately in 2007 (or even to Android in late
2008), it's possible they could have gotten something
improved to the market by early 2010. That alone could
have helped significantly.
But they didn't. The company released two more iterative
updates to its aging platform (BlackBerry OS6 and OS7).
These were both significant improvements over
BlackBerry OS5, but not nearly enough to compete with
Android and iOS.
Along with the iterative OS updates, the company stuck
with iterative hardware updates, too. The Bold, Curve,
and Pearl lines remained essentially unchanged for
years, despite the interesting and new form factors being
introduced by makers of Android devices.
At the end of the day, BlackBerry's current predicament
traces back to poor leadership. It's truly a shame,
because the company had plenty going for it.
Now the company's fate is surrounded by questions. Will
anyone buy it? If they do, what will become of the
smartphone maker? Will it be sold in pieces, which
seems likely, or as a single company? Will it be shut
down or kept alive? There will be no fairy-tale ending for
the former smartphone king.
Sourced from informationweek

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