Here we have a very insightful piece by the Globe and Mail detailing Blackberry’s fall from grace.
And as you would expect, the blame was placed on the iPhone.
The Globe and Mail:
Mike Lazaridis was at home on his treadmill and watching television when he first saw the Apple iPhone in early 2007. There were a few things he didn’t understand about the product. So, that summer, he pried one open to look inside and was shocked. It was like Apple had stuffed a Mac computer into a cellphone, he thought.
To Mr. Lazaridis, a life-long tinkerer who had built an oscilloscope and computer while in high school, the iPhone was a device that broke all the rules. The operating system alone took up 700 megabytes of memory, and the device used two processors. The entire BlackBerry ran on one processor and used 32 MB. Unlike the BlackBerry, the iPhone had a fully Internet-capable browser. That meant it would strain the networks of wireless companies like AT&T Inc., something those carriers hadn’t previously allowed. RIM by contrast used a rudimentary browser that limited data usage.
“I said, ‘How did they get AT&T to allow [that]?’ Mr. Lazaridis recalled in the interview at his Waterloo office. “ ‘It’s going to collapse the network.’ And in fact, some time later it did.”
Publicly, Mr. Lazaridis and Mr. Balsillie belittled the iPhone and its shortcomings, including its short battery life, weaker security and initial lack of e-mail. That earned them a reputation for being cocky and, eventually, out of touch. “That’s marketing,” Mr. Lazaridis explained. “You position your strengths against their weaknesses.”
It’s interesting that Lazaridis saw the iPhone as a Mac computer, because that is exactly what it was.
Even Clayton Christensen got this right, finally.
“One CEO who never asked for his help, despite his admiration for The Innovator’s Dilemma, was Steve Jobs, which was fortunate, because Christensen’s most embarrassing prediction was that the iPhone would not succeed, Larissa MacFarquhar writes for the New Yorker. “Being a low-end guy, Christensen saw it as a fancy cell phone; it was only later that he realized that it was also disruptive to laptops.”