Adapt or disappear: the future of BlackBerry

You all know that I am not an Apple device user and to the contrary, I am one of the last BlackBerry users. (If you did not know, you need to call me and we need to catch up!) I even have the latest Google Android based Blackberry device, the PRIV. Great machine. I had a bunch of BlackBerries before (the great Z10 recently). And a Palm Treo over 10 years ago. I avoided the iPhone (over-priced, under-delivering) craze. Even with the newest one coming out.

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Blackberry has been changing its strategy since Mr. Chen, its CEO, joined. The results are slow to come. The latest results for 2015 continue to show losses. Their marketing is weak. They have not found a way to show how their devices are superior (secure, access to all apps, outstanding email/contact/calendar software, durable, i.e. screen does not shatter…) . And even more importantly, they are losing connection with their loyal base. As part of the ‘last of the BlackBerry Mohicans’, I would have thought they would include their current users to promote their products and spread the word. The ‘Crackberry‘ website, usually full of supporters, is showing comments from desperate customers looking for updates on their devices and tired of the delays. BlackBerry has not learned the tricks from Apple, the power of strong branding and forgot the fate of Palm
Growth of a company requires analysis, planning and so many other business, operation and technical components, while always keeping in mind what the market wants and the market experienced in the past. Turnaround adds an element of time crisis.
Blackberry has been working on it. The timing seems to be slipping away. BlackBerry is still announcing Android-based devices that are slow to hit the market and that are under-marketed. I see BlackBerry becoming just a software company, offering its security operating system to other platforms and available for enterprise or business users. They would add productivity features for download and becoming OS agnostic. Focusing on technology development and less on devices, they could lower their costs and hopefully tighten their marketing. Unless the market catches them first, time will tell…