From being a must-have for most South Africans, to almost disappearing from the market, where exactly has it all gone wrong for BlackBerry , which was once one of the world’s leading smartphone manufacturers?
A Rise to Undisputed Dominance
Founded 21 years ago, a BlackBerry was once the ultimate smartphone in the global market. Their phones had features that left competitors in the dust at the time. They broke new ground with the release of the BlackBerry 850, the first phone that could access email on the go. BlackBerry then introduced a reduced-key keyboard using ‘SureType’ technology, which worked really well with BlackBerry Messenger, commonly known as BBM, their instant messaging service. This also helped them gain popularity amongst a younger generation of customers.
The Crumbling of a Goliath
At the pinnacle of their popularity, a new smartphone burst onto the scene, which soon proved to be BlackBerry’s downfall. In 2007, the first iPhone was revealed by Steve Jobs, revolutionizing the smartphone industry. With a virtual keyboard, glass screen and a built-in iPod, it left competitors scratching their heads. Apple continued to grow in the smartphone industry, focusing on the billions of customers they could now reach, whereas BlackBerry continued to focus on their much smaller customer base instead of seeing the bigger picture. This was never a sustainable strategy because in such a saturated market, you either adapt or die. Subsequently, BlackBerry lost ground to their competitors, leaving them with only 23 million global users by 2018, which is a drop in the smartphone industry ocean.
BlackBerry’s Bleak Future
BlackBerry has indeed been dying a very slow death, so much so that TCL Communication , the owner of BlackBerry, has decided to halt production of all Blackberry branded smartphones as of 31 August 2020.
First Nokia, now BlackBerry. Will we have another giant fall from grace in the near future?