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The Failure of Blackberry

The rise and fall of BlackBerry. 📈📉 We can’t always look at start-up success stories for guidance.

Sometimes, the greatest lessons come from failing (and hopefully failing forward).

2022 marks the year that BlackBerry will no longer be. Every 2011 Blackberry fan firing away on their QWERTY mobile keyboard would never have thought it would happen. BlackBerry was the leader in communication and email with its keyboard-enabled phones. It far outranked its competitors iPhone and Google Android – owning 20% of the global market share in 2010.

But now, not only are BlackBerry phones gone, the company itself is gone for good after failing at its software-focused pivot.

So, what contributed to this crash?

  • Failing to adapt - BlackBerry’s USP was its keyboard but, unfortunately, the company completely missed a successful implementation of the touch screen revolution (spearheaded by Apple).
  • Lack of focus in capturing general consumer market share - BlackBerry’s core business came from corporate and government customers, who relied on its security and email. The company predominantly catered for this category and missed billions of regular future consumers.
  • Missed opportunity: BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) was a very popular messaging service, which had plenty of customers. However, BlackBerry’s service was locked to its device. WhatsApp - acquired by Facebook for $19B in 2014 could be used on any device and this paved the way for others with cross-platform messaging.

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