The other day someone commented on an old piece of technology that I lovingly still hang onto. No, it wasn’t the old DEC PDP that lives in my kitchen, it was the BlackBerry that I can’t seem to let go.
You see, I always rooted for BlackBerry, and a small part of me still does – especially since ex-Sybase chief John Chen stepped in to take the reins (I worked for Sybase, back in the day) – but I must admit it’s getting harder to love every day. BlackBerry has fallen such a long way from the early smartphone, messaging and corporate-loved mobile email darling that it became in the late 1990s and the 2000s. Ultimately it was the enterprise stance that made the BlackBerry’s reputation which proved its undoing – and it’s been slowly unraveling since Apple’s iPhone debuted in June 2007.
The BlackBerry 10 launched in January 2013, but did little to salvage the company’s position. It has looked for a buyer, and even started to court a few suitors, before a surprise 360-degree turn following a $1billion investment from Fairfax Financial Holdings. Today BlackBerry may be considered to be drawing its last breath, but Chen is at least attempting to make sweeping changes in an effort to resuscitate it. In September he announced a workforce reduction of 4,500 coupled with a change of company direction, and this week two more executives departed. This means that to date the company has lost CEO Thorsten Heins – who Chen replaced – as well as its CFO, COO, CMO EVP of global sales, and VP of strategic alliances.
The truth is that technology is an unforgiving business, and the mobile market is the cruelest sector of all. I just hope BlackBerry gets to surprise us and its unrelenting market just once more time – and doesn’t just become a 2014 benefactor to the expanding tech-museum that is my kitchen…
Do you still have a BlackBerry? Tweet me from it at @HazelButters.