Monday, November 7, 2011

What!? You still own a Blackberry!?

I guess Blackberries were cool….when they came out in 2003.  Back then they were among the first to be equip with a QWERTY keyboard and two-way email.  The devices were perfect for businessmen, and grabbed the attention of early adopters.  Stock prices climbed rapidly – until Apple released the App market for iPhone in late 2008.  Blackberry’s technological capabilities paled in comparison to those of the sleek touch screen iPhone.  However, people have difficulty adjusting to change, especially the change from keyboards to touchscreen, so blackberry managed to maintain a solid, yet slowly diminishing market.  However over time, the technological divide between the two devices widened.  When Android gained widespread popularity at the beginning of 2011, Blackberry was left in the dust behind yet another mobile superior.  Now, to put it bluntly, Blackberry’s are sad prehistoric devices.  After transitioning from a Blackberry to an Android device, I now tell people that still use Blackberries that they are “living in the dark ages”.  

While most technology companies use pull marketing, which draws consumers to product by allowing them to realize that they have a need for it, Blackberry continued to use push marketing.  Push marketing works by pushing technology in front of consumers and convincing them to buy it.  However, this type of marketing style is doomed when, in Blackberry’s case, both the products and marketing strategies are mediocre.  Who cares when Blackberry comes out with a new device?  I certainly don’t.  Blackberries have lost their cultural relevance.  Meanwhile, Steve Jobs paved the way for aesthetic and technological innovation through phenomenal push marketing strategies.  Jobs continued to release products that no one knew they wanted, until he lured customers to them with their sleek innovative looks and user-friendly interfaces.   Android also continued to explode in the market.  The business world has changed, and even businessmen have come to demand more than what Blackberry has been offering.
After experiencing declining sales, Blackberry’s service outage put the nail in Blackberry’s coffin.  Earlier this month Blackberry experienced widespread service outages all over the world.

  Users had no access to email, web browsing, or messaging.  Blackberry was slow to correct the problem and failed to provide its customers with adequate information or customer service.  In fact, Blackberry didn’t even acknowledge the outage until two days after it began.  For a company that experienced a 59% decrease in its second quarter profits, communication was key to salvaging its rapidly declining market share.  The outage also took place the week before the iPhone 4S hit the shelves, an extremely inopportune time to disappoint customers.  
User outrage exploded on twitter.  Websites even began to compile some of the best “blackberry outage tweets”.

Blackberry failed to adequately handle the situation, and continues to show no sign of improvement.  Who can remember the last time they saw a decent Blackberry advertisement?  RIM stock prices have already decreased by 15% since the release of the iPhone 4S.  Overall, RIM stock prices have dropped by a whopping 60% since January.  Every day hundreds of people replace their Blackberries with iPhones and Android devices.  

By failing to produce competitive technology and improve inadequate marketing tactics, Blackberry has doomed itself to failure.  Remember what happened to the first nokia cell phones?   At least nokia phones had snake…

What do you think will happen to Blackberry?

links referenced:,r:0,s:0&tx=87&ty=101

Haley Greenberg
Undergraduate Northwestern IMC
Twitter: @haleygIMC

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