By Deniz Yalcin
Technology & Innovation Writer
It was in the early 2000’s that Blackberry was the phone to have. It was not a want; it was a need. The phone, at the time, was far more advanced than anything was on the market. The “smartphone” offered superior hardware, unbeatable software, and unbreakable security.
Blackberry messaging also known as BBM, became the craze. It was common to hear someone ask, “Hey, what’s your PIN?” Or they would say, “BBM me!” People loved the phone for the extremely accurate and tactile keyboard and many struggled to think of other alternatives to “smartphones” at the time.
Fast forward to 2007, Steve Jobs had debuted the iPhone that revolutionized the platform of communication with people and the internet in the palm of your hand. Apple had mastered the combination of hardware and software and even offered the security that had been the competitive advantage of Blackberry. At the time, consumers were not used to multi touch displays and were fixed on the physical keyboard. Blackberry managed to grow their market share up to about 20 percent. However, the market share had diminished at an exponential rate from 20 percent in Q1 of 2009 and just two years later the company only had 9 percent market share. Today, Blackberry only holds 0.2 percent of the smartphone markets. Furthermore, Blackberry made $20 billion in revenue while today they only make $2 billion. The great difference of revenue speaks for itself on how poorly Blackberry is doing.
Attempting to stay relevant in a market where Apple (iOS), Samsung (Android), and Google (Android) are primary competitors, Blackberry has tried quite a few comebacks. In November 2015, Blackberry released their all-new, slide up physical keyboard, Android smartphone. This was the first time Blackberry did not use their own software for their product. However, in the first quarter, only 600,000 Priv’s were sold. To put this in perspective, the Apple iPhone 6s and 6s Plus sold over 13 million units in the first weekend of sales.
Most recently, Blackberry announced that they will no longer be making phones and instead they will be focusing on cloud computing, security, and enterprise software. However, this does not mean Blackberry will not license their brand for other manufacturers to make phones.
This is their last chance to make an impression on the market, and it is being perceived better than their original attempt in the market with the Priv. Though this is a positive attempt at capturing back the market and the massive customer loyalty they had in the pre-iPhone days, there is a lot Blackberry has left to prove. Only time will tell how tempted consumers are to switch from their comfortable iPhone or Android phone.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, January 24th print edition.
Contact Deniz Yalcin at