The inside story of how the iPhone crippled BlackBerry

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I’ve read the book. The iPhone didn’t cripple the Blackberry, RIM’s own management crippled Blackberry by a long string of bad decisions, including shipping a tablet that couldn’t do email, rejecting 3g because 2.5g was “good enough”, and shipping unreliable hardware and buggy software to its customers because they shipped according to schedule, instead of shipping when it was ready to be released.

RIM survived as long as it did because its competition was as poorly managed as it was. The moment Apple appeared they were doomed, and Android sealed the deal.

Crackberry was too popular perhaps? Tough to stay hungry, creative, and ruthless when your customers are throwing cash at you.

Remember when the iPhone was released? It didn’t even have apps (only web-apps and not native apps). The Apple marketing machine saved that device. Even the iPad was criticized for being just a larger iPhone (people even hated the name).

I remember when the original Macintosh was released in 1984. Same story. It was sucky, but it was sucky in an entirely new way, rife with endless possibilities, and there was much room for improvements that came soon afterward. So it took over the world (with the help of me-too competitors).

RIM, on the other hand, seems to have followed the lead of its myopic CEO into oblivion.


This actually made a lot of sense. With no cellular connectivity, the tablet acted as a larger user interface for the phone in your pocket. The tablet’s email, calendar and browser apps gave you a view of what was happening in your phone. Only the browser could work independently via WiFi. But it let you use webmail and supported Java.)

In the opposite direction, the phone’s touch screen could act as a mouse for the tablet. And of course with the phones having decent keyboards, they could be used for typing on the tablet.

The Blackberry Storm and Storm 2 were simply inferior. But the Torch was excellent, easily equal to the iPhone for browsing and email and as a phone. Especially with its keyboard and cursor control.

What really killed Blackberry - at least here in Manitoba - is that long before the Apple store arrived you could walk into any cell phone store and try an iPhone. There was always a live, working phone on display. With Blackberry it was ALWAYS a dummy phone. You were asked to buy a three-year contract worth $3200 (the only option until recently) without trying it out.

When the Z10 came out the Rogers stores had actual live, working phones! Held down to the table with a plastic strap across the middle of the screen, and an anti-theft device stuck to the screen above the strap. You couldn’t try it out. (I even took a picture with my old phone, it was so weird.) Telus was no better. None of the Rogers stores had accessories available on opening day. (Two stores they had them in storage, just not on display. On the day they’d sell the most.)

9/10s of what I do on the iPad is Safari related. Seriously. I have some apps-- and I do use them–especially kindle. But my iPad is mostly spent browsing the web-- on wifi. If the browser’s great, the apps don’t matter all that much.

Apps did two things, in my opinion-- they replaced parts of the web that can’t be decoded by mobile safari, and they continually provided the illusion that the iphone and ipad were somehow more relevant than their competitors. The killer app is a really portable version of the (non mobile) web. Now, I don’t know how you’d beat Android on that sort of thing, but it was enough to beat blackberry.

For me, it was all about two specific pieces of software: Square, which let me dump my grossly overpriced CC processor, and GarageBand.

Holy crap, GarageBand. The ability to record full demos on the road, and then open them in Logic? That was a game changer.

I have to give Rupert Murdoch more money in order to read this article?

This link seemed to somewhat informative:

I suspect that a similar story could be told about Palm, if it hasn’t been already. Well into the aughts, the PDA/mobile war seemed to be mostly between Palm and RIM, with Microsoft throwing money at WinCE/Pocket PC/Windows Mobile without much success, and Symbian and other contenders on the fringes. Apple? One acronym: ROKR. They were still making mad cheddar off the iPod, but that had no wireless connectivity and no obvious successor. Palm was making inroads in the wireless market after buying Handspring and putting out their version of the Treo, but BlackBerry still had the edge in the corporate and government markets. And where are both of them now?

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