In Depth: The 10 moments that defined BlackBerry's rise and fall

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Once a leader and leading light in the smartphone market, BlackBerry is in a potentially terminal downward spiral. The Canadian company, formerly known as RIM, developed an iron grip on the venture and successfully linked the gap from pager, to portable computer, to smartphone.

In the last couple of years Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android platform have actually taken control of with a bundled market share that tops 90 percent. Struggling to imprison a decreasing user base, amidst poor sales of its most current devices, we’re now hearing that BlackBerry may offer up.

What better time to look back at the company’s rollercoaster trip over the last three years?

1984: The formative year


A few engineering students, Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Fregin, started Study In Movement in 1984 in Waterloo, Canada.

The first couple of years saw the company establishing wireless information innovation utilizing the Mobitex requirement.

RIM made it possible for wireless communication for point-of-sale terminal equipment, and worked on modems and pagers, paving the way for mobile devices in the future when they were still restricted to the

1992: Jim Balsillie joins


Taking a 60 percent pay cut, mortgaging his home, and sinking ₤ 160,000 of his own money into RIM James Balsillie gambled huge on the business when he joined in 1992. He brought the hard-nosed business sense that’d complement the engineering skills of Lazaridis. The 2 would go on to act as co-CEOs of RIM for the next twenty years.

1998: the first BlackBerry


The RIM 900 Inter @ ctive Pager launched in 1996. It was a wireless two-way pager which flipped vulnerable to disclose a small keyboard and an even tinier screen. It enabled peer-to-peer messaging, might send faxes, and offered delivery and read receipts.

It was also capable of sending and receiving email, however its successor in 1998, the RIM 950 Wireless Handheld was actually the first BlackBerry.

Sporting a patented keyboard design that made it simple to kind with your thumbs, the BlackBerry name came from the look of the tilted keys.

Rave reviews helped RIM to establish a number of vital partnerships with companies like IBM, BellSouth Wireless (later Cingular and afterwards AT&T), and Rogers Cantel.

The BlackBerry e-mail service followed in 1999, and afterwards the company noted on the NASDAQ, raising over ₤ 150 million. Sales skyrocketed and fast growth followed.

2001: NTP takes legal action against RIM for millions

A significant patent violation claim was brought against RIM by NTP and the jury initially ruled in NTP’s favor and awarded ₤ 21 ($33) million damages.

RIM fought it, however would lose further ground in the fight and ultimately have to choose ₤ 390m ($612.5 m) in 2006, although the legal case did highlight the expanding popularity of the BlackBerry brand name.

In reality, such was its power the The UNITED STATE Justice Department chose to weigh in, alerting against a network shutdown because of the government’s dependence on BlackBerry.

It had a positive side too: the BlackBerry network provided backup interactions in the after-effects of 9/11 after the phone systems in New York and Washington D.C. could not handle the need.

By the time the case was settled in 2006 RIM had nearly 5 million active BlackBerry customers and net income of ₤ 240 million for the year.

2006: The CrackBerry craze


Initially popular with business area, by 2006 RIM was attracting significant mass market attention. The 7100 “Charm” series marked a brand-new focus on customers and more functions followed in the “Electron” and “Pearl” launches, consisting of cameras, navigation, and talk functions.

Dubbed “CrackBerry” in the United States since of its addicting nature, the BlackBerry brand name was riding high and it looked like nothing might stop the keyboard transformation.

2007: The world at its feet

Apple launched the iPhone at the start of 2007 and it was set to compete with the BlackBerry Pearl, launched the year prior to.

The Pearl was the first BlackBerry with a camera and a media gamer and was seen by lots of as the right transfer to bring RIM’s products closer to the customer.

The BlackBerry 8800 series and the entry-level Curve would follow later in 2007 to further this claim, with RIM becoming the most important company in Canada.

With 10 million customers by the end of the year, there was no sign of concern about the iPhone’s potential as a BlackBerry awesome, with RIM clearly feeling that functionality was still the most vital aspect to the smartphone buyer.

2008: A Storm begins to brew

BlackBerry Storm

Android launched quietly to completion of 2008, and hot on its heels was RIM’s first touchscreen device, the BlackBerry Storm.

It was up against the iPhone, the HTC Dream, and the Palm Pre. It would be fair to say that the Storm didn’t compare favourably, with reports of problems, slow-moving performance, and an inadequate touchscreen experience.

The extremely effective BlackBerry Bold introduced the same year, and RIM hit its all-time greatest approximated worth at ₤ 49 billion.

2011: Not from the ‘the best ways to make tablets’ PlayBook


The iPad’s success pointed to the potential of the tablet market and RIM chose to produce a tablet of its own.

Sadly, the PlayBook was doomed from the beginning, mainly due to a lack of apps and a cumbersome user interface, and at launch it did not even have an e-mail or a calendar app.

The form aspect, with a 7-inch display flanked by a big bezel, likewise came in for objection, although it would show successful for Amazon and Google in the months to come.

2011: The ‘BlackBerry riots’ and worldwide outages

In the summertime of 2011 riots swept throughout England and BlackBerry Messenger was obviously utilized to arrange them, with the televised media keen to highlight the function RIM’s devices played in, with it coming about that 37 per cent of the UK smartphone market in poor urban locations had BlackBerrys.

Worse was to come as extreme failures for BlackBerry services struck in October 2011, leading to an unprecedented video apology from Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis.

This was small comfort to millions of BlackBerry customers who were left without web gain access to, email, or BlackBerry Messenger service. An offer of free of cost apps as compensation for those influenced was met widespread derision.

2011: The BlackBerry 10 hold-ups begin

BlackBerry 10

Lay-offs, a high profile open letter from a BlackBerry insider slamming the lack of strategy, the failures, and hold-ups to the brand-new platform all contributed to the pressure that saw Co-CEOs Lazaridis and Balsillie lastly step down to give way for Thorsten Heins.

The last roll of the dice was BlackBerry 10. Originally readied to introduce in 2011, it was delayed into 2012, and did not actually arrive till January 2013, when BlackBerry subscriptions had actually begun to decrease as individuals got to completion of their 2 year agreements and PAYG choices from various other mobile phone makers became more appealing options.

Launching on the touchscreen Z10, which was soon followed by the even more standard keyboard-toting BlackBerry Q10, the brand-new platform invited an inevitable “too little, too late” verdict from many quarters.

The BlackBerry customer base came to a head at 80 million in December 2012 and the brand-new platform has actually not jailed its decline.

The business is now estimated to be worth less than ₤ 3.5 billion, which is not an insubstantial quantity by any ways. With an unique committee formed to discover a buyer able to salvage the power of BB10, it could be that BlackBerry lives to fight an additional day – otherwise we will have lost among the innovators and motorists in the very early smartphone market.