Blackberry on Decline

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BlackBerry Ltd’s plan to retreat from the consumer market in favor of its traditional strength serving businesses and governments is widely seen as a desperate move that industry watchers warn will only accelerate its downward spiral.

“Perception is nine tenths of reality and if customer and supplier confidence continues to fall it doesn’t matter how much cash they have on the balance sheet. Things could get worse,” said GMP Securities analyst Deepak Kaushal.

At least nine brokerages slashed their price targets on the company’s stock, to as low as $5. BlackBerry’s shares, which fell 17 percent on the Nasdaq on Friday, fell another 5.6 percent to $8.23 before the bell on Monday.

“We have been steadfast in our position that BlackBerry should downsize and focus on the enterprise, a strategy the company will now pursue. Our view now is that any recovery is very unlikely,” National Bank Financial analysts wrote in a research note, cutting their share price target to $5 from $8.

Five key moments that led to the decline of this once dominant mobile player.

1 The dismissal of the iPhone

“Try typing a web key on a touchscreen on an Apple iPhone, that’s a real challenge.”

Less than a year later, the full touchscreen BlackBerry Storm hit shelves, its clumsy ‘SurePress’ display slated for being awkward and slower than the iPhone.

2 ‘Amateur hour is over’: PlayBook flops

Marketed with the slogan ‘Amateur hour is over’, it lacked native email and calendar clients, with awkward bridge software used to hook-up BlackBerry phones.

Despite updates bringing these features to the slate, the dominance of the iPad and growing array of budget Android alternatives ensured the PlayBook flopped.

3 BB10 hits the skids

BB10 is rightly lauded as a great OS. But it was only released in January 2013, years after it was promised and far too late to compete properly with iOS, Android and even Windows Phone.

4‘Tablets themselves are not a good business model’

Heins took on some of his predecessors’ gaffe-prone tendencies, when, defending the decision not to update the PlayBook to BB10, he suggested tablets were not the future.

5‘Seeking strategic alternatives’

Before the current tale of billion dollar losses and staff cuts, BlackBerry finally signalled the end when it admitted in August it was ‘seeking strategic alternatives’ and putting the business up for sale.

6 Website traffic  and search

No doubt, the story of and reasons behind RIM’s decline has been documented plenty in other places, and that’s not what we want to do here. But we noted BlackBerry’s dramatic fall in an article in June, and we wanted to return to RIM and try to look at the issue from as many sides as possible.

First, let’s look at how traffic to BlackBerry.com has fared in recent years with Google Trends for websites. As you can see, traffic was actually increasing until about a year ago. Then it leveled out, but has in recent months started to decline.

Share of mobile web browsing

A smartphone is a mobile powerhouse, and many are used to browse the web. Even though BlackBerry’s main claim to fame is mobile messaging and email, many BlackBerry owners also browse the web with their smartphones.

Conclusion

BlackBerry, once the global leader in smartphone technology, has put itself up for sale after years of falling sales and failed revamps.Once seen as so habit-forming its users dubbed it the “CrackBerry”, Blackberry has suffered a calamitous decline as rivals revolutionised the business it did so much to start. On Monday the company previously known as Research in Motion (RIM) announced it had decided to “explore strategic alternatives”. Buyers are being sought, though the company could also go private or be broken up. Few analysts expect a turnaround.

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Annie Steffi Sydney

The author is a computer science engineer and she is currently pursuing MBA. She has received many National Awards in different fields.She has a passion for writing, social service and Bharatanatyam.

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