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From industry darling to potential footnote, what happened to Blackberry?
It’s hard to say what will ultimately become of Blackberry now that it likely will be bought by Canadian consortium Fairfax Financial Holdings for $4.7 billion. Without a doubt BlackBerry transformed business with smartphones that melded email with a keyboard. Then the iPhone happened and the company never really evolved much further. IDC says BlackBerry has fallen behind Microsoft's Windows Phone to into fourth place and the company’s savior device, the Z10 remains largely unsold -- $1 billion worth sitting in warehouses. Here we take a quick look at the long, strange trip from the top to the bottom of the smartphone heap.
Sept. 23, 2013. In the past week the company announced massive layoffs, detailed financial struggles and accepted a buyout offer from its largest shareholder.
The savior? Not so much: A Blackberry Z10 smartphone. The company said some $1 billion worth of them remain unsold and will be written down in coming financial statements.
Then known as Research in Motion (RIM), President and Chief Executive Officer Thorsten Heins raises his arms during the launch of the RIM Blackberry 10 devices in New York January 2013.
Trashed Blackberry phones sit in a bucket during the NBC Today Show in New York April 21, 2008.
Blackberry maker's Research in Motion RIM campus in Waterloo circa 2012.
Mike Lazaridis, president and then co-chief executive officer of Research in Motion, speaks at the RIM Blackberry developers conference in San Francisco, September 2010.
A T-Mobile branded BlackBerry smartphone.
A Blackberry smartphone is displayed in 2010 illustrative photo taken in Hong Kong. At the time India had threatened to shut down BlackBerry services if security concerns were not addressed.
In 2007 Research In Motion Ltd apologized for a massive service interruption that affected many customers in North America.
RIM announced in 2006 it signed a settlement ending a patent dispute that threatened to shut down its e-mail service in the United States. At the time RIM said it paid U.S. patent holding firm NTP Inc. $612.5 million to settle the dispute.
In 2011 RIM had co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis which promoted this CIO magazine story. “Who's the Boss? When things are going great, people will praise even a committee of so-called leaders. It really doesn't matter who's in charge. But when challenges arise, there can be only one who steps up and carries the company on his or her shoulders. This is where RIM's Co-CEO structure has failed. Risk-taking. Accountability. Consequence. You can't divvy them up. Otherwise, it's just a sitcom.”
Lazaridis said during the early 2000s that there were 16 million lines of code in the BlackBerry.
Interesting odds: From 2010 – “Who Cares About Cell Phones, Anyway? Odds that Microsoft's $500 million investment in Windows 7 mobile will topple entrenched competition: 1 in 50,000. (Chances that Microsoft execs kick themselves daily for not buying RIM a long time ago: 1 in 3.)”
In November 2005, Oprah Winfrey gave away BlackBerry 7105t devices to attendees of her pre-Christmas giveaway show.
Then Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in 2006 unveiled his official portrait, featuring a BlackBerry in the background.
The device that started it all: The BlackBerry 950, code-named LeapFrog.
Chart showing BlackBerry's historic share price and key events. Includes net income and smartphone market share.
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