Thursday, 31 January 2013

Blackberry: A dud by any other name

They might as well have called it The Strawberry or The Peach.
Did the eggheads at Research in Motion really believe that if they changed the name of the company and installed a new charismatic CEO (Yes, I am making a joke), they would somehow erase the public's memory of the last five years of ineptitude?
What a bunch of maroons.
I was quietly chortling to myself last night, watching the news, as the cameras panned over the buildings once proudly named RIM. All that is left of that legacy is the shadowy letters above "Blackberry" remnants that the workers couldn't scrape off.
It's no wonder that RIM, er, Blackberry, stocks sank like a cellphone drunkenly and accidentally tossed in a swimming pool.
Blackberry had its RIM shot.
The boneheads who ran things, in a typically Canadian fashion, chose to believe their own press clippings. They had one good idea and a lot of government backing and figured: why innovate? Instead the former CEO became preoccupied with building a monstrous home on Lake Ontario and, for tax purposes, called it a think tank.
Meanwhile, Apple had its brainiacs working 23 hours a day on innovation and application because it understood that consumer satisfaction was Job One.
Now RIM, er Blackberry, is trying to make a comeback at the bottom on the ninth with the other team up nine runs.
Unfortunately, there is no crying in baseball, and there is no doddling in high technology.
Snooze you lose.
And boy did RIM lose.
I worked long enough in marketing to know that if you can't keep your promises, if you stall, obfuscate, lie, cheat, and then bring to market a dud product too late, then you're toast.
I still remember the Betamax versus VHS fiasco.
I was an early adapter back then and all my techie friends swore by Betamax.
So I bought one, against the advice of all my normally cautious consumer friends.
Sony had a better product by far -- no one disputes that. It had brand recognition but it was too expensive. In the end, it didn't have game.
As a result, like thousands of others, was stuck with a half dozen Betamax movies and thousands of hours of taped television.
Ever since that episode, I bought products that I knew would be sticking around for a while.
I never buy first generation, I always wait for the roll out.
And so I never did have a Blackberry.
I bought an iPhone 3 two  years after Apple launched it.
Last week, I bought an Android.
I could have waited for the Blackberry, but I didn't.
I don't believe in the product.
Blackberry had its chance and blew it.
It's a dud by any other name.


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