Research, no motion: How the BlackBerry CEOs lost an empire

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Research, no motion: How the BlackBerry CEOs lost an empire
Jesse Hickson February 21, 2012 09:34 am
Research In Motion, whose BlackBerry phones pioneered wireless email, no longer holds the commanding heights in the smartphone market. With Android, iOS, and even Windows Phone gaining market share, the Waterloo, Ontario, company finds itself in a battle for relevancy. The past year has been especially hard on the once-innovative RIM, but it may be at a turning point. Or the beginning of the end.

Last April, Mike Lazaridis sat in a BBC studio, holding his company’s future in his hands: a svelte seven-inch tablet, black, with the word “BlackBerry” emblazoned across its front. The PlayBook.

The company was Research In Motion, the Canadian firm whose BlackBerry virtually created the smartphone market. Success had come almost naturally to the company, until five years ago, when Apple released the first iPhone and upended RIM’s long-held strategy of appealing primarily to email-addicted professionals. Apple expanded the market by building a smartphone not just for business people, but for the great mass of well-heeled, tech-hungry consumers. Apple’s success opened the door for another large, deep-pocketed competitor: Google, with the acquisition and development of Android. The mobile landscape shifted dramatically — new players, new customers, and new alliances — and RIM made costly missteps scrambling to adjust

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