The Life, Death, and Resurrection (?) of the Blackberry Phone


Blackberry has released a new phone called the Blackberry Passport. It boasts a large square screen and, of course, a physical keyboard. With another attempt by Blackberry to regain its former glory I thought it would be interesting to see how the Blackberry product got to its present point in its evolution.

When the Blackberry was first introduced it filled a void in the market. Until the Blackberry was introduced in the late 1990s, there were no products that allowed people to send emails through their phones. The growth of the Blackberry came when it implemented a phone application to the device. Now the device was able to make phone calls, text, and send emails, thus making it incredibly popular among professional. These were the strengths that Blackberry kept focusing on to continue the growth of the product. As the product reached its maturity other phones began to emerge as competitors for the Blackberry. The most notable competitor was the original iPhone. With its innovative touch screen and product design the iPhone quickly became a more popular phone than the Blackberry. While the iPhone was gaining market share Blackberry did not innovative enough to keep up with the iPhone and quickly the products sales began to decline until it became an afterthought in the mobile phone industry.

Operation management lessons from Blackberry – Product Life Cycles

  1. Introductory Phase – Even before the Blackberry was launched it took many changes until a final, market ready product could be released. As with any other products in the introductory phase many changes will need to be made until the product is ready to be released.
  2. Growth Phase – When the Blackberry reached the growth phase it was the most popular phone for professionals. And just like other products in this phase demand is high and the companies with products in this phase to supply the demand.
  3. Maturity Phase – The maturity phase saw the Blackberry facing many competitors one of which was the iPhone. In this phase a company needs to have other high innovative products to compete with the competitors.
  4. Decline Phase- This is the end of the product and companies begin to withdraw resources away from them and focus on other products.

Follow Up Questions

Do you think the Blackberry Passport can help Blackberry regain market share?

If you were an operation manager how important would product design be for you?


13 thoughts on “The Life, Death, and Resurrection (?) of the Blackberry Phone

  1. I read this article for a finance class and thought it was very intriguing because I had almost completely forgot about Blackberry. I remember when it was first introduced and my dad’s business gave all the employees Blackberrys as work phones. But, like you pointed out, it only lasted until the iPhone became the more beneficial option. Now, all the employees get iPhones instead. I think Blackberry’s biggest obstacle to overcome is changing people’s perception of its products. Until they can market the Passport as something new rather than their attempt to catch up to Apple, it probably won’t have much of an effect.

  2. I think that it’s possible for Blackberry to regain some traction in the market but not for them to return to their former glory days. For many people Apple is more than just a product, it represents a lifestyle, so it would take something drastic for people to leave it behind and return to Blackberry. In this case I think as a operations manager design would be extremely important because Blackberry has a very specific look. In order to continue the image of the brand I would want to keep the same design while also making it more modern and technically relevant.

  3. I enjoyed reading your post. I have to agree with Janelle30113f14 as far as the difficulties that the blackberry will have to overcome in order to regain market share, but I also don’t believe that blackberry can regain that market share. I think the market is much too competitive for blackberry, unless we have one of those moments when vintage stuff comes back in fashion. Other than that, Blackberry has to REALLY step up its game. I think design is important but I really don’t see the blackberry coming back in style.

  4. This is actually ironic to read this article today because today in my marketing class, we had a speaker who discussed the Blackberry’s decline, and explained how this business is definitely on its way out. I agreed whole heartedly with the speaker. This new Blackberry Passport was one last attempt at trying to secure any form of market share for their business, when in actuality, this product is nothing more than an excessive amount of feature creep. This is truly a sad story; Blackberry originally had the market to themselves at one time, yet they were not innovative enough to keep creating the next big thing, and remain the leader in the market. They rested on their laurels, and basically let the competitors swoop in and steal the market.
    Product design is extremely important, for without it, your product is not going to do well. Everything is a result of the design. If the design is inadequate, it is not going to do its job, and the consumers are not going to take to it.

  5. This was an interesting read. I didn’t even know Blackberry was still coming out with new phones. Right now the phone market is so competitive between Apple’s IPhone and the Samsung Galaxy. I don’t see the new Blackberry passport helping regain market share because of the tough competition. Unless Blackberry introduces something new that IPhone’s or Galaxy’s don’t feature, Blackberry’s will continue to be out of the picture.

  6. I found this post to be very engaging. I am surprised that with all the competition there is now in the cell phone market, Blackberry is coming up with a new product. Right now there are great innovations done by Apple and Samsung. To be able to compete with those two innovative and well developed brand names might be a real struggle for Blackberry. I do no think Blackberry can regain market shares. I think they are too late, and their product does not seem to have anything better to attract potential customers. If I had the role of operational manager in Blackberry I would put a ton of emphasis on product design. I would have people go out there and see what troubles people are having with the phones they have now , and come up with innovative ways to create a much better product that can actually compete for market shares.

  7. I found this post to be very interesting because Blackberry was not as big of a thing with my age group when it was on top of the market, but I happened to be a very committed Blackberry customer. I enjoyed my Blackberry very much when I had it but now with the Apple iPhone on the market, all of my electronics are connected making it very easy for me. Blackberry’s seemed to transition into just work phones for people in business, but now I see more of a transition of the corporate world using iPhones for their work phone as well.

  8. Blackberry has it tough. Apple has really sucked many consumers into its orbit. Blackberry needs to continue to innovate to stay relevant. To regain their market share, it really comes down to the functionality of their product as that is arguably what business users value the most. The problem is Apple is considered one of the most innovative companies of this generation, and there are whispers cell phones may become obsolete by 2025. Blackberry, as we know it today, could easily be a memory in ten years, for better or for worse.

  9. This post made me think about my current devotion to Apple products, I could never see myself getting another brand of device. As a child I would see my dad with his Blackberry and dream of the day I would have one. I think Blackberry’s biggest demise was loosing their loyal customers to Apple, Samsung, and Android. I don’t think Blackberry will be able to regain itself in the phone market simply because many customers have already devoted their loyalty to other brands.

  10. This is a very interesting article, for me especially. I have seen the rise and fall of several phone manufacturers/models over the years so I find it very interesting that Blackberry is re-releasing and re-branding themselves after suffering a huge loss and buyout. I believe that they can regain “some” market share but it will be very difficult for them to become a key player in the smart phone market again. The only real advantage that Blackberry may provide to future consumers is a sleek, thin design, physical keyboard, and advanced security/encryption features for business-users. Because they are essentially starting from scratch again, they may have a certain advantage to operational management and employee-opinion that other larger manufacturers may lack. It will be very interesting to see how well they perform in the next year.

  11. I really liked how you clearly broke down the elements of the product life cycle with the real world example of the Blackberry. It is interesting to be able to see the product life of the Blackberry because it so clearly does follow the trend that we learned about in class. I remember a time when all I used to see were Blackberries and now I can’t remember the last time I saw one. It really makes you realize what phase the Blackberry is on. While I think the Blackberry Passport is an interesting idea, I do not believe it will help Blackberry regain significant market share. The iphone 6 now also has a larger screen and I don’t think people really need a physical keyboard now. It will be interesting to see how the Blackberry passport holds up and what sort of innovation they attempt in the future.

  12. I do think Blackberry, or RIM if they’re still the creators, can gain back some market share. Whether it’s significant enough to maintain a presence in the cell phone market, I don’t know. I do hear plenty of people say they wish they still had a Blackberry, because they love their physical keyboard, but at this point, it’s just novelty. The technology is obsolete, and unless you’re going to a 90s themed party, I don’t think carrying one around will be of much interest to a large enough group of people to make their comeback sustainable. If I was an ops manager for them, I would be scrambling to get their application interface at least on par with Microsoft’s since Android’s is out of immediate reach and Apple’s is miles ahead of anyone’s. I’m just not sure their product line is salvageable. They responded relatively quickly with the touch screen Blackberry Storm in 2008, but it was a massive failure, and seemingly the first real sign of relegation of their brand.

  13. Truly, I think that it will be very hard for Blackberry to top the market again. I think that they need some amazing, innovative idea to resurrect the company; and the passport will not do. The passport looks more like a tablet than a phone and features things that many phones in the market already have. Blackberry currently is facing really tough competition such as Apple and Samsung that it is really hard for them to win back their consumers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *