How corporate world icon Blackberry faded into oblivion

How corporate world icon Blackberry faded into oblivion
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Blackberry finally exited the smartphone development and design business and announced that it will be outsourcing its hardware. John Chen CEO Canadian phone maker synonymous for its QWERTY keypad said that its decision to outsource the development of its smartphones helps avoid the risks of a competitive market and focus on its more lucrative businesses of software and managing rival devices.

Top businessmen had to own it, Kim Kardashian couldn't do without it, and even President Barack Obama was allowed to use only a Blackberry. So how did the smartphone brand that had 50% of the global market share at one point in time fall to less than 1% market share today?

The company under the name of Research in Motion (RIM) began in 1984 and was founded by Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Fregin. But it wasn't until 1999 that the brand Blackberry came into being with the launch of the first two-way pager with mobile email – the Blackberry 850.
This was two years before the RIM went public on the Toronto Stock Exchange. It was also listed on the Nasdaq 100 in 2003
In 2002 the company launched its first phone the Blackberry 5810. A year later it came out with a colour screen version of the phone.
RIM completed 20 years in 2004 and announced that it had crossed one-million subscribers using its devices. By the end of the same year it had over two million subscribers using its devices.
The subscribers quickly doubled to 4 million in 2005. Lazaridis and co-CEO Jim Balsillie, who joined the company in 1992, were named among Time magazine's 100 most influential people.
In 2006 Blackberry released its first line of Pearl devices, which came with a digital camera and multimedia capabilities.
RIM came to become the most valuable company on the Toronto Stock Exchange in 2007 and had a market capitalisation of $67 billion. The company also reaches 10 million subscribers.
During the same year it introduced its first Curve Blackberry phones. However, this was the same year that Apple introduced the first iPhone on January 9, 2007, received an overwhelming response. This resulted in slower sales of the Blackberry phones.
Nevertheless, RIM's stock hits a high of $149.90 in June in 2008. However, this was short lived as the stocks plunged to below $50 when the stock market crashed in September due to the subprime mortgage crisis hit.
The downward slide
It all started going downhill from there for Blackberry with it losing the battle with Apple.
In 2008 Blackberry also launched the Storm the first touch screen phone. However, the phone was severely criticised as it was also the year when Apple launched the iPhone 3G, which was a success.
Blackberry in 2009 launched App World to compete with Apple's App Store. This too did not work as the selection of apps was much smaller and pale in comparison to the App Store.
By 2010 the Blackberry announced that it had shipped 100 million smartphones. It also acquired QXN Software Systems that would help it to reshape it operating system going ahead.
The first iPad was launched a few months later. A few months later Blackberry unveiled its own PlayBook tablet but said that it would not be released until early next year.
When the PlayBook was launched in the spring of 2011, which was later than expected, it was buried by the bad reviews.
This result, 2,000 job cuts were announced just a few months later. There was more bad news to follow as users around the world suffering from a four-day service cut.
In 2012 the company's CEO's Lazaridis and Balsillie stepped down and was replaced by Thorsten Heins. Within months of Heins appointment to the top job the company announced that it would layoff 5,000 employees.
There was also a delay to the critical Blackberry 10 software update. This was seen as the company's last chance to stay in the game. The result was the stock falling to a low of $6.10.
Heins in 2013 finally unveils the Blackberry 10 unpdate and the first two smartphones ie Z10 and Q10 on which the new operating system would be available. The company also renames its self from RIM to Blackberry.
However, all the advertising and marketing for the phones could not save it as the phones did not do well to sell. Lazaridis steps down as the vice president and leaves the board of directors.
In August 2013, the company says that it is open to "strategic alternatives" and even the possibility of sale. This was followed by the laying off another 4,500 employees, which was 40% of its staff.
A month later Blackberry announced that it had agreed to a $4.7 billion buyout by a consortium of investors led by Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. However, the deal only partly materialised as an investment of only $1 billion was made by Fairfax and a group of other investors.
There was also reshuffling in the company, with Heins stepping down as CEO and John Chen taking over the reins.
By October 2013 Blackberry announced that it was launching its once famous BBM messenger (which was once charged services and brought it good revenues) for Android and iPhones. The popularity of WhatsApp had taken the Android-based phones by storm and became widely popular the world over.
In October 2015 it had given up on its own operating system (BB10) and decided to go the Android way with the launch of Blackberry Priv. However, the phone did little to change the fortunes of the already struggling company. The company had managed to sell just 600,000 units of the Priv between January to March 2016. Chen blamed the device as being too high-end of a product for the poor sales.
In July 2016 it launched the DTEK50 also known as the Neon, its second Android-based phone. However, it has yet to be known how much sales the phone has led to.

sources: dnindia
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