TL;DR: BlackBerry should abandon the hardware business (or, at least, its high-end smartphone business) and develop its software portfolio as a multi-platform ecosystem.
At some point in early 2012, I became fairly convinced that BlackBerry, RIM (Research In Motion) at the time, would not survive 2 more years if it kept going the way it did. Years of boneheaded decisions had piled up to staggering heights, and attempts at the time to stop the bleeding didn't seem to be working at all. BlackBerry was going down, and there was nothing that was going to help their cause.
[BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heinz presenting the new BlackBerry Q10]
Just over a week ago, reports started coming out that Windows Phone, Microsoft's latest mobile endeavor, had overtaken BlackBerry as the No. 3 Smartphone OS, with just over 3% adoption. This all but solidified the race at the bottom for #3, and Microsoft has been focused enough to zoom right past BlackBerry. When I saw this development, I had a solid moment of celebration: I am a huge Windows and (especially) Windows Phone fanatic. I was an early adopter of Windows Phone 7, having obsessed over it since it was first unveiled as the Windows Phone 7 Series, and have even worked as a Brand Ambassador to Microsoft, advertising Windows 8 and RT to the masses. Needless to say, I was excited and felt a bit proud about this. We finally got #3. But then, as I thought about it some more, I realized something: I felt genuine pity towards BlackBerry.
People point to Apple and the first iPhone as having created the smartphone industry back in 2007, but it cannot be overlooked how BlackBerry was actually the company to Validate the concept of a smart phone, a handheld computer.
Throughout the 2000's, it was RIM the one that created and dominated the 'smart phone' market, with the now iconic keyboard and other signature features such as mobile email and, in their last years of dominance, messaging and security. Their spectacular downward spiral serves as tomes of lessons for entrepreneurs and companies big and small that all orbit around a very important theme: Adapting.
Let's take a deeper look at what's happened, and what the future may hold...