BlackBerry History Sounds Warning Bell For Apple

bell tolling

Ask not for whom the bell tolls…

It tolls for thee…

In a super nostalgic piece (which you may need something to dry those tears with before you read – go on, grab those tissues now) James Kendrick of ZDNet has taken us back down memory lane:

Remembering the BlackBerry

If you’ve been around for a while, odds are you have fond memories of one BlackBerry or another.

You’re walking down the corridor with a spring in your step. You nod at coworkers you pass with a big smile on your face. Everything is going your way, especially with a new BlackBerry in your pocket. You have arrived in style.

This scene played out millions of times in the corporate world not that long ago. Long before the smartphone existed, years before the iPhone would hit the scene, the BlackBerry was the phone to have.

You couldn’t easily get one on your own, the only way for most to get a BlackBerry was to get it assigned to you by your employer. They didn’t give one to just anybody either, they were part of the executive package. Other employees deemed important enough to keep in constant contact with were lucky enough to get one, too. Those worker bees were really envied, being the only ones in their group with one.

In that age before smartphones were like navels, the BlackBerry was the ultimate work status symbol. Just pulling one out of your pocket to check your email would invoke the envy of your companions. Especially considering that most people didn’t even have email. You did, and on your phone. You were somebody, and had a BlackBerry to prove it.

Pulling the BlackBerry out of your pocket at lunch, glancing at the email just arrived, and apologizing to your table mates that you “had to respond to this work thing”. Then replying to your buddy that you’d meet him at Bernie’s this weekend. You were the envy of all.

Those who had the early BlackBerry may remember vividly when the company replaced it with a model with a color screen. It was a tiny screen, no touch required, but it was color. Sure, the only thing you ever had on the screen was a message or two, but it was in color!

When you think back on those early BlackBerry phones, that little thumb ball under the display invokes fond memories. You remember how good you got at spinning that little ball with your thumb. You had such pride at the precision with which you made things happen on that tiny, color screen.

And the things you could make happen! Opening settings which exposed every little detail about your BlackBerry. Remembering how you could change every aspect of the BlackBerry operation. BlackBerry let you change every little detail, long before Android made that cool.

You remember the BlackBerry holster that turned your phone on when you lifted it out of the case clipped to your belt. It was magic, not mere magnets, that made it happen every single time you whipped the BlackBerry out of the holster. And just as magical when it turned itself off when you reholstered it.

Out of all the memories I have of the various BlackBerry phones I owned, the fondest was from a special day. While millions were lining up outside Apple stores to get the very first iPhone, I was in line at Verizon to get a BlackBerry 8830. OK, there wasn’t really a line, but I did get that sweet phone. It was capable of international use and everything.

I remember excitedly getting the BlackBerry Storm, the first model without the great physical keyboard that set the BlackBerry apart from the crowd. The one with the clicky screen that was a giant mouse button. The one that was quickly downgraded to a minor depression, for everyone that bought one.

Those were the days, and not that long ago. How far BlackBerry has fallen from the days of the “in” phone. Now you probably can’t remember the last BlackBerry you saw in the wild. It goes to show you how far the top dog can fall, and how fast. You’d do well to remember that, Apple.

Whilst James waxes lyrical of the days when BlackBerry were king it tells a story which is quite relevant today. When BlackBerry were #1 it was because the brand oozed class. The phones were executive grade. To be someone you HAD to have one.

And once you had one you were hooked.

Until something came along that was shinier and did something a bit different.

The iPhone.

And whilst many BlackBerrians hung on in there and waited for BlackBerry’s response, the company’s unwillingness to act or do anything different again suddenly made it look fuddy duddy and old.

And we all know what happened then.

Fast forward to 2014 and, believe it or not, the shine is coming off Apple at a rapid rate.

Market share has been hammered by Android copy cats. Less than 30% in the UK, for example.

And dropping.

And what are Apple doing about it? What new innovations have they come up with?



Meanwhile a resurgent BlackBerry are coming back at the perfect time. Why do you think there is such a buzz around the Passport?

Because it is TRUE AND OBVIOUS innovative.

And against TRUE AND OBVIOUS innovation Apple’s biggest weapon, their marketing, which is the only thing that keeps selling poor devices, is screwed.

You can’t claim you innovate when you are so blindingly behind BlackBerry.

And, with QNX, BlackBerry 10 is the most nimble software platform out there.

Android and Apple may copy, but by the time they do, BlackBerry are another 1 or 2 versions ahead.

Which is crushing.

So, who looks all old and fuddy duddy then?

And who’s got the devices everyone wants?

Listen to the bell Apple…

It’s tolling for YOU.


Bigglybobblyboo is a legend almost nowhere at all. He is a founder member of UTB and spends his spare time taking out his anger at the world with a fishfork and a spatula. He is also a Cribbage Master, having won 1 fight online as the other guy refused to turn up out of fear for his life.

  • Tommy C

    The Passport is KING! I’ve been preaching this since leaked details emerged last December, and I still stand by my prediction : iPhonies will most assuredly kneel before its awesomeness.

  • Reverend Grim

    Fuddy duddy… look at your phone’s apple… where is the innovative technology? all iPhones look the bloody same! At least every BlackBerry from the cheapest to the top end look different, 5s and 5c… the colour is the difference hmm… innovation at its best!
    Great job there Bishop Biggly!

  • G-bone

    My very thoughts, Biggly!
    The parallels between now and 2007 are astounding. iPhone users don’t realize how bad their phones are because they’ve never used anything else. They are also the type of people who are afraid of being different. If their in the same boat as everybody else, that’s what is important – even if that boat is going down.
    Amazing how people are willing to trust there lives to the equivalent of an unlocked bank – come back after hours and take what you like!
    This message written with Apple and Android encryption – you can’t possibly read it.


  • christopherburk

    I am a fan recently of saying ‘ I disagree’.

    Often I have had no follow-up.

    Now that is out I want to say I do agree.

    The BlackBerry 8830 was an icon. I remember being at the top of Mount Baker in Washington State. People were clamouring over a phone in a small group near me. I cannot remember the phone, but the owner stated that the phone she wishes she had was mine. She even pointed over to me and said ” you would do well to have that phone”.

    I have stuck with BlackBerry through all the darkness. And it was DARK!

    I was even comparing my phone with other brands because the ‘ship’ I was on was listing worse than the Concordia.

    The listing with Thorstein at the helm did not get better. I had the Z10. The phone was definitely better than the piece of s:$#t 9860 I had.
    Bit it was only a bit better than the iPhone.

    Then another OS update the some other stuff. Then all that was forgotten when John Chen came in. I took a look at his picture and realised that this MIGHT be the first Asian Friend I have ever had.

    Then BOOM. BOOM. The crust if the old Blackberry was loped off and what emerged was a focused group that knows how to run a business.

    With the excitement around the Passport and 10.3 I am a seasoned sailor heading for the part of the ocean that only the pros are allowed.

    I am going to tip my hat to the Apple and Android people though. Competition will always be the catalyst for change and improvement. I want Apple and Android to keep their guns out because I have a company that fights for their right to exist.

  • Very well done, Biggs! Well done indeed. You are excellent at this.

    Apple seems to be making it easy for you sometimes and I hope you don’t mind me saying that. They’re serving you up some nice, easy pitches; grooving them belt high, right down the middle. But you are hitting them out of the park, and that’s not easy or everyone would be doing it.

    It’s going to be a lot of fun when the Passport comes out, and even more fun when Chen starts marketing handsets in the US and developed markets. I have 3 BB10 devices and I can see it’s going to be difficult to avoid getting one or two more in the next 12 months.

    Really great Biggs! locco_smiley_10

  • Chopachain

    Mr Biggly you are wrong. Apple is indeed innovative. Copying BB is truely innovative.

    When BB misses a target they are useless and its all doom and gloom. When apple misses a target, namely the 5.5 inch iPhone the media brainwashing goes into action and says apple didn’t want to bring two phones out at the same time for whatever BS reason and the poor iSheep just lap it up. Its all a smokescreen.

    • christopherburk

      Hopefully that tide will change.

  • Poita316

    *wipes a small tear from cheek* That my dear Biggly was a piece of poetry. And though it may not be as big of an impact, whipping out a BlackBerry still turns heads. No not of envy, but of disbelieve. “Why are you using a BlackBerry?” Well, because I choose to lead and not blindly follow all those blinded iZombies. I picked my device because it does what I want it to do, not because others think I it does stuff it thinks I need to do or because “others have it”
    I, as many of us, am free from the iChains that bind us to device that does… Well, as much as a Storm or Galaxy 1. Innovation does not mean change the body and leave a rotten soul in it. In due time Apple will fall and we will be there to watch it happen :) Hail The Berry! :D

  • shanerredflag

    Bang a gong…get it on. Well written.

  • Sarek

    I count down the days until the Passport is released. All those in my office are becoming more and more convinced that real innovation is on the way from BB, especially as they tire of the frequent iProblems.

  • Chopachain

    Security and Apple, two words that should never be used together. Ever!
    How about a 200 billion dollar class action lawsuit against Apple for not informing Apple device owners they were actually buying a private data sieve.

  • web99

    Apple seems to be a company on the decline or as another person would say, a ship adrift with no competent person at the controls. For all the credentials that their current CEO Tim Cook has, he is no Steve Jobs and their lack of innovation is beginning to be noticed.

    Just take a look at the problems caused by their last 2 operating system updates. If this happened to Blackberry they would be publicly crucified by the MSM, but because it is Apple they are given a pass.

    Glitch: Freezing during iOS 7.1.2 update
    Problem: Connect to iTunes screen popping up uninvited
    Glitch: Can’t connect to App Store
    Bug: Thieves can bypass Activation Lock
    Glitch: Apps crash or won’t load
    Bug: Thieves can bypass Passcode to access contacts
    Problem: Wallpapers dark at the top
    Problem: Rapid battery drain
    Glitch: Freezing and lag
    Problem: Touch ID not working
    Bug: Wi-Fi not working or unavailable
    Problem: Bluetooth not working properly
    Glitch: Keyboard lag
    Problem: Full screen caller photo gone
    Glitch: Sound muffled or low volume
    Glitch: Auto-brightness not working