Passport Alert – When iDiocy REALLY Gets Desperate

galen gruman

This man is Galen Gruman.

He is the Executive Editor for Info World.

And he is an iDiot.

Why so?

Well, Galen has written MANY books. Here’s a few: iPad at Work For Dummies, MacBook Pro Portable Genius, iBooks Author For Dummies. So it would seem Galen isn’t stupid, he just likes to write books for Dummies.

Either way, Galen has a problem with BlackBerry.

In an article dated 18th July, here’s what Galen had to say about BlackBerry and the Passport.

BlackBerry’s Square Smartphone And Other Desperate Moves

(by the way, I put the capital letters in the headline on for him – he didn’t bother)

When you’re desperate, you sometimes do stupid things, though they only worsen your already dire situation. That’s what’s happening at BlackBerry, the struggling smartphone maker now lashing out at a world it doesn’t like while continuing to play at product designs that make no sense.

A year ago, the company brought in a new CEO to turn the page on seven years’ worth of denial that people wanted smartphones to do more than secure messaging. BlackBerry execs pooh-poohed the iPhone, then Android as silly consumer fads, even as more and more businesses adopted at least the iPhone as a secure corporate standard. Last year, the U.S. military granted both the iPhone and some Android devices (those secured with Samsung’s Knox service). No surprise that BlackBerry’s market share is in single digits, down from industry dominance a decade ago.

[ Why it’s so hard to believe BlackBerry has a future. | Keep up on key mobile developments and insights with the Mobilize newsletter. ]

That new CEO, John Chen, has talked about returning to BlackBerry’s strengths: supersecure messaging. That’s a small market, but a lucrative one, and frankly it’s the only place where BlackBerry has a shot of being relevant. But that’s a tough nut to crack because, well, BlackBerrys with even the decent BlackBerry 10 OS don’t do much more than serve as messaging devices. The app market for BlackBerry is, simply put, pathetic. And people get smartphones for a helluva lot more uses than messaging.

By attacking competitors, BlackBerry reinforces its desperation
Is BlackBerry working to create a set of compelling, even if niche, apps to make the BlackBerry more than a fancy text-messaging device? It doesn’t seem so. Instead, it attacks competitors like Good Technology, MobileIron, and SGP Technologies (maker of the new highly secure Android-based Blackphone).

Vendors routinely say they’re better than their competitors, but BlackBerry is doing it in an obnoxious way that reeks of desperation, with a “fact check” campaign modeled after smeary election ads. Frankly, all it does is portray BlackBerry as petty and defensive. A self-confident company wouldn’t roll in the mud of perceived slights and alleged misperceptions.

Given BlackBerry’s multiple years of denying reality and claiming apps, iPhones, consumerization, and so on were fads that right-thinking companies would one day recant, this latest hyperdefensiveness brings back to mind all that denial — not what you want to remind customers of.

When BlackBerry slams competitors for daring to say they offer relatively high levels of security, it instead reminds us all how far BlackBerry has fallen — and how its supersecurity pitch is overkill for most users.

For most companies, what mobile management providers like Citrix, Good, and MobileIron provide for the iPhone and even Android is fully adequate. The Blackphone — whose name is no doubt meant to trade on BlackBerry’s security reputation, as well as the “black ops” phrase used in spy circles — is interesting because it brings a deeper level of information security to Android than anything else has to date.

For a while, BlackBerry highlighted its security in a constructive way, showing off how much more secure its BlackBerry platform is for military and other sensitive uses while also promoting its BlackBerry Enterprise Service’s recent support for the good-enough-for-most security in iOS and Android. Then it partially opened up the management of its BlackBerry devices, so enterprises that used other providers’ management tools would be able to keep BlackBerrys in their device mix — a sensible coexistence strategy.

But now BlackBerry is reinforcing its reputation as an old-school product for a tiny niche, using very off-putting tactics to boot. Yeah, that’ll help.

A square BlackBerry gets notice — as another example of not getting it
At the same time, BlackBerry has been semi-officially leaking its Passport device concept, a square-screen BlackBerry that puzzles pretty much anyone who’s seen it. It doesn’t fit in a shirt pocket, a flaw that guarantees it won’t get used. Its keyboard uses a nonstandard aspect ratio, a flaw that will besmirch BlackBerry’s reputation for excellent physical keyboards.

Worse, it doesn’t have a point.

A rectangular screen has the advantage of providing two viewports, one landcsape and one horizontal, so you can adjust the screen view for the content at hand. A square screen eliminates that versatility. It doesn’t offer any additional benefit either. Nothing is really designed to work on a square screen — neither websites nor apps. BlackBerry would need to come up with amazing square apps to change that game, but BlackBerry doesn’t do compelling apps.

The Passport will allegedly ship this September. I don’t want to believe it’s a real product because it’s such a stupid idea. But BlackBerry not only says it’s a real product but that customers who’ve used prototypes are “clamoring” for it. Uh huh.

BlackBerry has said the same thing about every new (failed) product in recent years. Early customers “loved” the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, but no one bought them. Early customers “loved” the BlackBerry Z10 (which I did like), but no one bought them. Customers “loved” the BlackBerry Q10, a throwback to the once popular, keyboard-oriented BlackBerry Bold, but no one bought the Q10 either.

If that’s love, BlackBerry needs to date someone new.

Perhaps BlackBerry should stop developing smartphones, if it thinks the Passport is a good idea. Such a device only reinforces the cluelessness that BlackBerry has stubbornly clung to since the iPhone first shipped and is not a good message to your potential customers.

I really wish that the folks at BlackBerry would shut up and deliver. The more they talk, the worse they look.

Of course, in the intervening period since Galen wrote this…

1) The Blackphone has been hacked a couple of times making it pointless
2) Apple have been hacked repeatedly and, very infamously, with Fapplegate
3) Android’s Knox has died a death due to the fact that it is pretty much unworkable with an open OS
4) MobileIron/Apple almost wrecked Aviva Insurances business as they were hacked with ease and dashed #BackToBlack asap
5) The buzz about this mysterious square smartphone has gone bananas.

Oh, and many of his books are how to deal with the highly successful Windows 8 Operating System. So successful that retailers offer you Windows 7 if they possibly can and Windows 9 is dashing to the rescue asap.

Just to prove Galen’s iCredentials, here are the titles of his latest works:

The 5 lessons both IT and business should learn from Apple

Too big, too small, or just right? Sizing up the iPhone 6 Plus

Apple Watch: The Internet of things’ new frontier

10 ways Apple really has changed the (tech) world

iOS 8’s hidden revolution goes way beyond the iPad and iPhone

Rotten Apple: Apple’s 11 biggest failures (this one I like! Oh, wait, it’s in praise of Fapple in the end)

Fixes flood in for iOS and Android email — but they aren’t broken (of course they’re not! They’re crap by design)

My God.

In other words, Galen likes to deal in software no one really likes.

Still, never mind, there’s so much to learn here from Apple and their amazing watch and their FANTASTIC revolutionaty iOS8 product blah… blah… blah….

Just one thing to learn, Galen.

If you want to play in the iPlayground, that’s your lookout. After all, it would seem that the market for your books is shrinking by the day.

If you want to comment on BlackBerry at least get your facts right.

And if you want to be so vitriolic about it and mis-represent BlackBerry through your own iGnorance?

Expect to end up here.


I hope you enjoy seeing all those people coming #BackToBlack and are utterly baffled by it.

After all, we don’t really deserve you, do we?

Now, where’s our Resident iDiot with his Passport predictions?


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.

  • bbjoe2011

    What a tool. What an social orphan, what a sack of rocks. I hate this man. Boo him!

  • Anthony

    Galen is an idiot. He’s written too many Apple books to be taken seriously.

  • Is he Tim Cook’s late night “boy toy” or something? Is he on Apple’s payroll? How do you explain this unbelievable lack of objectivity towards Apple and BBRY? I mean, if Apple told him the new iPhone was the same size as the iPad I bet he would blindly praise them for innovating the biggest smartphone screen as ridiculous and cumbersome as that would be. And he can’t see a single strength of our OS besides messaging? Does he know we run 90% of Android apps? Is he really this ignorant of what’s actually going on?

    Did I see one of his books was about how the iWatch is playing in the internet of things? What does that even mean? How exactly? Does he have a clue what he’s talking about? This guy is a serious fanboy. What a tool. I hope he’s collecting a check from Apple because at least that would make him somewhat rational.

  • xBURK

    Wow, I’ve witnessed many tools, but this is right up there with the worst of them.


    I tried to read his entire article but after the fourth or fifth inaccuracy I just couldn’t go any further. He is clearly preaching to his fellow iGnorants and after all, my time is worth something. At least to me anyway. On a personal note, I am finding the screeds posted by these iGnorants to be a waste of time and quite boring.

  • Canuckvoip

    Wake up Galen!
    Just because you don’t like BB, or think that FAPPLE/Android/Blackphone is “good enough” does not make it true.
    Those other devices are not good enough for government, or any business with even half a mind to keep their information and access to it secure.

  • veeru789

    Did someone send this article to him

  • rzanger

    Isn’t he doing the same thing as he’s complaining about? Someone should point out to to him that blackberry has been getting smeared for years. Makes me want to say something nasty about his mother lol.

  • Blackjack

    He isn’t stupid. He just likes to write books for dummies.


  • SipoKapumba

    This article really has me very, very worried. What if? What if the Passport fails? What should BlackBerry do to popularise the Passport to prevent a PlayBook like flop? I certainly plan to get the Passport just to support BlackBerry, but what if there are not enough of us, hardcore fans for it to succeed? You can bet there will be lots more of this negative press as the Passport launch date approaches and after the launch. BlackBerry needs to do its marketing homework well. The only consolation is that BlackBerry is still well regarded outside the US, where Apple is a strong brand. I just wish all Canadians would buy BlackBerry. That would be enough to save it’s smartphone business.

    • jrohland

      BlackBerry is not structured around the blockbuster sales of phones. Their phones are sold to the discriminating buyer. Of course the iDiots believe a company needs to sell tens of millions to be a success. If BlackBerry sells two million Passports, that will be a big win. What is much more important is that they sell well to enterprises.

      BlackBerry is a diverse company with enough success in each business unit to remain viable without huge phone sales.

      • SipoKapumba

        Thanks jrohland. I totally reacted to the propaganda in that article by that iDiot, but then, that is the power of disinformation. How many people out there are privileged, like me, to be members of UTB Blogs, where such misleading information can be contextualised and put where it belongs – in the toilet? How much damage can such vitriolic writing to to the Passport? What strategies does BlackBerry have to counter the negative media? The best weapon is a great, groundbreaking product, which I hope the Passport will be. Innovative ideas are usually laughed at because they depart from people’s comfort zones. I’m sorry to use these examples, but the iPad and the Samsung phablet were laughed at when they were introduced, but they went on to become commercial successes. We might see the same thing happen here. And who says the Passport cannot fit in a shirt pocket? This iDiot is also a jerk! I can sleep well now.

  • rzanger

    The passport wasn’t designed for the consumer market but I think it was more purpose built. It is easy to see the benefits to certain professionals which in turn could help an organization in deciding on the necessity for BES if the high priced talent finds it necessary. Every little bit helps.

    • SipoKapumba

      Thanks rzanger. In this consumer dominated smartphone world, where sales in the tens of millions mark a device’s “success”, one can easily get lost in the irrelevance of using such criteria to judge a product’s success. You have reminded me that this device was designed for the enterprise market, where productivity and security matter. BlackBerry has targeted a niche market, but I have a feeling that this device will be embraced by celebrities, in light of the iCloud leak of celebrities’ nude photos, which has brought home the need for security, and that with a BlackBerry (Passport), celebrities (and their trend conscious fans) will be both hip and secure. The moment we see the Passport in a few music videos, will be the start of its commercial success in the consumer market. I hope BlackBerry’s marketing team is working on this strategy also. If properly marketed, this device can sell in the tens of millions, which will be an added bonus.