The Awakening



After many years of drinking the Kool-Aid, financial analysts are slowly but surely starting to warm up to John Chen’s brilliant but simple plan to turn BlackBerry around. First he started by identifying the 4 core businesses or ‘Pillars’ that make up the company. The next step was to define the business strategy and tactics behind each Pillar.

Initially it was a shock to the system to hear that the focus was shifting from hardware to software. After all, BlackBerry was the epitome of productivity tools Рempowering business people from all walks of life to stay connected to the office no matter what the circumstance.

But the smartphone landscape has changed dramatically over the past 8 or 9 years forcing companies to innovate or die. Currently there are hundreds of companies churning out inexpensive (cheap) handsets. There are a myriad of operating systems such as android, Tizen, sailfish, Windows, Apple and so on. Add to that the complication that Carriers introduce while they duke it out trying woo a decreasing number of first-time handset buyers.

When one takes into account all the moving parts, the change to a software-centric model makes sense. But his manuevering didn’t stop there. The ‘secret-sauce’ that John Chen championed was that of platform agnostics. Designing EMM/MDM systems that mitigate the issues of BYOD. Rolling out BBM cross-platform to ensure a single communication app could connect the masses. Positioning QNX to be at the heart of the IoT.

In my humble opinion the biggest coup of all was making the Pillars interconnected – yet separate. If one Pillar were to crack and crumble the impact on the other three would be minimal. In fact, if any one Pillar failed the entire structure would remaining standing. By diversifying the underlying businesses and not putting all his eggs into one proverbial basket, the overall enterprise is stronger.

Think of it this way – what happens to Apples riches when the masses realize they’ve been duped into overpaying for outdated tech? That they’ve been fleeced into buying special connectors that will become obsolete in a few years. That the company that was cool and hip is now mainstream. That social responsibility has lost out to the ‘Almighty Dollar’.

Or as the quote goes-
Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.

Then Blackberria can truly say, My, how the mighty have fallen…


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