Mike Lazardis, RIM co- CEO, was convinced of BlackBerry’s superior design and feature focus, that you would hear him unequivocally state time and time again that BlackBerry smartphones would never have MP3 players or cameras in them because it just does not make sense when the company’s primary customers were the government and enterprise. “BlackBerry smartphones will never have cameras because the No. 1 customer of ours is the U.S. government,” Mike Lazaridis would say in meetings. “There will never be a BlackBerry with an MP3 player or camera.”
Mike Lazaridis would say that the most ridiculous idea was to name a phone with a marketing-derived name, like the Motorola RAZR. “BlackBerry will never do that, it will always be a model number,” he said to executives. “A BlackBerry with a name is ridiculous.”
Compare and contrast with Steve Jobs who put sneaker to stage at WWDC 2007 and showed off the original iPhone, a device that eschewed the design of the market leaders of the day, RIM’s BlackBerry and Palm’s Treo line. Unlike almost everyone else at the time, the iPhone dropped the keyboard, and replaced the stylus with the finger and multitouch.
Never mind that RIM eventually, reluctantly backtracked and shipped camera totting, MP3 rocking, Bold-ly branded, devices of their own. They failed to see where the market was going, dismissed where it was, and seemed to only angrily react to where it had long since been.
To their credit, Google rapidly switched Android from a BlackBerry clone to an iPhone clone. To their detriment, RIM just kept making BlackBerrys, the same ones that owned the world in 2006, long after the world had moved post-2007.
Steve Jobs, meanwhile, probably isn’t waiting on anyone to obsolete the iPhone. He likely has all of Apple working on doing that themselves.
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