A new book is coming out on May 26th 2015 that chronicles the rise and fall of Blackberry. The book is entitled Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of Blackberry by Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff. It is already getting a ton of media attention due to the tell all nature, that talks about the duo CEOS and how the iPhone came out of nowhere to destroy their business.
When Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis stepped down as co-chairmen and co-chief executives of BlackBerry, neither has spoken much in public about the once-dominant smartphone maker’s fall into near market obscurity. The two and many others have opened up, however, to two reporters from The Globe and Mail in Toronto: Jacquie McNish, a senior business writer and author of several books and Sean Silcoff, who reports about the company. The end result is the most comprehensive book about Blackberry, ever.
One of the most compelling aspects of the new book is how the advent of the iPhone caught everyone off-guard. AT&T did an exclusive deal with Apple and this resulted in Verizon pressuring RIM into speeding up development on the Blackberry Storm, resulting in a product that was riddled with bugs and issues when it launched in 2008. Despite the flaws, the product was heavily marketed and RIM sold 1 million in two months, leading to a lot of unhappy customers who wanted to return or exchange their devices.
The Storm was a spectacular failure that impacted RIM’s relationship with Verizon, ruined its reputation, and cost upwards of $100 million. After the failure, the company was demoralized and at a crossroads, unsure of where to take the company going forward and how to compete with the iPhone and other smartphones in a landscape that was radically different from what the company knew.
The Book also talks about how the duo CEO’s ended up polarizing the staff at Blackberry. Two camps started to emerge, one who supported the idea of continuing to make phones and the other that wanted to focus purely on software.
I am very excited about this new book. Living in Canada, Blackberry is one of the largest companies involved in the tech space and often dominates news headlines. It will be very interesting to read about all of the inside wheeling and dealings that took the company to the top and than relegated it into obscurity. I am especially interesting to read about the Blackberry Playbook and any future tablet offerings.