Tag: fortune

Fortune Magazine Says BlackBerry Is Not a Smartphone


This is a great example of how BlackBerry is generally left out of the conversation. Fortune’s Jon Fortt, who covers “digital giants” for the publication, actually made the claim that the iPhone is a smatphone and the BlackBerry is not. Fortt must have said this tongue-in-cheek because the basic definition of a smartphone applies to iPhone, BlackBerry, Android etc. His colleague on the show, Michael Copeland, senior writer at Fortune, switched to Android from BlackBerry. Michael points to the Swipe app which helps texting on a touchscreen, and insinuates that this was the biggest selling point for RIM that is now lost to the touchscreen Android.

Both Fortt and Copeland seem a little too narrow-minded when it comes to the smartphone industry, as they aren’t taking in to account the relative benefits BlackBerry provides, and the scope of the applications available. It seems the problem is that the advantages RIM provides aren’t consumer focused enough, and aren’t making an impact in their discussion.

It’s not that I think these two are particularly relevant in the tech world, but rather their conversation is indicative of a marketing problem at RIM. The company is continually left out of the conversation when Android and iPhone are in the room, and the platform’s advantages are drowned out in the noise of I Am T-Pain and Google Goggles. RIM is clearly trying to address this issue with its Super Apps campaign, but is it going to be enough?

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Fortune interviews RIM co-CEO’s Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis


RIM co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis

RIM named Fortune’s number 1 Fastest Growing Company.

RIM’s booming sales have made it Fortune’s number 1 Fastest Growing Company. Over the past decade, RIM has sold around 65 million phones to over 28.5 million subscribers. This has grown RIM’s stock market capitalization from $96 million to $42 billion in the process. BlackBerry devices continue to dominate the smartphone market with a 56% share of the $12 billion U.S. in revenue.

Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie are confident that RIM can handle their rate of growth but Lazaridis admits that “sometimes we have to put the brakes on.” He goes on to say, “We’ve shown that we can handle annual 100% growth. I’m not sure we could handle more than that.”

The history of RIM is well known but Fortune’s interview reveals an incredible sales strategy on the part of Balsillie that solidified BlackBerry as the corporate standard. As Jim made constant trips back and forth between the US and Canada, he would meet with enterprise customers all over North America. “Every time I’d go up there and present, I’d sit there and ask, ‘Who here uses Microsoft Exchange?'” he remembers. “And two-thirds would raise their hands. Then I’d say, ‘Who here would like to get e-mail on their belt for free?'” He collected business cards and sent “e-mail evangelists” — kids just out of college — back to get the bankers up and running. Within a year the BlackBerry had become a staple on Wall Street. “It was a puppy dog sale,” he says. “‘Take a puppy dog home, and if you don’t like it, bring it back.’ They never come back.”
Continue reading about Balsillie and Lazaridis’ past, current and future strategy for RIM and BlackBerry

Fortune profiles RIM, references BlackBerry Cool 15


BlackBerry Cool 15

Fortune Magazine has published an excellent profile on RIM, addressing the myriad issues facing Waterloo’s favorite company (intense competition, slipping stock, multiple device releases at once) but also their unflappable confidence to get the job done. Quoteth RIM Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis in reference to the BlackBerry Storm:

“That right there is the most advanced smartphone ever made,” he says. “There’s no phone that measures up.”

Fortune writer Jessi Hempel indicates that much of this confidence stems from the invigorating BlackBerry Developer Conference, pointing to one specific event where the ‘excitement was palpable':

A 28-year-old software developer named Robert Kao jumped on a makeshift stage and plugged his BlackBerry into the overhead projector to demo a new software program. A hundred guys (and two women) chugged Coronas while Kao explained how his homing software could track lost phones, back up content, and, with the click of a button, obliterate all your e-mails and phone numbers. Think Lojak for your phone. Before he finished, a venture capitalist in the front row piped up, “I’ll fund you.”

Hmm, sounds familiar. Oh wait, that’s the BlackBerry Cool 15 being mentioned, along with Robert Kao of SmrtGuard/PeekaWho fame (special VC appearance courtesy of Rick Segal). It’s good to know that we were able to help!

While the Fortune profile doesn’t offer any new information for regular BlackBerry Cool readers, it’s still worth checking out if only to get your BlackBerry news from a professional writer.

Fortune Magazine: BlackBerry maker battles back