BlackBerry up for sale: Five reasons it went wrong

We investigate BlackBerry's downfalls now it's up for sale

BlackBerry has announced that it is has essentially put itself up for sale. So where did it all go wrong for Canadian firm which was once a leader in the mobile industry?

It has said: "the Company's Board of Directors has formed a Special Committee to explore strategic alternatives to enhance value and increase scale in order to accelerate BlackBerry 10 deployment. These alternatives could include, among others, possible joint ventures, strategic partnerships or alliances, a sale of the Company or other possible transactions."

It's not the end of BlackBerry, not yet anyway, but things aren't exactly looking rosy. So, rather than give you all the boring financial details and graphs of share prices, we've put together a list of five reasons it all went pete tong for BlackBerry.

BlackBerry 10 delay

RIM changed its name to BlackBerry with the launch of the BlackBerry 10 operating system but this did little to distract from the fact it had been consistently delayed over and over again. The delay lasted many months rather than just a few weeks and didn't exactly fill its customers with hope.

During the time the OS was delayed, BlackBerry cut thousands of jobs and pleaded with users to hold on for what it rested its faith in. It's unsurprising that BlackBerry users jumped ship and boarded the far more buoyant vessels HMS Apple and HSM Android.

Apps

When BlackBerry 10 did finally arrive earlier this year, we were impressed with the software itself. Gesture navigation and the all-in-one Hub were great features. However, a distinct lack of apps was a major problem. BlackBerry made promises at the launch event that things would improve quickly but seven months down the line and, frankly, BlackBerry World still looks barren.

BlackBerry pitches to NZ businesses in bid to recapture market share

Apple and Android were, and still are, so far ahead in a world where content is king that BlackBerry had an almost impossible task to catch up.

Hardware

BlackBerry 10 obviously needed some new hardware on which to run and display its prowess. So the firm introduced the BlackBerry Z10. and Q10 smartphones. One with the iconic Qwerty keyboard and the other with a full touchscreen. Although the hardware was reasonable, it couldn't stand up to rivals on the market and has been overshadowed ever since.

Sales of the BlackBerry 10 device have been disappointing and failed to regain traction in market share for BlackBerry. This year, BlackBerry was outsold by Nokia's Lumia smartphones running Windows Phone 8.

PlayBook

One of BlackBerry's biggest failing was its attempt at cracking the tablet market. It launched the PlayBook with good hardware and arguably a good operating system at its core, but the device had a ridiculously high price tag and didn't even come with a built-in email client. A poor reception led to massive price cuts and a huge loss for BlackBerry.

BlackBerry promised an update to the BlackBerry 10 OS for PlayBook users but this was cancelled last month with CEO Heins saying he was "not satisfied with level of performance and user experience".

Enterprise

There was a time when BlackBerry rules the enterprise world. Countless businesses handed out BlackBerrys to its workers thanks to its simple and effective way of giving constant and secure access to email. It was an industry standard but then along came the iPhone which added some desirability along with better web surfing and apps.

Businesses didn't like it, but people who worked in businesses loved and demanded the iPhone, and the game changed. From being a byword for innovation 'BlackBerry' became a staid, boring, functional thing. Once the iPhone rolled into town, followed by Android devices, BlackBerry was struggling to compete, and simply didn't innovated quick enough to keep its loyal following.

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Chris Martin

PC Advisor (UK)
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