BlackBerry should not be used as the model manufacturer, as their marketshare has been plummeting for years. The company that once stood at the pinnacle of the smartphone market has surely suffered, and many would say they are on their way out, but there are some great moves BlackBerry has pulled in order to stay afloat.
In fact, the company’s numbers have started rising, with shares going above $10 and losses diminishing (though profits are still not coming). We can all see that BlackBerry has been working very hard, an effort that is noticeably bearing fruits. How did they do this?
While I won’t say other manufacturers should follow BlackBerry’s footsteps, I can tell you they know how to take care of some things. Other smartphone makers should at least take some notes.
Disclaimer: I think you can tell by now I am not exactly a BlackBerry fanboy, but I wanted to make that very clear (before you go nuts on me). This is part of a series of articles in which we point out what each manufacturer is doing right, in an attempt to bring consciousness. We also have similar posts on Samsung, HTC, Motorola, OnePlus, Xiaomi, LG and even Apple.
Keeping it “Classic”
BlackBerry has a very loyal fan base. Even if many of them have moved on to other platforms, they keep a fond memory of BlackBerry, praising their keyboards and the great times they had with them. It only makes sense for them to keep, or somehow implement, that melancholic design and great keyboards, at least in some of their devices.
Though their philosophy, design language and software have changed, they stay true to their roots with devices like the BlackBerry Q10, which highly resembles the Bold line. Of course, we can’t forget abut the BlackBerry Classic, which I am not a fan of, but I know many of you melancholic geeks will love.
Like I recently mentioned in a meeting with Verizon’s Ken Muche, this week: “BlackBerry is living on feelings”. And as silly as it may sound, to an extent it’s working out for them.
Keeping it innovative
At the same time, BlackBerry has been known to make very unique devices. The BlackBerry Z10 and Z30 are great, and really adapt to today’s mobile standards. Meanwhile, we have devices like the BlackBerry Passport, which is very weird, but it happens to be an awesome smartphone.
It’s an conflicting concept. BlackBerry is good at innovating and making interesting products, but they are also very dependent on their classic designs.
Give people the apps they want!
OK, so this topic may be a bit conflictive. Amazon allows users to install Android apps on its devices. It could be seen as a bad move because it means developers may be less enticed to make BlackBerry-specific apps, digging BlackBerry deeper into its hole.
At the same time, I also admire that BlackBerry knows people want their app support, and they currently can’t offer all the apps they need. It’s certainly a bold move, and it may entice many users to buy their beloved BlackBerry smartphones.
The company has even partnered with Amazon to bring access to the Amazon App Store! Talk about having an open philosophy on your products, and it comes from a company with a main focus on security.
Don’t lose sight of your main customers
We could say one of BlackBerry’s biggest errors was losing grip of the one market that once couldn’t live without them – enterprise. There was a time when you could simply not see a suit walking down the street with anything other than a BlackBerry.
BlackBerry’s new administration knows this is it’s market – it is enterprise that will keep the company alive, and that is what they are focusing on. BlackBerry is no longer trying to appeal the general consumer, at least for now.
New CEO John Chen has even been spending a good portion of its time reaching out to its most important consumers. The goal is to reassure them that BlackBerry is back on its way up, and it is still the best platform for their businesses. I mean, there is a reason the most powerful president in the world still carries around a BlackBerry.
Know when you have failed
Past BlackBerry executives (and industry executives, in general) have a hard time admitting that their company is failing. Instead of calling BlackBerry what it was, a failing company, they kept painting a picture of a bright future.
CEO John Chen is not afraid of admitting its company is in a rough spot. It is only when you come to terms with reality that you can start making progress. The raising numbers show he is in the right. Don’t treat your company like a winner when it isn’t.