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I'm an Australian, based in the Washington, DC, area, with extensive experience in the US, UK/Europe and Australia. I have also lectured in IT and Law related topics at King's College, London, and at The Australian National University.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Is BlackBerry's issue technology or people?

There's been plenty of coverage in the media of BlackBerry's quarterly results, which weren't great (see e.g. this article from The Guardian). As expected, there's lots of the usual speculation about whether BlackBerry can ever recover in the marketplace.

My question: is the real issue that BlackBerry faces more one of brand equity and the emotional value people attach to devices than the technology itself? There's been a lot of discussion about the BlackBerry 10 operating system, and I think there's a consensus that it's seen as an advance from BlackBerry 7.

But it's interesting that most of BlackBerry's device sales last quarter were lower-priced, older models running BlackBerry 7.

Is the issue that BlackBerry no longer has the aspirational, high-end appeal that Apple and Samsung can command? A BlackBerry used to be a status symbol, but not so now. People now pay a premium for other devices to be cool.

And is it this emotional involvement that drives upgrades, inspires people to create apps, and is much harder to address than a technology upgrade?

It also might not help that BlackBerry devices are famous for their keyboards, but it's only been in recent weeks that the Q10 device with a physical keyboard and BlackBerry 10 has become readily available.

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