Team Blackberry getting crushed by the Cult of Mac

apple storeBefore I went into real estate, I was in the newspaper business. I remember a meeting with my sales director when the newspapers were first starting to realize that the internet, and demographics (not to mention poor customer satisfaction) were about to severely impact our business. “It’s bad, but it wont get any worse than this”, he said.

It did, of course.

We all know that 2011 was a terrible year for Rim. I think I speak for all of us in Waterloo Region when I say I hope Rim can turn it around this year. There was a story in the Financial Post speculating that a corporate shakeup at Rim might see co-founders Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie relinquish their titles as co-chairmen of the board. Personally, although Mike and Jim have done a fabulous job creating and growing Blackberry, I think new leadership might be a great idea. A lot of people think the same way apparently – stock prices rose more than 5% on the news.

Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie were named The Canadian Press business newsmakers of the year. This title is ignoble. Winnipeg Free Press business editor Steve Pona said “This pair blissfully missed or ignored all of the warning signs of change, turning this Canadian tech success story into a Canadian tragedy.”

That’s harsh.

The apple and the blackberry 

Research firm Strategy Analytics forecast RIM’s share of the U.S. smartphone market to fall to 12% this year, a sharp drop from 2007, when RIM had a 44% share. By comparison, Apple, which just started selling smartphones in 2007, is expected to grab a 24% U.S. market share this year.

Closer to home, there’s another Apple Store rumored to be opening soon (fall of 2012) in London Ontario. It will be Canada’s 29th Apple Store.

Last month there was a wonderful article about “the cult of Mac” and “Team Blackberry”. It pointed out that we have personal relationships with our smartphones and tribal affiliations which in some cases run deeper than their affiliations with sports teams, political ideologies or other factors.

Our handset is our identity.

The article argued that many Canadians feel patriotic about RIM and Blackberry and want to support the home team. However, because of this relationship, when devices were delayed, software didn’t work and the company’s network went down, it wasn’t just that the company was underperforming. The members of Team BlackBerry, in many cases, felt personally betrayed by the heads of their community.

Perhaps that’s why stock prices rose by 5% with the rumor of our business newsmakers of the year Mike Lazaridis and Jim Basillie, were relinquishing the throne.

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