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10-14-19 06:05 PM
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  1. Troy Tiscareno's Avatar


    I went back and found the sales numbers to help complete my chart, though the older numbers aren't perfect as they seem to be based on BB's fiscal year rather than the calendar year, but I'm not looking to achieve perfect accuracy, but rather, to give folks some idea of where BB has been and where we are today, as it seems that a lot of people aren't aware much of this. I've also added in some significant development points along the way to help give context.

    Note that the numbers aren't broken out by BBOS/BB10/Android, but I did note the approximate time of release of each of those on the chart. It should also be noted that BB pushed hard into developing markets in 2008 with a low-cost model called Gemini (Curve 8520), which resulted in a high volume of unit sales in India, Indonesia, Nigeria, South America, and Malaysia, among others. These phones had very little margin, but they did generate monthly Service Access Fees (SAFs), which was far more important to BB. However, these sales caused big numeric growth in unit sales right at the time that sales in North America and Europe were peaking, which helped to hide the resulting drop in sales for a couple of years. Insiders, of course, were aware of what was happening, which is why QNX was ultimately purchased in 2010 with plans to release a "BBX" ("BlackBerry+QNX") operating system. But BBX was someone else's trademark, and BB was forced to change the name to BB10.

    By seeing these numbers graphically, it might help people who aren't familiar with the BB story to understand the situation that BB phones find themselves in today in a way that is easy to digest.

    I must note that the 2017 and 2018 numbers are "unofficial" as BBMo does not release figures, though they come from TCL insiders, and the 2019 number is my estimate based on those "unofficial" numbers for the first half of 2019.
    Last edited by Troy Tiscareno; 10-10-19 at 01:42 AM.
    10-10-19 01:14 AM
  2. ppeters914's Avatar
    Sobering.... sigh....
    10-10-19 02:16 AM
  3. Platinum_2's Avatar
    That pretty much sums it up.
    10-10-19 07:13 AM
  4. Dunt Dunt Dunt's Avatar
    Yeah the thing it doesn't show too is the overall growth of the smartphone market during those years... While BlackBerry was growing a little, the overall market was growing by leaps and bounds.

    You look at a graph of the stock prices... shareholders knew in 2008 that BlackBerry was in BIG trouble. The high in June 2008 was almost $150 a share, but by the end of the year it had lost almost 75% of it's value. It recovered slightly, until late 2011 when BB10 got delayed and concerns really started to show... Thor had no choice in 2013 to lauch a product that wasn't ready...

    Small company that hit it big with pagers and early email phones.... one hit wonder.
    Laura Knotek likes this.
    10-10-19 07:42 AM
  5. Chuck Finley69's Avatar
    Yeah the thing it doesn't show too is the overall growth of the smartphone market during those years... While BlackBerry was growing a little, the overall market was growing by leaps and bounds.

    You look at a graph of the stock prices... shareholders knew in 2008 that BlackBerry was in BIG trouble. The high in June 2008 was almost $150 a share, but by the end of the year it had lost almost 75% of it's value. It recovered slightly, until late 2011 when BB10 got delayed and concerns really started to show... Thor had no choice in 2013 to lauch a product that wasn't ready...

    Small company that hit it big with pagers and early email phones.... one hit wonder.
    In all fairness the entire market ended hugely down at end of 2008 since on 9/15/2008 Lehman Brothers started the slide which tanked everything kicking off the Great Recession back then.

    Supposedly, Lehman didn’t pay their BlackBerry outstanding balance.
    10-10-19 07:52 AM
  6. conite's Avatar

    Small company that hit it big with pagers and early email phones.... one hit wonder.
    The wonder was BIS SAF revenue.

    That's what made the company, and what lead to its downfall.

    Everything else they ever did was just window dressing.

    What we have today is a much smaller, completely different, totally re-imagined company that has little to do with its past (thankfully).
    10-10-19 08:07 AM
  7. Dunt Dunt Dunt's Avatar
    In all fairness the entire market ended hugely down at end of 2008 since on 9/15/2008 Lehman Brothers started the slide which tanked everything kicking off the Great Recession back then.

    Supposedly, Lehman didn’t pay their BlackBerry outstanding balance.
    Your right.... of course.

    Even Apple fell that Fall.... by today's valuations from a high of $25 that summer to a low of $13 that winter. The reality is BlackBerry was way overvalued to begin with and was due for an adjustment.

    But I remember that year when the improved iPhone 3G hit the market (outsold BlackBerry and left them in the dust), the first Android phone had shown up, with many others about to hit the market..... and we BlackBerry users got the STORM . A lot of people didn't think BlackBerry had much of a chance at that point. I know the next year was when most my BBM contacts left. So as Troy said, that graph doesn't really show that BlackBerry's declines started a lot sooner than the decline in actual sales.
    Laura Knotek likes this.
    10-10-19 08:20 AM
  8. Bbnivende's Avatar
    The corporate market was slower to react than the consumer market. We were still mainly using our phones for secure emailing in 2012 . Many Enterprise units were using BES. Entropy, BlackBerry units that were old needed to be replaced.


    The fall of BackBerry matches the popularity of PKB phones.
    Last edited by Bbnivende; 10-10-19 at 10:23 AM.
    10-10-19 08:43 AM
  9. PantherBlitz's Avatar
    Yeah the thing it doesn't show too is the overall growth of the smartphone market during those years... While BlackBerry was growing a little, the overall market was growing by leaps and bounds.
    So true.
    One theme around here is that BlackBerry needs to appeal to their traditional users to win them back ... however most smartphone users today have never used a BlackBerry. At its peak there barely was a smartphone market. Individuals and small enterprise users were dual-carrying flip phones with PDAs like the Palm and Handspring. The iPhone set off a revolution that BlackBerry had no answer for until it was too late.
    10-10-19 02:03 PM
  10. ppeters914's Avatar
    So true.
    One theme around here is that BlackBerry needs to appeal to their traditional users to win them back ... however most smartphone users today have never used a BlackBerry. At its peak there barely was a smartphone market. Individuals and small enterprise users were dual-carrying flip phones with PDAs like the Palm and Handspring. The iPhone set off a revolution that BlackBerry had no answer for until it was too late.
    Yup.
    Laura Knotek likes this.
    10-10-19 02:28 PM
  11. Troy Tiscareno's Avatar
    The corporate market was slower to react than the consumer market. We were still mainly using our phones for secure emailing in 2012 .
    Actually, the single biggest "push" for enterprise allowing something other than issued BBs was the release of the iPad. I remember doing corporate work around that time and within a month or two of its release, I was seeing (personally owned) iPads all over in the corporate world, often in the hands of directors and executives, where they were a status symbol. That created a ton of pressure to get them on the company's network, and if you can support iOS on the iPad, then you can support iPhones too. Companies were mostly able to push back against the iPhone early adopters, but the iPad, coupled with the rapid expansion of the iPhone with the release of the 3Gs, created pressure that couldn't be ignored, and by then, C-suite officers were getting iPhones and ordering their IT departments to figure out a corporate solution. I remember the tech press was reporting that 2/3 of the Fortune 500 had either implemented BYOD or had trials underway.

    Certainly some companies moved more slowly, and kept BBOS around much longer, but Mike has mentioned in interviews that he was shocked at how quickly they were losing enterprise business, when he assumed that the iPhone was a consumer device that wouldn't have much impact on the corporate world.
    10-10-19 02:56 PM
  12. Dunt Dunt Dunt's Avatar
    Actually, the single biggest "push" for enterprise allowing something other than issued BBs was the release of the iPad. I remember doing corporate work around that time and within a month or two of its release, I was seeing (personally owned) iPads all over in the corporate world, often in the hands of directors and executives, where they were a status symbol. That created a ton of pressure to get them on the company's network, and if you can support iOS on the iPad, then you can support iPhones too. Companies were mostly able to push back against the iPhone early adopters, but the iPad, coupled with the rapid expansion of the iPhone with the release of the 3Gs, created pressure that couldn't be ignored, and by then, C-suite officers were getting iPhones and ordering their IT departments to figure out a corporate solution. I remember the tech press was reporting that 2/3 of the Fortune 500 had either implemented BYOD or had trials underway.

    Certainly some companies moved more slowly, and kept BBOS around much longer, but Mike has mentioned in interviews that he was shocked at how quickly they were losing enterprise business, when he assumed that the iPhone was a consumer device that wouldn't have much impact on the corporate world.
    Think that's why they rushed the PlayBook out.... but it was a companion device.
    10-10-19 03:20 PM
  13. PantherBlitz's Avatar
    Think that's why they rushed the PlayBook out.... but it was a companion device.
    I think that they rushed the PlayBook out because at the time pundits were predicting that tablets would replace the PC as the computing device of choice. If they were correct (spoiler alert: they weren't) then it would have made sense to be an early mover.
    10-10-19 03:44 PM
  14. Bbnivende's Avatar
    The failure of the Playbook demonstrated that BlackBerry's native app strategy was never going to work.

    Only here on CB did folks rave about the Bridge and the benefits of HDMI hook ups.

    I was an idiot that purchased a Playbook but in my defence, I only paid $199 cdn.
    pedrogari and cribble2k like this.
    10-10-19 03:44 PM
  15. TgeekB's Avatar
    But if people just had a chance today to use a PKB BlackBerry phone they would sell billions!
    10-10-19 04:32 PM
  16. bb10adopter111's Avatar
    The continued growth post 2007 also explains why BlackBerry thought they might succeed launching BB10. They were experiencing steady growth even after the launch of the iPhone and Android.

    Also, back in 2007-11 there were still IT leaders saying that only BlackBerry was going to be supported on their corporate networks.

    In retrospect, it seems obvious that BB10 never had a chance, but there was in fact data suggesting they might gain a foothold at the time.
    10-10-19 04:39 PM
  17. Troy Tiscareno's Avatar
    When Mike was looking to buy QNX, he had drunk the Dan Dodge Kool-Aid and believed that development of a new phone OS based on QNX would go quickly, and they'd be releasing a phone by the end of 2011, which obviously didn't come close to happening. But even in that 2-year interim, the smartphone market had changed radically and companies that were swearing allegiance to BB a year earlier were rolling out iPhones.

    BB/BB-Branded Phone Sales, by Year, 2006-Present-dsc01194.jpg
    Google's "Sooner" Android launch phone prototype

    BB/BB-Branded Phone Sales, by Year, 2006-Present-htc_dream_orange_fr.jpg
    Google's "Dream" Android launch phone prototype


    As I've said before, in order to have any real chance, BB would have needed to do what Google did, which is react IMMEDIATELY to the iPhone announcement by making a new, modern OS the company's top priority. Google had a meeting the next day and canceled their BB-styled phone "Sooner" and through all resources at the more advanced "Dream", which became the T-Mobile G1 in the US. BB had concerns about the iPhone, but they completely set them aside for more than a year to focus on other things, such as the Storm. It took 3 years to even START the new OS program, and by then, Google was gaining ground so fast that they had no real chance. At that point, even Microsoft, the #3 ecosystem, didn't stand a chance.
    Laura Knotek likes this.
    10-10-19 05:07 PM
  18. danfrancisco's Avatar
    When Mike was looking to buy QNX, he had drunk the Dan Dodge Kool-Aid and believed that development of a new phone OS based on QNX would go quickly, and they'd be releasing a phone by the end of 2011, which obviously didn't come close to happening. But even in that 2-year interim, the smartphone market had changed radically and companies that were swearing allegiance to BB a year earlier were rolling out iPhones.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Google's "Sooner" Android launch phone prototype

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Google's "Dream" Android launch phone prototype


    As I've said before, in order to have any real chance, BB would have needed to do what Google did, which is react IMMEDIATELY to the iPhone announcement by making a new, modern OS the company's top priority. Google had a meeting the next day and canceled their BB-styled phone "Sooner" and through all resources at the more advanced "Dream", which became the T-Mobile G1 in the US. BB had concerns about the iPhone, but they completely set them aside for more than a year to focus on other things, such as the Storm. It took 3 years to even START the new OS program, and by then, Google was gaining ground so fast that they had no real chance. At that point, even Microsoft, the #3 ecosystem, didn't stand a chance.
    This is fascinating stuff. I would love to have a "Sooner" with 2020 specs! Check out that pocketable form factor!
    10-10-19 05:58 PM
  19. danfrancisco's Avatar
    The wonder was BIS SAF revenue.

    That's what made the company, and what lead to its downfall.
    I've never looked at it this way but it makes a lot of sense when you think about it. At its core, BlackBerry has always been a software company first and their handsets became a gateway drug to that software.
    10-10-19 06:01 PM
  20. Chuck Finley69's Avatar
    Think that's why they rushed the PlayBook out.... but it was a companion device.
    Think part of the companion device flawed strategy was to keep people using BIS or BES tethered instead of simply giving mobile data access to keep selling BBOS phones.
    Laura Knotek likes this.
    10-10-19 06:32 PM
  21. Bbnivende's Avatar
    The continued growth post 2007 also explains why BlackBerry thought they might succeed launching BB10. They were experiencing steady growth even after the launch of the iPhone and Android.

    Also, back in 2007-11 there were still IT leaders saying that only BlackBerry was going to be supported on their corporate networks.

    In retrospect, it seems obvious that BB10 never had a chance, but there was in fact data suggesting they might gain a foothold at the time.
    There were enough enterprise users in 2011 to support a brand and a UEM but not a smartphone ecosystem.
    10-10-19 06:38 PM
  22. bb10adopter111's Avatar
    There were enough enterprise users in 2011 to support a brand and a UEM but not a smartphone ecosystem.
    Agreed.

    ========== Composed and edited on the exceptional BlackBerry VKB on my trusty Z10. Any typographic errors, misspells, or grammatical errors are likely due to my inattention and lack of interest in word-perfect communications on an Internet tech fan forum.
    10-10-19 07:32 PM
  23. i_plod_an_dr_void's Avatar
    Yup.[IMG=350x350]https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20191010/d0d990108fc058842fe7853a786706da.jpg[/url]
    Not true, there were tons of Kids using blackberry's in High Schools who are now in their 20's and 30's. I'm guessing they were hand-me downs from their executive parents. The kids loved them for their texting awesomeness, and probably for typing under the desk without having to look at the keys.
    10-11-19 01:49 AM
  24. i_plod_an_dr_void's Avatar
    The failure of the Playbook demonstrated that BlackBerry's native app strategy was never going to work.

    Only here on CB did folks rave about the Bridge and the benefits of HDMI hook ups.

    I was an idiot that purchased a Playbook but in my defence, I only paid $199 cdn.
    Comparable Android tablets at the time were mostly a terrible joke . Ipad was okay, but there was some stuff that it was missing, which i have since forgotten, but remembered it then when looking at them all at the time. Yes the HDMI was awesome at the time,as was the display and audio.
    10-11-19 01:52 AM
  25. Bbnivende's Avatar
    Yes the side boarding of apps and checker boarding browser were awesome.

    I did like the OS though . Better than BB10 in some ways. It was ok for about a year or so.

    I was at a party , Christmas 2012, and the host was giving away a Playbook as a prize... but the winner did not collect her prize.
    10-11-19 02:04 AM
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