1. mmcpher's Avatar
    Over the last few months I've had the opportunity to get in on the ground floor with two storied tech companies as they each launched major initiatives -- BB'S new BB10 (Z10 so far for me) and Microsoft's Surface (Surface Pro) . Scale necessarily makes this an imperfect exercise but I think there are legitimate comparisons that can be drawn. Both are trying to reach new audiences,as the world around them moves relentlessly to a touch and mobile paradigm, without overly alienating their longstanding and loyal base. BlackBerry has had to manage this under profound (if self induced) duress. Microsoft, notwithstanding the Apple and Android incursions, is still a vast and sprawling powerhouse with the resources that accompany that standing (it doesn't escape my notice that Bill Gates has regained his status as the world's richest individual).

    Both companies have had to struggle forward under the constant barrage from their competitors, but BlackBerry has had everything it is at risk. The critical developers, and in the US at least, the carriers as well, competing with each other to curry for most favor with the market leaders (Microsoft doesn't enjoy a dominant position as a tablet maker), often through demonstrating their willingness and enthusiasm to step on BlackBerry's head in the scrum.

    So now comes the Z10 and Q10 -- new hardware, new UI, new guts. Some days I login here and it seems that all there is are bugs and glitches everywhere. But its been a massive launch, a massive amount of new users running new devices with new OS's and with 3rd Party apps also running on a new platform for the first time. IMHO it has gone remarkably well. We each harbor our pet peeves; we each want our often idiosyncratic requests prioritized and addressed ASAP. We are not shy in documenting and amplifying and repeating our grievances. But in saner moments I take a step back and see the significant progress on the objectively most critical issues.

    I bought the Z10 Battery Bundle because of my initial concerns about battery life. Now, after a succession of OS builds, the Bundle hasn't seen daylight in a week, as it sits idling in my briefcase (I will have to remind myself to recharge it).

    My initial issues with certain email clients have been resolved and my contacts have settled into dependable stability. All of this has been harder and taken more effort than it would in a perfect or laboratory conditions world. But no company, particularly under these circumstances, could have such luxury. It hasn't happened by accident. BlackBerry has listened and responded and made some tough but sound allocations of its stressed resources.

    Even with the developers (long an untreated thorn in BlackBerry's side) I've seen surprising and continual improvements. Overall, my BB10 apps have worked better (and I've encountered less junk apps) than ever before. Maybe I've been lucky, but I've also had individualized responses from BlackBerry than ever before. It hasn't always been immediate and optimal but they've had the institutional courtesy to apologize for the delay and have credibly cited the vast activity that all this forward movement has spurred.

    I really like my Surface Pro. Microsoft has done a great job of updating the firmware on a monthly basis. But for an individual user, trying to get their attention is like standing at a railside snapping your fingers as a freight train rumbles by. It makes no discernable difference to Microsoft that they now have an ignored mass of enthusiastic quasi-beta testers wanting to help make their products better, people are are using their devices not necessarily as they were conceived and designed, but I'm the endlessly multivariate ways in which people actually use them. Microsoft has enough resources and market- muscle to grind it's way forward. The Surface is steadily improving also. But it is a brute-force process and reflects that company's DNA rather than the collective wishes and endless creativity of its loyal customers.

    I don't suggest BlackBerry has achieved anywhere near perfect execution or flawless forecasting and judgment. BB10 is a remarkable work in progress made possible by the remarkable work of its people and I genuinely appreciate their efforts, commitment and spirit.
    Last edited by mmcpher; 05-19-13 at 11:52 PM.
    05-19-13 11:41 PM
  2. Thunderbuck's Avatar
    I think both Microsoft and BlackBerry have been engaged in huge transitions. Personally, I think BlackBerry has been more agile (maybe out of sheer necessity, given its size).

    I think BlackBerry has an excellent chance to succeed. They've created a new platform with some very interesting usability ideas. Microsoft, OTOH, built a worthwhile tablet OS but alienated a huge chunk of its customer base by forcing traditional PC users into a tablet-UI paradigm for no particularly good reason.

    Microsoft may be too big for its own good.
    05-19-13 11:55 PM
  3. eddy_berry's Avatar
    Great write up. I agree and it is nice to hear about the surface tablets. I wish BlackBerry had the resources a year ago to keep the PlayBook going in that direction, but alas, it was not an easy endeavour.
    05-19-13 11:59 PM
  4. southlander's Avatar
    Yeah I am not sure why but something in the back of my mind tells me BlackBerry and Microsoft's futures in mobile are intertwined. I just have a feeling they'll need to work more closely at some point to combat Google and apple. Especially Google.

    Posted via BlackBerry 10
    05-21-13 01:12 AM

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