News about Blackberry just keeps getting worse. Earlier the company announced a buy out deal and now the company reports that it lost a billion dollars in three months.
What does the fall of the once mighty Blackberry say about smartphones in the business world? You can argue about technology, but there are points to be made on both sides of that conversation. Blackberry was great at one thing: email. And for business users that was hugely important. Apple’s iPhone seemed better at photos and music. That explain why Blackberry didn’t see a threat initially, but it doesn’t explain its fall from grace. It’s still great at email and has the beloved keyboard so many smartphone users miss.
Business users migrated toward iPhone and Droids not because of a rational business decision or even an ‘enterprise’ decision. They did it because it offered more tools that could choose from to make their lives easier. Like picking out the kinds of shoes they wear, pens they use and cars they drive, people make highly individual decisions. It’s only with technology that we try to get everyone on the same system. Business users began demanding a change not so much for the phones themselves, but the app choices they provide.
Navigation systems, calendars, organizations tools, web access, event the ability to take a photo and email it — all of these choices were based on business efficiency. As technologies mature, they become more personalized. Think about cars. There are very few business that would rigidly dictate the make and style of a vehicle. Personal choice is, more or less a given.
So what can we learn from Blackberry’s downfall? It’s a distinctly non-technology lesson. Given the choice between higher performance and adaptability, people will choose the later. In other words, given a choice, people will choose more choices.