Former Blackberry CEO Admits iPhones Killed His Company

Former BlackBerry CEO Jim Balsillie has admitted that the competition in form of Apple’s iPhone killed the once-smartphone giant. While the company retorted to the pressure with its own touchscreen phones, it just wasn’t enough.

“It was difficult. It was a real shock to the company,” Balsillie said of the iPhone’s arrival in 2007. For a while, the iPhone actually managed to increase sales of the BlackBerry smartphones, but soon enough it was clear that the iPhone was a force to be reckoned with.

In the face of competition, the company forced out its own touchscreen smartphone with a clickable display, the BlackBerry Storm which was a lackluster product with horrific consequences. “With Storm we tried to do too much. It was a touch display, it was a clickable display, it had new applications, and it was all done in an incredibly short period of time and it blew up on us.”

The outcome was an unheard-of, “100 percent return rate”. “We had to stick to the low end.”

But it wasn’t only the company’s hardware which was falling behind either. Software-wise too, it had difficulty making the necessary moves in time, which was why the company’s BBM service arrived on Android and iOS only in 2013, long after companies such as Whatsapp had taken a massive lead.

Despite these events, Balsillie maintains that his team did its best to keep the company afloat. As he says: “There’s a lot of punditry out there. If it was so easy to create a $20 billion company, everyone would do it.”

And yes, despite all the history, he still uses his BlackBerry Bold. “I also still use my PlayBook.”


  • Fahad

    “Former BlackBerry CEO Jim Balsillie has admitted that the competition in
    form of Apple’s iPhone killed the once-smartphone joint.”

    If I’m not wrong, I think you intended to write “giant” not “joint”. We have heard “shawarma joint (in The Avengers)”, “Burger Joint, etc.” but never heard “smartphone joint” before :D

    Unless you meant Blackberry Smartphones were sold like food items :P

  • Fandil Mastoor

    And yes, despite all the history, he still uses his BlackBerry Bold. “I also still use my PlayBook.”

    He’s probably the only one on planet Earth who does this? I am sure even his children use iPhone.

    It is not easy to build a $20Bn firm, but the point is that its not that easy to destroy that much value either. That’s what the incompetent management did.

    • Zawyar Ur Rehman

      Lol, you are terribly wrong there. The blackberry, albeit in demise, is still the most secure type of phone. It is still used by business professionals who want to keep sensitive docs safe as blackberry OS is relatively safe. even obama uses a blackberry for receiving super sensitive data on the go.

      • Dr. Aamir Liaquat Hussain

        why they are launching android based phone by the end of this year
        bb slider with android os

  • Zawyar Ur Rehman

    Apple truly made a godzilla of mobile phones with the iphone. But as the saying goes, what goes up, must come down. Hence soon we may see the end of iphone with some other, better player.

    • Dr. Aamir Liaquat Hussain

      yeah like xiaomi

      • Imran Jabbar

        Delete doctor from your name. your degree proved to be fake from Axact :P

        • Dr. Aamir Liaquat Hussain

          My doctorate is not from exactgate

  • Kashif

    regardless if Blackberry is a secure phone or not. Their management did not innovate with the changing market demaand. iPhone was a disruptive technology which offer a unique value proposition. BB was asleep while the smartphone movement was on the rise thinking that they can retain their elite customer base. Google made the smart move in this regard and instead of directly competing with iPhone hardware they launched compete with software and launched Andriod. Google knew its strengths and weaknesses well. They had no experience in hardware but they can make great software. BB already had a huge customer base they can easily join the movement by opening up their OS for vendor, launching up market place for apps for developers to join in and launching and promoting BB messenger alot earlier.

    • Dr. Aamir Liaquat Hussain

      this year blackberry going to launch android phone

    • Mustafa

      Google BOUGHT Andriod*

  • Redz

    I think the basic thing that bb pulled downwards was its software with limited apps and options.
    Iphone is although trying to compete andriod in software end but still it is far behind.
    Right now i thing price and status symbol is the key factor of iphone’s succes.