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Why BlackBerry Is Finished (or, Why the Best Product Doesn't Always Win)

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When I saw the new BackBerry, I missed my old one. I missed how easy it made email, just when that was starting to really matter to me.  I watched the recent launch and saw them do what they always do - release a great technical product that speaks well to the needs of their target audience - the IT manager.

The problem is the IT manager is no longer the right audience! When CEO's started demanding that IT make their iPhone work, BlackBerry server be dammed, the user revolution commenced. So, BlackBerry’s enhancements around security and separate business and personal identities are great, but they are already handled by apps!

For instance, ShoreTel Mobility lets you use your office phone number to make a call from any smart phone, just like you are in the office.  It offers the same caller ID, one-click conference calls, and secure (not AOL) corporate IM to boot.  Why would I give up my iPhone if I already have all that? Heck, it even switches between WiFi and 4 LTE without having to bug IT!

For years, BlackBerry still survived because dedicated business users thought it was more reliable.   When that security blanket evaporated with last year’s outages, the user revolution could no longer be held back.

So, the first to market does not always win. Sometimes, by the time you realize how to fix what's broken, you wake up and realize you have been talking to the wrong people. A great lesson for all manufacturers is that in the Internet age where we are constantly being evaluated, you can't just make sure the person who signed for your product is happy.   You need to make sure the people actually using it are raving fans.

Viva la revolution!