In 2009, BlackBerry controlled half of the smartphone market. Today that number is one percent. What went so wrong?
Losing the Signal is a riveting story of a company that toppled global giants before succumbing to the ruthlessly competitive forces of Silicon Valley. This is not a conventional tale of modern business failure by fraud and greed. The rise and fall of BlackBerry reveals the dangerous speed at which innovators race along the information superhighway.
With unprecedented access to key players, senior executives, directors and competitors, Losing the Signal unveils the remarkable rise of a company that started above a bagel store in Ontario. At the heart of the story is an unlikely partnership between a visionary engineer, Mike Lazaridis, and an abrasive Harvard Business school grad, Jim Balsillie. Together, they engineered a pioneering pocket email device that became the tool of choice for presidents and CEOs. The partnership enjoyed only a brief moment on top of the world, however. At the very moment BlackBerry was ranked the world's fastest growing company internal feuds and chaotic growth crippled the company as it faced its gravest test: Apple and Google's entry in to mobile phones.
Expertly told by acclaimed journalists, Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff, this is an entertaining, whirlwind narrative that goes behind the scenes to reveal one of the most compelling business stories of the new century.
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Traces the inevitable collapse
I read Losing The Signal last week. It suffers from being rushed out (lots of typos, for example), but it accomplishes its primary goal: after you read it, you'll have no doubts as to why RIM collapsed. They were a company that had one good idea and no idea how to follow it up.
Sometimes you'll read a story and think to yourself "if only they'd done this one thing different, they would have survived." That was most definitely not the case with RIM. Their management kept doing amazingly boneheaded things, one after the next. Just one example: at a trade show where Verizon announced they would be investing massively in LTE, one of RIM's co-CEOs (Lazaridis) spent an entire meeting lecturing Verizon's management about why nobody needed 4G.
Interesting but incomplete
The book gets off to a slow beginning while recalling the experiences of both men while they were children. It becomes much more interesting while recalling the growth and fall of the company.
I remember much of this as it unfolded, but the book fills in many details. However, the end is rushed after the two resign. The two years of Heins is given one page, at most, and the year plus of Chen is given even less. The book seems to end on an upbeat note which isn't based in reality.
I would have preferred much more detail of Heins's era, and that of the current Chen.
Excellent candidate glimpse into the failed thought process of Rims management throughout the years.