2nd April 2012

Blackberry-maker Research in Motion (RIM) has said it plans to refocus its business back onto corporate customers. The Canadian company made a net loss for the three months to 3 March of $125m (£78m), compared with a profit of $934m a year earlier.

Earlier this year the brand suffered as its email service was knocked out for almost a week thanks to a problem at a data centre in Slough. Alongside the launch of snazzier rivals with Apple's iPhone upgrade, and a spate of negative publicity, RIM stands on a knife edge.

The history of the famous brand

The first BlackBerry device, the 850, was introduced in 1999 as a two-way pager in Munich, Germany. The name BlackBerry was coined by the marketing company Lexicon Branding.

In 2003, the more commonly known smartphone BlackBerry was released – and first made headway in the marketplace by concentrating on email.

Blackberry went through a period of being perennially popular, with sales peaking in 2008. Now its market share has plummeted alongside its share price.

Once-upon-a-time, Blackberry had an army of celebrity fans. Barack Obama was poised to stride into the White House as the first emailing president while celebrities from Jay-Z to Paris Hilton were often papped on theirs.

However, nowadays sleeker, sexier, more powerful handsets such as the iPhone have taken its place. The Blackberry now has the air of a Juicy Couture velour tracksuit – a once trendy accessory for some that is now unfashionable.

The trailblazing mobile phone that gave users instant access to email and moved into the app market is hurtling towards the abyss. In fact, Blackberry in grave danger of following the audio cassette onto the scrapheap of gadget history.

Meanwhile, Apple goes from strength to strength on the back of a chunky cash pile and the success of the all-singing iPhone.

Blackberry's decline serves as a reminder of how those failing to innovate successfully can lead to sinking profits – alongside the danger of bad press.

What about other companies in alternative industries who, through poor publicity or a failure to innovate – saw their share price suffer?

Royal Mail

The British stalwart decided it wore a stuffy crown as the millennium approached, and chose a makeover. But what? A decade ago it decided to take on a new identity, known as ‘Consignia'. Yes, I've no idea why either.

Sixteen months later, with its plans to push into overseas markets in tatters, and the new name a laughing stock, Consignia was consigned to the history books – and Royal Mail bosses pegged their hopes on the £2m rebranding being forgotten.

Sunny Delight

This brand is never to be forgotten, with its vivid colour and super-sweet taste. It launched in 1998, and immediately became popular, with sales amounting to £160m.

However, its path was soon blocked by consumer organisation the Food Commission launching a campaign. It complaining it was bad for children; and then it emerged that one child in Wales had turned yellow after drinking 1.5 litres of Sunny Delight.

The child's condition, caused by the additive beta-carotene, emerged just as Sunny Delight was running an advertising campaign that involved a pair of snowmen turning orange – its popularity sank, and sales halved by 2003. By last year, sales were just pounds 6.8m.


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1 thought on “Blackberry”

  1. Noo 2 Economics says:

    Hallo Simon,

    Would you agree it can also be extrapolated from these charts that the M4 lending TREND follows M1 money quite closely and may be used as a confirmation of M1 growth when predicting future GDP growth? Although M4 lending may have been negative since mid 2009 it has moved up and down with real M1 only on a less volatile scale.

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