Losing the Signal: The inside story of how Apple’s revolutionary iPhone crippled BlackBerry

“Mike Lazaridis was home on his treadmill when he saw the televised report about Apple Inc.’s newest product. Research In Motion’s founder soon forgot about exercise that day in January 2007,” Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff report for The Wall Street Journal. “There was Steve Jobs on a San Francisco stage waving a small glass object, downloading music, videos and maps from the Internet onto a device he called the iPhone.”

“‘How did they do that?’ Mr. Lazaridis wondered. His curiosity turned to disbelief when Stanley Sigman, the chief executive of Cingular Wireless joined Mr. Jobs to announce a multiyear contract with Apple to sell iPhones,” McNish and Sean Silcoff report. “What was Cingular’s parent AT&T Inc. thinking? ‘It’s going to collapse the network,’ Mr. Lazaridis thought.”

“The next day Mr. Lazaridis grabbed his co-CEO Jim Balsillie at the office,” McNish and Sean Silcoff report. “‘These guys are really, really good,’ Mr. Lazaridis replied. ‘This is different.’ ‘It’s OK — we’ll be fine,’ Mr. Balsillie responded. RIM’s chiefs didn’t give much additional thought to Apple’s iPhone for months.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Mmm, delicious! Why stop at one little piece when you can have an entire schadenfreude cake?

We can’t wait to plow through this one: Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of BlackBerry by Jacquie McNish

We can just imagine DCW’s half-CEOs staring blankly at each other with mouths agape hoping for a answer that never came. Amateur Hour, indeed.

Related articles:
Shares of beleaguered BlackBerry pop on rumors of Apple buyout – May 13, 2015
Beleaguered Blackberry gets caught tweeting from an Apple iPhone – January 13, 2015
Beleaguered BlackBerry: We’re not about phones anymore – September 12, 2014
Ousted half-CEO Lazaridis to step down from beleaguered BlackBerry board on May 1 – March 28, 2013
Former RIM half-CEO Jim Balsillie dumps all BlackBerry shares – February 14, 2013
Beleaguered RIM’s half-CEO lying; BlackBerry 10 OS is a failure that won’t be able to compete, source says – December 22, 2011
RIM’s half-CEO Lazaridis walks out of BBC interview – April 13, 2011


  1. My relationship with Blackberry ended before it began: I said to my boss, “if that thing is on, I’m getting paid for my time.” I never had a Blackberry.

    In constrast, I knew what Apple could do because of the iPod. When my Razor phone broke, all it took was to put the iPhone in my hands. The iPhone (still) saves me 3-4 hours a week. (THAT’S HUGE) After that the iPad, the iMac, Apple TV and now the Watch. No other consumer facing company comes close.

  2. ‘It’s OK — we’ll be fine,’ — the next day (!) after the iPhone announcement reminds me of Francesco Schettino, Costa Concordia. Schettino altered the ship’s normal route, waited one hour after the fatal accident. The “we’ll be fine” attitude meant those at the Captain’s table had no trouble getting aboard a lifeboat. CEO’s never miss their lifeboats.

    1. “CEO never miss their lifeboats….”

      Tell me about it … Lived through the worst kind ….
      Not only they dont miss the lifeboat… They do it at others expense !

  3. The day that Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone, it was clear that this was going to be very bad for Research in Motion’s stock, and that investing in Apple was clearly going to pay off. The next day I phoned my broker and sold all my 100 shares of RIM, and bought 100 of Apple, to add to my holding. The joint leadership of RIM, (now Blackberry) basically ignored the whole event, even though any fool who watched Mr. Jobs on stage could plainly see a revolution was being launched, that would indeed change the world. The amazing thing was that it took a while for RIM’s stock price to drop to where it belonged.

  4. At least there was (still sort of is) the Blackberry. I liked there being competition in the emerging smart phone market. It’s a shame they then sat on their hands and stalled on further worthwhile innovations. The bypass highway came through and left them off to the side as just a little town the tech user community forgot.

    1. Ubuntu has a phone OS. Phones using their OS will go on sale in China and Europe, later the U.S. Maybe Blackberry will consider using Ubuntu’s phone OS, at this point they have nothing to lose. 🖖😀⌚️

    2. I don’t get MDN’s schadenfreude take. When it comes to outright thieves Google or Samsung I get it and relish it as much as MDN, but I never had anything more than pity for RIM. Because of their dependance on security as a selling point, they couldn’t adopt Android like almost every other phone manufacturer did and because having two half-CEOs that were both half-wits, made a long series of poor decisions that led them from a company with a market cap of over $83B to one with $5.5B.

      BBRY only deserves pity along with a bit of admiration for staying the course without selling out.

  5. What is absolutely stunning is that BB still didn’t “get it” even after they saw the iPhone. Read these quotes:

    “The iPhone’s popularity with consumers was illogical to rivals such as RIM”

    “By all rights the product should have failed, but it did not,” said David Yach, RIM’s chief technology officer.”

    “To Mr. Yach and other senior RIM executives, Apple changed the competitive landscape by shifting the raison d’être of smartphones from something that was functional to a product that was beautiful.”

    “Only Mr. Lazaridis didn’t regard Storm as a failure. To him, it was RIM’s first crack at a new technology. When he looked at Storm, Mr. Lazaridis saw its technical achievements”

    “Conservation didn’t matter. Battery life didn’t matter. Cost didn’t matter. That’s their genius. ”

    “That’s their genius?” Are you kidding me?

    And yes, you can get to the article if you search it with Google search.

  6. Sadly I don’t have a subscription to the WSJ so I wasn’t able to read the article, which i’d have loved to do, but if you recall, Apple Announced the iPhone many months before the iPhone went on sale. This was because it was going through FCC testing and word would have gotten out anyway.

    There was something I did read a few years ago about the reaction of one RIM engineer when he finally got his hands on one and was finally able to study it. His reaction was “Holy Shit! They put a whole computer in there!” The quote may not be exact, but if it isn’t, it’s really, really close.

    When the iPhone started shipping, the only thing RIM could do was hope and pray that the lack of a physical keyboard would keep sales low because they didn’t have the expertise in computer design to compete. Their only real advantage was in security, and security was not a large concern on consumer’s minds at the time and at last check, about a year ago, Apple had better security than BBRY.

  7. Yeah, I was working for Nokia at the time the iPhone came out and they pooh-poohed it completely for a couple of years. By then it was too late. Like everyone else they considered it a cellular phone with internet capabilities, not a portable computer that you can use as a phone. Whole new product category they could not respond to before it was too late.

  8. You know your employer is brain dead when the CEO/VPs act like BB guys did in ignoring all early intelligence about competitors.

    You know then and there it is time to find a new job … with a company that keeps up with competitive intelligence issues.

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