Blackberry has confirmed it is to stop making phone handsets after 14 years, as Apple and Samsung touchscreen smartphones dominate the market.
I remember when they were the work phone of choice and the first thing you did when you received a new one was to post your BBM pin on social media (well, Facebook) so you could message with friends, long before Whatsapp hit the scene. It’s really not that long ago.
It is only six years since a massive row over the offshore encryption of those BBMs nearly saw the Blackberry banned in the UAE, Saudi Arabia as the governments demanded access to monitor messages, with ripple effects across the region and into India and Indonesia. RIM, Blackberry’s makers, had already reached such agreements with China and Russia and were rumoured to have with the US and UK.
As I wrote then in MEED, it was a “flurry of brinkmanship, misinformation and smoke and mirrors” before an eleventh-hour agreement was reached in a “damaging month for all concerned”. The rot has, sadly, been setting in for many years. Even the BBM app RIM opened up to other smartphones couldn’t save it.
The Blackberry is dead. Long live the iPhone.
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