BlackBerry’s demise is a warning

BlackBerry’s selling point was email on the go. Top executives hungered for their “crackberries” and that allowed the company to charge premium prices. The addiction propelled it to an $80 billion market capitalisation in 2008. Yet iPhones had already hit the market. With a more intuitive operating system and a vast number of apps, users started switching and didn’t stop.

Makers of early digital organizers, GPS devices and video cameras were likewise all gutted by rival gadgets that leapfrogged them. Wireless-speaker specialist Sonos, for one, has learned the lesson: It now embeds virtual-assistant technology from And TV streaming hardware outfit Roku has moved into content. They have their work cut out to stay in front.

BlackBerry’s lesson is that when cult gadgets start losing their edge, it’s hard to pull out of the descent.

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