Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Blackberry and Wang

New York Times columnist wrote yesterday about the troubles of Blackberry, comparing the communications device manufacture formerly known as Research in Motion (RIM) to Wang.  Not too long ago, Blackberry was the almost exclusive device of corporate America and the Federal government.  Just watch a Washington-based drama produced five or ten years ago and everyone important is constantly pulling out a Blackberry to check the latest news.  Devices like iPhones were seen as toys that were not appropriate accessories for serious people.  But even though iPhones and equivalent devices like the Android still aren't as good as a Blackberry for email and messaging (I've owned both and have that opinion), the touchscreen smartphones do so many other things well that customers are tolerant of the lesser typing technology and have almost universally switched to Apple and Android leaving Blackberry in tough financial straits. 

Nocera suggests that it was Blackberry's dominance that made it arrogant, or at least blind to the threat to its standing, thereby allowing competitors with different products to surpass the standing-pat leader.  The columnist asserts that this is not unusual in business and points to Wang as a further example.  Before the advent of the PC, nearly every major business and office in America had a Wang word processor.  Wang was very slow to pick up on the desktop revolution and once it did, it didn't do it very well and was left behind, filing bankruptcy in 1992 and being mentioned most often these days in answer to trivia questions.

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