iPhone sales surpass estimates while BlackBerry gets closer to privatization
When the iPhone hit shelves in 2007, its main competitor in the smartphone market was not Samsung or LG, it was BlackBerry. Until the iPhone redefined handsets, the BlackBerry was king. Now, it seems that BlackBerry may go extinct while Apple excels. This week, Apple reported record breaking sales of the iPhone while BlackBerry took steps toward privatization.
BlackBerry has agreed to go private after receiving a $4.7 billion bid from its biggest shareholder, Fairfax. The mobile device maker has been struggling since it peaked in 2008, but the release of its BlackBerry 10 operating system earlier this year cemented its fate. While the company had high hopes for its Z10 smartphone, its specs and performance were unimpressive and the product never caught on with consumers. In the second quarter of 2013, BlackBerry sold 3.7 million devices, citing a loss of nearly $1 billion.
Meanwhile, Apple was quick to announce that this weekend's release of its brand new iPhone 5S and 5C saw total sales of 9 million devices in three days. The record breaking numbers had a lot to do with the fact that Apple released two different phones in 11 crucial markets on the same day. Nonetheless, tech journalists are more than happy to call it a comeback.
Comparing the two companies is unavoidable. BlackBerry set the bar, Apple raised it, and BlackBerry couldn't jump any higher. Marcus Wohlsen at Wired provided some analysis of BlackBerry's fall in a recent article:
Even a hypothetically better-run BlackBerry never stood a chance against Apple. Once Apple introduced the iPhone, the paradigm was set — there wasn’t anything especially new the Blackberry could do. Sure, it could have tried to outrace Apple early on to a better version of the same idea, but no one was going to out-Jobs Steve Jobs.
The inevitable sale of BlackBerry has raised plenty of questions about the future of the company. BlackBerry diehards are still hopeful for new devices while questions are raised about the future of ultra-secure mobile communication—a niche that BlackBerry has happily filled in the U.S. Government for years.
Many projections are saying that BlackBerry is taking itself off of the publically-traded market so it can rebrand and plan its comeback without public scrutiny. For innovation's sake, we hope that BlackBerry can privatize, but come out swinging. And please, BlackBerry, when you do come back, don't forget to bring an awesome camera.