Blackberry Limited Research

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1. Introduction

Blackberry Limited is an international organization whose headquarters are in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Formerly recognized as Research in Motion (RIM), the company is well-known for the development and distribution of the famous Blackberry brands of smartphones. Over the years, Blackberry Limited has grown and diversified its business ventures to increase its market as well as compete against emerging rival companies. Most of the organization’s innovations have been accelerated by the developments in technology since the company deals in technology products. Apparently, Blackberry Limited has grown into a global enterprise software and service company, particularly dealing with the security and management of the Internet of Things (IoT) or remote computing devices (AMEInfo, 2018).

According to McNish and Silcoff (2015, p. 134), the Internet of Things has in fact been the most significant advancement Blackberry Limited has so far achieved. However, recent trends in technology suggest that alongside useful technology innovations come along challenges such as data breaches, cybersecurity, and malware that compromise the effective functioning of a particular organization (Hoffman 2007, p.356). The prior are some of the challenges Blackberry has encountered but at all cost the company has tried to contain them. With the new development (Internet of Things), Blackberry has at least ensured comprehensive security to address the security issue amongst business organizations. The company’s new technology has been a significant development which has helped to mitigate risks associated with data breaches and cybersecurity threats. Despite this innovation, Blackberry’s business activities have recently dropped almost leading to the decline of the company. Therefore, while considering Blackberry’s recent innovations such as the security of the Enterprise of Things as well as its latest software innovation trends, and the current trends about the company’s performance, this particular report addresses some procedures and business strategies the company can utilize to improve their innovation and competitive ability.

2. Executive Summary

Blackberry is apparently a struggling company; market share statistics and performance justify this claim. Blackberry Limited was on the verge of collapsing some years back due to various issues including poor innovation, poor management, increased competition and the inability to embrace technological advancements regarding smartphones (Williams 2013, p.77). However, under the new management, the corporation has been trying to re-establish. Hopefully, in a few years to come, the company will be performing at its peak once again. But there are still some challenges which make the future of the company uncertain. For instance, competition remains a long-term challenge for the company since there are also new companies emerging to rival the organization in their new venture of security of the Enterprise of things. As well, technology also remains a challenge. The changes in technology have accelerated internet unethical activities such as malware, cybersecurity and data breaches which according to Clayton, Dyer, and Gregersen (2011, p.107) are a threat to Blackberry’s latest innovation.

3. Issues Undermining the Effective Performance of Blackberry Limited

Blackberry is currently making a comeback after a devastating performance that almost led to its decline eight years ago (Hitt, Ireland, and Hoskisson 2017, p.67). Under the new leadership, the company has shown great progress regarding innovation in software security–Blackberry’s main focus. Financial reports for the past three financial years justify the noticeable progress in Blackberry; the company's graph indicates an increasing trajectory however small Sweeny 2013, p.143). Such acknowledges the efforts Blackberry is making to thrive again after it almost collapsed due to the failure of its phone business due to increased competition and an ignorant/ inappropriate staff. Precisely, the decline of the company eight years ago which slowed down its progression was due to several issues some of which the current management is still trying to address to ensure that Blackberry is competitive once again. Some of these issues are discussed below.

3.1. The Innovation Issue at Blackberry Limited

While some market analysts argue that innovation is not an issue at Blackberry Limited, some disagree. Hitt, Ireland, and Hoskisson (2017, p.103) affirm that if the company had immediately complied with the emerging innovations regarding smartphones, then it could still be thriving as well as performing exceptionally on the smartphone and software enterprise and service market. However, this is not the case. Blackberry is apparently struggling to thrive in their business ventures, an issue that directly relates to the poor innovative ability of the company. In fact, the company for the past years to date is still struggling to catch up with its competitors the likes of Apple INC., Nokia, and Palm. Eight years ago, when the company almost declined, innovation was the issue (see appendix 3, the trends in revenue justify Blackberry are struggling on the market environment). Then, Blackberry ignored the idea of innovation which most smartphone manufacturing companies such as Motorola and Nokia were largely embracing (Arthur, 2018). Blackberry stuck to the development of keyboard phones overlooking the innovation of the touchscreen technology which made customers abandon Blackberry phone for Apple devices.

Despite the company switching to the touch pal technology, significant changes are yet to be achieved. Innovation continues to be a challenge worth addressing. The company has tried to advance to the android technology, but still, it is yet to record significant improvements by utilizing this innovation. The reason being various innovations about the android technology has been made; thus, differentiation has become a problem. Differentiation means how the company can become exceptional yet competitors use the same operating system, the Android operating system. Even after innovating double-barreled software, Blackberry has not been able to convince customers to buy their products (Hitt, Ireland, and Hoskisson 2017, p.103). And that justifies that innovation is still an issue for this once-smartphone giant corporation Blackberry Limited.

3.2. The competitive ability of Blackberry Limited versus its competitors.

Current market trends suggest that Blackberry is less competitive compared to its competitors. Current market trends indicate that the company is far from catching up with its competitors the likes of Nokia, Motorola, Apple Inc. and Palm. According to Sandler (2011, p.56), market analysts identify that the competition arena will be challenging for Blackberry to manage especially when established companies like Dell, Microsoft, and Acer entering the smartphone and software distribution market. Soon, there will be more smartphone brands than there has ever been.

Apparently, when people place orders or go to buy a smartphone, it is either an android or IOS smartphone. In this 21st century, these two operating systems are predominant in the international smartphone market. In fact, they dominate an estimated 99.1% of the global smartphone market. Windows and Blackberry Operating System dominate the remaining 0.9% percentage (see appendix 1). Blackberry has recently resorted to the Android OS in order to at least boost their competitive ability (BetaSubsectors, and Picks, 2018). Precisely, poor innovation has rendered Blackberry less competitive compared to its competitors who are making innovations day and night. Below is a figure that clearly describes Blackberry competitive ability in the smartphone platform market as of the year 2016.

Figure 1: Smartphone platform market share of various OS as of the year 2016

The above diagram is available at

3.3. Poor management issue

Oyeyemi (2014, p.203) articulates that majority of smartphone users claim that Blackberry’s leadership is to blame for the current state or adversity of this once-popular smartphone giant company. Research concerning the fall of this particular company indicates that the arrogance amongst the management to ignoring to adapt to the changes and align with emerging trends in the smartphone market (Farrell 2015, p.376). Blackberry’s sluggish leadership complemented by the inability to make decisions rendered the company’s brands of smartphones irrelevant since new firms had monopolized the smartphone market, and Blackberry stood no chance against them. Apart from ignorance, overconfidence amongst the firm’s leaders was also an issue towards the Blackberry’s decline and the current adversity. The leaders of the company felt that Blackberry was superior; they believed to know too much and could not do what their competitors were doing however important.

Still, regarding poor performance, there was a rift/ division in the management thus undermining the corporate structure of Blackberry (Castaldo 2018, p.321). Of course, when a firm has two CEOs, then there is a conflicting of ideas as well as poor decision making and mismanagement. This was the case for Blackberry. The company was under the management of two CEOs: Mr. Lazaridis who major focus was on product engineering, management, and the company's supply chain; Mr. Balsillie who managed Blackberry's sales, finance operations, and other related corporate functions. The two were collaborative, but there was a challenge regarding accountability which directly impacted the company's market performance as well as the delayed launching of new phones manufactured by the firm. Blackberry's consumer market was affected as well; customer evaluation of the corporation's products could not reach the engineers, and that largely accounted for customers shift to Apple, Nokia and Motorola products (Castaldo 2018, p.362). The split in the company greatly two crucial aspects, teamwork and unity, both of which are important to any business organization.

Apparently, the company is under a new management of John S. Chen. Under Chen’s management, the company launched Blackberry android OS smartphones called PRIV which was a beginning of another milestone for the company. However, Chen’s achievement was to drop the declining smartphone business and concentrate on distributing software and related services to Enterprise of Things endpoints (Bailey and Werner 2007, p.126).

3.4. Market Issue

Market issue is another challenge Blackberry has faced up to date. The sluggishness to respond to market changes is among the issues that have accounted for the current adversity of Blackberry Limited (Arthur, 2018). Back then, the company ignored the touch pal technology not realizing its efficiency compared to their QWERTY keyboards/ keypads. Actually, failing to notice this market change gave Companies like Apple, Nokia, and Motorola to gain a competitive advantage over Blackberry. Even upon launching their brands of touchscreen smartphones they stood no chance against these competitors and other first emerging rivals such as Dell, Lenovo among others.

Another market issue that Blackberry faces is the inability to utilize its respective corporate space. The firm failed to dominate the smartphone market when it had a chance. The prior is also a problem in their latest business venture, software security, and services of the Internet of Things. Blackberry’s working staff even failed to acknowledge their products. A large percentage of the company’s workforce carried along their Apple and Android devices at work rendering Blackberry smartphones redundant and useless (Trautschold, and Mazo 2010, p.245). Perhaps this was not a good idea since it demoralized the progress of the company considering that they could not appreciate their products.

3.5. Frequent and Increasing changes in technology

The increasing change in technology is also another issue that leads to the struggling state of Blackberry. Frequent changes involving smartphone technology, particularly the touch pal and android technology undermined the market performance of Blackberry. The sluggishness or ignorance of the company to move along with such technological innovations did cost Blackberry. The Company crumbled and struggled to adapt to the new changes but it was too late for their rivals, Apple and other mobiles operators had then embraced technology and monopolized the smartphone market globally. Right now, changes in technology are still a challenge to Blackberry despite their new venture. Cyber-attacks and data breaches, as well as malware, are a threat to the Blackberry's latest project.

4. Clarification of the Aims of this particular Report

As articulated in the introduction section, the primary aim of the research is to consider both the previous and current trends in the business performance of Blackberry and evaluate suitable measures the organization can utilize to improve their innovative and competitive abilities, or how to improve their business performance. Breaking down the aims of this report based on the issues identified above, then the report purposes to achieve the following:

A) To identify some of the innovative issues affecting Blackberry limited and suggest possible measures the company can undertake to minimize on these issues and improve their innovations.

B) To identify Blackberry competitors and the competitive ability, and identify how the company can gain a competitive advantage over its competitors.

C) To assess the management issues at the company and suggest measures the company can utilize to minimize such issues.

D) The report also seeks to identify the market issues affecting the market performance of Blackberry Limited and propose some of the business strategies and procedures the company should consider in order to improve their performance.

E) As well, the report pursues to examine how the frequent and increasing changes in technology have undermined the progress of Blackberry and identify on the appropriate measure the company can utilize to approach this particular issue.

5. Summary of Blackberry’s Current Situation (Current market Performance)

The entire globe understands that the once-smartphone giant, Blackberry Limited is unstable. That is, the companies market is still in bad shape despite the increased efforts to revive the company. Five years ago, Blackberry was at risk of declining. Since then, upon the appointed of John S. Chen as the Chief Executive of the Company, some significant changes have been made of which the most crucial has been dropping the smartphone business and engaging on the security and management of software and services concerning the Enterprise/ Internet of Things. The company is still struggling to establish and therefore its revenue is still unstable. In fact, as of 2017, the revenue of the company has still been falling. Figure (2) below justifies that.

Figure 2: Blackberry’s Revenue from 2004 to 2017

Available at

Another thing happening at Blackberry is that the number of end users of Blackberry products is falling. The graph below justifies the validity of this particular assertion. However, the rate of decline is slow.

Figure 3: Global Market Share Held by the leading Smartphone Operating system in sales to end users from the first quarter 2009 to the first quarter 2017.

Available at

6. Theoretical Context

This section of the report identifies and discusses some of the theories that Blackberry Limited can utilize to mitigate the various issues affecting their market performance. As well, the section identifies and justifies the criteria on how the proposed theories were evaluated, or how their appropriateness regarding Blackberry limited was determined. Some of the theories relevant to this particular case include the PESTEL analysis theory, the ANSOF matrix theory, the SWOT analysis theory, and Porter's Five Forces theory. These models and theories were selected based on Blackberry's current market trends and performances. Also, another criterion considered while choosing these theories is the fact that the company is a multinational organization, and for multinational organizations, efficient business strategies and exceptional market performances are mandatory for success. In that line of thinking, marketing theories and models define best strategies that multinational companies such as Blackberry can utilize to ensure they thrive in the global market.

a. PESTEL Analysis Theory

PESTEL is an acronym for Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental and Legal. The latter is a framework used by business organizations to assess the external marketing environment factors that influence the business or market goal of a company (Marmol, Feys, & Probert 2015, p.26).

Figure 4: Diagram of a PESTEL analysis framework

Available at

b. ANSOF Matrix Theory

The ANSOF Matric marketing theory is used by organizations to establish appropriate strategic options essential for the business or profit goal of the organization. Its characteristic of being simple and easy to implement justify why most business corporations have resolved to utilize it more compared to the other theories. Below is its diagrammatic representation that identifies its four crucial strategies that managers have to address to boost their market performance (Cadle, Paul, & Turner 2011, p.123).

Figure 5: ANSOF matrix Framework

Available at

c. SWOT Analysis Theory

SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats. This marketing framework utilizes data regarding the internal issues of an organization to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the particular organization. Similarly, from the external data of an organization, the framework identifies potentials threats and opportunities that underlie an organization out there. Precisely, the SWOT analysis theory utilizes the internal and external data of an organization to project the future goals, decisions and suitable business strategies relevant to the efficient and competitive performance of an organization (Speth and Probert 2015, p.23).

Figure 6: SWOT Analysis Framework

Available at

d. Porter’s Five Forces Theory

The Porter’s Five Forces Theory is based on the principle that five forces govern the competitive ability of an organization. This framework justifies the position of the strengths and power of an organization in the prevailing market environment. In most cases, managers use this theory to identify if the projected venture is profitable or not. Porters’ Five Forces framework is also relevant to the mitigation of risks as well as in the improvement of probable weaknesses (Michaux, Cadiat, & Probert 2015, p.17).

Figure 7: Porters’ Five Forces Framework

Available at

7. Evaluation and Analysis

This particular section identifies and critically evaluates some of the global market factors that have impacted on the performance of Blackberry limited but putting the above theories into consideration. Precisely, the section analyses the global factors that have undermined Blackberry’s market performance however in the context of the above market theories.

7.1. PESTEL Analysis

7.1.1. Political Factors

Politics has not been a major problem but as the company seeks to re-establish there is need to address this concern. On the various global markets where Blackberry has operated, it has encountered several political challenges which have undermined the company’s performance. For instance, political pressures and changes in India and South Korea, two of the biggest markets for Blackberry smartphones, negatively impacted on the performance of Blackberry in these two global markets. Additionally, the unstable governing structure in the company also undermined Blackberry’s market performance.

7.1.2. Economic Factors

This has been a major issue affecting Blackberry. In figure (2) above, it is clear that the company’s revenue has been reducing significantly. Figure (3) as well justifies that there has been a significant decrease in Blackberry’s subscribers. Both the fall in Blackberry's revenue and a decrease in the number of subscribers is due to increased competition complemented by low prices since everyone wants to be a monopoly. Market analysts affirm that the current instability and uncertainty noticeable on the global smartphone market might be an advantage for Blackberry only if the company tries to increase the appeal of their products to consumers.

7.1.3. Social Factors

Social media platforms are essentially good marketing platforms for many business organizations. Despite Blackberry embracing social media platforms the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, they are still struggling to sell their brands of smartphones. This is because these media platforms are filled with young adults who know nothing about business.

7.1.4. Technological Factors

Blackberry have learned a lesson from their deliberate ignorance of the changes in mobile technology which largely affected their performance almost leading to the decline of the company. Right now, the company is embracing technology and utilizing it to re-establish its former business performance. Their latest model of phones is running on Android OS and have been built with the touch pal technology which is obvious on most Android OS smartphones. Nevertheless, the company is yet to match their competitors Apple regarding technology innovations (Business Insider, 2018).

7.1.5. Environmental Factors

As well, this has not been a major issue at Blackberry. The company has previously manufactured its products under the consideration of the environment. The same still applies to date. Blackberry are manufacturing environment-friendly products. Additionally, the company is yet to reports significant environmental factors that are an obstacle to their market performance.

7.1.6. Legal Factors

Legal factors have been a primary issue Blackberry has faced in the global smartphone market. This includes taxes and administrative costs in order to perform on the international market. While considering the current trends in the company's revenue, then these charges and other sanctions directly impact the Blackberry’s falling revenues. Legal procedures are mandatory in any market environment to manage and monitor the performance of business organizations; thus, Blackberry will ensure to adhere to all legal measures in their respective market.

7.2. ANSOFX Matrix Analysis

7.2.1. Blackberry Product Development

Failing to adjust to technological changes, this is the main reason for Blackberry’s current uncompetitive state. However, there have been efforts since Chen took over. The company now focuses on developing new products, Android OS Blackberry smartphones and software, and services for the Internet of Things endpoints. Maybe in doing so, they will establish a competitive market share.

7.2.2. Blackberry Market Penetration

Mostly, market penetration becomes relevant and efficient when a company competitively enters a particular market with their current products. Of course, Blackberry has penetrated the global market for smartphone and software and services for the enterprise of things. But the stiff global competition on this market has been a challenge the company is still attempting to address. Meticulously, competition has directly and negatively impacted on Blackberry's sales, end users, in fact, the company's overall market performance. Customers have opted for products from Apple, Samsung, Nokia and Motorola over Blackberry’s products. Marketing strategies such as advertisement have also failed to work for Blackberry; there is no significant increase in Blackberry’s subscribers but a significant decrease. In that line of order, maybe the company can boost its sales by enhancing the after-sale customer experience by ensuring exceptional customer services.

7.2.3. Blackberry Market Development

A business organization with efficient market development strategies is destined to successfully achieve its business goal. When Blackberry was a smartphone giant company it had a defined purpose, to expand its smartphone business globally. However, they failed since they failed to realize the emerging trends in the smartphone market (, 2018). It is obvious the company had good market development strategies but delayed the course of implementation. And that affected their market performance. Although the company has plans to re-establish. Recently the new Chief Executive Mr. Chen announced that the company will be majoring in security and management of software and service for Enterprise of Things. Hopefully, this new venture will re-instate Blackberry’s former success.

7.2.4. Blackberry Diversification

Diversification involves marketing in new areas. It is a risky business strategy since it involves stepping into new markets where one is yet to understand the parameters of that particular market fully. But to Blackberry, it can minimize some of the risks associated with diversification by entering other smartphone and software market-related markets. For example, the company can now enter mobile app markets, tablet markets and also even launch Blackberry applications compatible with Android or IOS phones (Baxter-Reynolds 2011, p.56). Consumer relates electronics including hands-free devices and the likes can also be another suitable market for Blackberry as it seeks to re-establish.

7.3. SWOT Analysis of Blackberry Limited

7.3.1. Blackberry’s Strengths

A significant strength of Blackberry is that their smartphones and software technologies are highly encrypted with advanced security which gives them an advantage over its competitors. Mobility and portability of Blackberry devices are also other strengths of the company. About security, it has been a milestone for the company. In fact, the security features that come with Blackberry devices have attracted the attention of enterprise organizations, and many governmental agencies particularly in the United States. Blackberry smartphones and software devices come with highly encrypted military grade security feature making them ideal for sensitive agencies such as the FBI, CIA, the State Department, and the White House.

7.3.2. Blackberry’s Weaknesses

Blackberry have various weaknesses that have affected their market performance. For instance, the company essentially focused on a security feature, Unique Selling Proposition, and thus failed to make improvements to their security feature. Its competitors the likes of Apple have taken over the market since their smartphones come with advanced security features compared to Blackberry’s brands of smartphones. Recently, the company has resolved to distribute security services for Enterprise of Things. However, they are expensive, and many businesses are switching to using Apple and Samsung who deliver similar services but cheap compared to Blackberry.

7.3.3. Blackberry Opportunities

With the new CEO Mr. Chen, Blackberry is slowly reinventing itself. Despite the fact that Blackberry’s number of subscribers/ consumers has been declining, the company still has an opportunity to thrive in the smartphone and software market. Before its decline, Blackberry was a mega company servicing millions of customers. Obviously, the company still has some loyal customers out there and once it re-establishes it has an opportunity and chance against its competitors. Also, there is still an opportunity for Blackberry smartphones despite Apple and Samsung being a monopoly (, 2018). In this case, Blackberry has to integrate their brands of phones with more advanced features similar to the ones that come with Apple and Samsung phones to boost their market share. As well, partnering with other upcoming companies is also an opportunity for the company to re-invent itself.

7.3.4. Blackberry Threats

Blackberry were the main engineers of the smartphone technology, but ignorance made the loss against the current giants, Apple, Samsung, Nokia, and Motorola (see appendix 2, represents the markets performance of these companies). Competition is a major threat to Blackberry. In addition, the company also has a problem with employees, a significant threat of course. The previous poor performance of the company affected the employees psychologically; thus, they have low morale towards work which an obstacle for a company seeking to perform competently. Costly measures towards employee motivation is also a significant threat to the company.

The prior discussion justifies how Blackberry limited can pull itself from quagmire to success once again. The recent strategies including the reshuffling of the management team are showing some positive changes however small. Although the challenges are increasing daily, the new management is certain to resurrect the company from its dilemma.

7.4. Porter’s Five Forces Analysis

7.4.1. Threats of New Entrants

Companies such as Apple and Samsung have corned the smartphone market with innovations thus taking over the smartphone market share (Community.giffg

January 19, 2024

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