Ex-CEO of Research-In-Motion (now Blackberry), Jim Balsillie left the company in 2012. He has recently been reported by the AP as saying that the iPhone

Mobile expert @TomiAhonen disagrees with RIM ex-CEO over BlackBerry

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Blackberry withering

Ex-CEO of Research-In-Motion (now Blackberry), Jim Balsillie left the company in 2012. He has recently been reported by the AP as saying that the iPhone killed BlackBerry. That seems to be the popular opinion too, but not everyone agrees.

Renowned mobile analyst, Tomi Ahonen, is one of them. He dismisses Jim’s statement as an indication of “how he wasn’t fit to run RIM” and then presents a timeline to prove that it was not the iPhone that killed Blackberry. Here are key points of Tomi’s argument:

  1. 2007-2009 iPhone was consumer fashion phone not accepted to enterprises. Blackberry was UGLY business phone accepted to enterprises.
  2. 2007 iPhone had no apps. 2008-2009 most of its apps consumer games not business apps. Blackberry had built enterprise apps since 2001
  3. 2007-2009 iPhone was touch-screen and large screen, camera & media. Blackberry was keypad entry and small screen, didn’t even have camera.
  4. 2007-2009 there were no 2 smartphone brands more opposite and distant from each other than Blackberry & iPhone. Like a Ferrari vs Hummer.
  5. But the proof is in the pudding. When Apple had its strong growth period (2007-2010) did Blackberry grow or fall? IT GREW TOO.
  6. The iPhone grabbed huge chunks of market share from 2007 to 2010. But not from Blackberry WHICH ALSO GREW (and was bigger than iPhone).
  7. What iPhone killed was Palm, Motorola & Windows Mobile from 2007 to 2010. Blackberry was immune to the iPhone. Only IDIOT CEO says otherwise.
  8. Blackberry COLLAPSEd. It didn’t die a normal slow death by competition. It self-imploded. It shot itself in the foot. How? Launching tablet.
  9. Blackberry’s fall happened AFTER the big growth period by iPhone was over. But BB fall happened PERFECTLY in synch with tablet fiasco.

There you go. This is really god subject matter for a debate. Where do you stand? With Jim or Tomi? or perhaps you have another line of thought. Let’s hear it!

PS: Interesting though that the RIM ex-CEO says he still uses a BlackBerry Bold and says it has to be pried out of his “cold, dead hands”.


  1. I’m a long time BB user. Been on a BB since the dawn of time and have owned at least 20 different BBs. Loved them to death pre-iPhone. First BB was a 8700c, look it up, it didn’t have a camera and lacked basic features Nokia already had at the time with N70. The people at RIM knew what made their phones so awesomely addictive it was truly the “CrackBerry”.

    Then after iPhone announcement, the company goes all in self destruction mode. I had BB Storm and it sucked. I even gave them ANOTHER chance and bought Storm2. Disappointed TWICE. Idiots didn’t know anymore what the BB fanbase wanted and they were extremely slow to adapt. Biggest mistake was forcing special BlackBerry data plan when iPhone used regular 3G data to offer full Web.

    Flagship Bold 9900 in 2011 had far worse camera, much less features, and provided limited Web ONLY with special BB data plan compared to iPhone 4S that was pinnacle of Apple with better antenna, better features, better camera, better everything. I still have iPhone 4S that works perfectly. My Bold 9900 is collecting dust and worth ZERO nowadays. Still have a BB.

    Used a Passport, which is a fucking failure. Now use Classic, which is a step in the right direction but oh my god the BB10 OS is a MESS. When will the idiots at BB learn. This is from long time BB user. Been on the BB side of things for 10 years. Next phone will definitely be Android.

  2. Tomi is so right. Seriously RIM ex CEO has NO clue. The idiots didn’t even understand they could be bigger than WhatsApp with BBM. They were no. 1. How do you slip down so much. Also interesting the Tomi blog about cliff theory. BB is going down slowly. Death is coming but not yet, cliff theory means once you go down you go down. Simple as that. Still waiting for BB to wake up and realize they suck and should start over. New brand, new products, new services. BB brand is toxic nowadays, a joke. “Are you STILL using a BlackBerry?!”

  3. Well to put it as blunt as I can:

    [SARCASM]Of course an outsider analyst from Hong Kong knows reasons of BlackBerry’s demise BETTER than the actual co-CEO who sat in Waterloo HQ when BlackBerry went south.[/SARCASM]

    Seriously, the fact Ahonen still insists iPhone was not a competitor of Nokia/BB and is still not a competitor to Samsung is just funny.

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