Looking into a Technological Giant: A Business Analysis Review and Report of Blackberry
Example : Assessment Task 1: Business analysis review and report�
Conduct an analysis of business strategy, framework and performance, as well as an analysis of
industry/market conditions, using appropriate templates/tables and compile a report of approximately
BUSINESS ANALYSIS: BLACKBERRY 2
Initially known as Research in Motion, BlackBerry Limited surprised the technology industry
with its innovative and advanced technology. The BlackBerry wireless email solution became
very popular to people, especially to business people. The company was an enormous giant in
innovating devices that are businessmen-friendly. However, with the birth of iPhones and
Androids, BlackBerry Limited slowly exited the industry and silently sit on the sidelines. What
used to be on top, now seemed to be slowing down in the world of technological competence.
Business competition in today’s corporate world is very high. Big and small business firms
should continue to modify and improve their products to compete with the innovative products
launched differently by several corporations. Thus, BlackBerry might want to opt to change its
strategy. The risk may be high, but the results outweigh the efforts.
Keywords: Blackberry, business competition, technology industry
BUSINESS ANALYSIS: BLACKBERRY 3
Looking into a Technological Giant: A Business Analysis Review and Report of Blackberry
Blackberry Limited initially started as Research in Motion (RIM). It is a Canadian
telecommunications and wireless equipment company founded by Mike Lazaridis. Lazaridis is
an engineering student from University of Waterloo, who founded the company in 1984. He was
just twenty-three years old at that time when he created RIM. Another engineering student from
the University of Windsor, Douglas Fregin, co-founded the company. RIM has its roots as an
electronic and computer science consulting company. In 1988 the company became the first
wireless data developer in America. It was also the first ever company, outside Scandinavia, to
evolve connectivity products for Mobitex wireless packet-switched data communications
RIM became famous for introducing innovative technologies such as the DigiSync™,
Film Keykode™ Reader, the first Mobitex protocol converter, and the BlackBerry wireless email
solution. The BlackBerry wireless email solution became very popular to people, especially to
business people. The device allows workers to send and receive e-mails while away from the
office. As what authors describe it, BlackBerry became the indispensable accessory of business
executives, heads of states, and Hollywood celebrities (Gillette, Brady, & Winter, 2013) .
However, BlackBerry’s fame wavered when iPhone and Android came to the picture. The global
economic condition affects all kinds of businesses (McQuerrey, 2016) .
The upsurge in the economy proffers new business prospects for small operations. On the
other hand, a declining economy can have a lasting impact on the firm. In a robust and better
BUSINESS ANALYSIS: BLACKBERRY 4
economy, businesses prosper, people have a high income, and low unemployment; on the other
hand, a sluggish economy poses many challenges to investors. Shareholders may suffer from
profit losses which will urge the company to cut their workforce. Furthermore, the high
competition in the business world is prevalent. Companies gain an advantage against the world’s
biggest competitor because of pressure. It pushes companies to improve their products and be
continually competitive. It is in this light that the analysis of Blackberry was created.
Blackberry Company Analysis
The BlackBerry Limited (BlackBerry) is a supplier of mobile communications devices.
The company is engaged in providing BlackBerry wireless solution that includes smartphones,
software, and services. The core areas of the company are on Enterprise Services, Messaging,
Devices business and BlackBerry Technology Solutions (“Company Profile”, 2016). BlackBerry
Limited is considered a global leader in mobile communication. The company continues to
inspire its customers by producing innovative products which the market will surely patronize.
The company operates across continents such as North America, Asia-Pacific, Europe and Latin
America. There are 20 executives and directors of Blackberry under the leadership of John Chen,
Executive Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer. (“About BlackBerry”, n.d.).
Due to high competition and economic recession, the company incurred a negative
growth in sales. Thus, it experienced a loss of its profits. In the year 2013, the company laid off
thousands of its employees and sold the company to about US $4.7 billion (“BlackBerry
timeline: A look back at the tech company’s history”, 2013). The company which is considered a
technology giant, slowly shrink its stakes in the global smartphone market share by 3 percent. In
the last few years, the company continues to have a negative growth (Sturgeon, 2013).
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Engineers and technicians are brainstorming about new technologies to incorporate into
blackberry phones. With its new Blackberry 10 (BB 10) launched in 2013, the company is
positive to increase its sales. The new product has an innovative design, and its system has
multimedia, applications, and touchscreen features. This product is said to be a crucial
determinant to the long-term sustainability of the company (Radio-Canada, 2013). BlackBerry
10 sees the implementation of a whole new user interface, doing away with the conventional BB
system that people are used to in favor of something that resembles the likes of Androids and
iOS (McCann, 2013) .
In doing an industry analysis of BlackBerry Limited, it is essential to look into the
company’s political environment, economic advantage, social relations, technological
advancement, legal policy6, and environmental (PESTLE) contexts. PESTLE enables one to
assess the risks that they are facing, and seeing what impacts do current factors have (PESTLE
Analysis: Strategy Skills, 2013) . Moreover, PESTLE is used to examine the many factors in the
macro-environment that may affect the decision of the managers in organizations (PESTEL
Analysis of the Macro-environment, 2011) .
The nature of Blackberry business is risky because of the rapidly changing technology.
Now and then there are new innovative product lines that are readily available in the market.
Competition is very high among its industries. Among its competitors who are also familiar with
the market include LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company, Apple Inc., Microsoft
Corporation, Google, Lenovo Group Ltd., Huawei Technologies Co., HTC Corporation, ZTE
Corporation, and Nokia. Other competitors are Xiaomi Inc., IBM, SAP AG, Citrix, VMware,
Inc., Mobile Iron, Inc., Good Technology Corporation, Green Hills Software, Intel Corporation,
BUSINESS ANALYSIS: BLACKBERRY 6
Mentor Graphics Corporation, and Sysgo AG. Some internet media are also in the competition
such as Facebook, WeChat, Viber, Kik, Kakao Talk, Telegram, Snapchat, Cumulocity, Exosite,
IBM, and MontaVista Software.
With the presence of its equally technologically advanced competitors, standing in the
communication technology industry is a challenge to BlackBerry Limited. The company should
create one of a kind innovative product which is more advanced compared to others. Its
marketing strategies should also be strengthened.
Looking at the situation of BlackBerry Limited in the competitive world of technology, it
can be said that the company has a failing technological strategy. Apple and Android have
already taken BlackBerry from the limelight. The two companies are now ruling the gadget
world. This condition is primary because of the rapid pace of technology; BlackBerry Limited
was not able to hop on the train of innovation faster than the other companies. The company
never saw it coming that what was once impossible may be a common trend at some time. Below
is a table of the growth rate of BlackBerry Limited in comparison to industry and sector.
Company Industry Sector
Sales (MRQ) vs Qtr. 1 Yr. Ago -29.70 6.37 13.66
Sales (TTM) vs TTM 1 Yr. Ago -35.23 3.74 12.06
Sales – 5 Yr. Growth Rate -35.87 15.04 11.18
EPS (MRQ) vs Qtr. 1 Yr. Ago -956.68 45.89 32.42
EPS (TTM) vs TTM 1 Yr. Ago 23.87 — —
EPS – 5 Yr. Growth Rate — 39.16 14.52
BUSINESS ANALYSIS: BLACKBERRY 7
Capital Spending – 5 Yr. Growth Rate -42.31 -2.30 9.91
Table 1. Blackberry growth rate in comparison to industry and sector
It is shown in the table above that the company recorded a negative growth rate in sales
by 35.87 percent during the last five years. These results mean that the firm is losing profits.
Regarding growth rate in capital spending the company also incurred a negative growth of 42.31
percent. The situation is alarming. If the condition continues, the company will have to lay off
more employees in the future.
SWOT, Gap, and Cost-Benefit Analysis:
SWOT analysis is a device that aids business personnel to assess the strengths,
weaknesses, opportunities, and threats involved in any business enterprises (Ommani, 2011) .
Moreover, SWOT can help us gain insights into the past and think of possible solutions to
existing or potential problems for an existing business or for an existing venture (USDA as cited
in Ommani, 2011). To better understand the situation of BlackBerry Ltd, it is also necessary to
look into its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, coupled with the gap and cost-
Adequate assets and equipment
Skilled and enough human resource
Excellent marketing strategies
Billions of customers
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Development of new and high-tech
communication products that could
Table 2. SWOT Analysis
As we can see in the diagram, BlackBerry is on the edge when it comes to its resources
such as the equipment, assets, and human resource. Moreover, the company has an excellent
marketing strategy. Just last year 2010, the company hired a new CEO, who is a Hong Kong –
born British-American business person and an electrical engineer. This new CEO is none other
than John Chen, known for his many achievements and for turning around failing companies.
The said CEO pushes hardware profitability as the next big thing in BlackBerry Ltd and as an
answer to the threats that the firm is facing. Furthermore, the company sees opportunity in developing
new and high-tech communication products that could compete globally with other international
High competition is seen as one of the threats to the company, but despite this,
BlackBerry Limited sees opportunities in the near future. As what the CEO of the business stated
(in an interview) last June 2015, the company’s smartphone unit will turn profitable in the short
term (Rathinavel, 2015) . BlackBerry Limited has many customers even before the advent of
iPhones and Android, thus innovating will only make the company attract even more billions of
Based on all the data gathered, it is feasible to say that BlackBerry Limited is indeed a
company who had reached its peak at some point in time. The SWOT analysis in the above
shows the strengths that the company can muster in the competition field. However, despite the
BUSINESS ANALYSIS: BLACKBERRY 9
good record of BlackBerry Limited, we cannot deny the gaps in the strategies of the enterprise.
One thing is the failure of the company to innovate in time with the fast-paced development of
its competing companies. With the advent of iPhone and Android, BlackBerry has lost its fame
in the technology market. The problem here may not be the marketing strategy of the company
but in the workers.
As a solution to this, the company should hire more reliable and credible workers so as to
step back again to the world of technological competition. Moreover, it will be of advantage to
the company itself and its employees if they will initiate training. Differentiation by skill,
knowledge, and motivation of workforce, takes on increasing importance as organizations strive
to compete in the worldwide economy (Aguinis & Kraiger, 2009) . Hill and Lent (as cited in
Aguinis and Kraiger, 2009) mentioned that training-related changes are believed to improve job-
related performance and other positive changes such as the acquisition of new skills.
In addition to this, BlackBerry Limited might also want to consider outsourcing
employees or engineers that will help improve the declining status of the company. Outsourcing
is said to be a common practice in both private and public organizations (Kremic, Tukel, & Rom,
2006) . Kremic, Tukel, and Rom also revealed that most organizations nowadays are perhaps
already using outsourcing as a function to perform efficiently. The benefit of outsourcing to the
company is the additional knowledge that outsourced employees can offer. Moreover,
outsourcing enables the company to learn new insights, improve strategy, and look at things from
a different perspective.
Another solution to the challenges that BlackBerry Limited is facing is to initiate
partnerships with other big companies. With the work connections that their present CEO has,
doing this strategy is plausible. Partnering and making ties with businesses, both local and
BUSINESS ANALYSIS: BLACKBERRY 10
abroad, will enable BlackBerry Limited to expand its scope of activities, consumers, and
resources. Such ties can also be a leeway for BlackBerry Limited to improve their innovative
efforts and technological advancement.
Key Steps to
Implement Cost Benefit
benefit, time to
- Trainings Initiating training for
1 -2 weeks,
twice to thrice a
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- Recruitment Recruiting credible and
- Outsourcing Hiring employees from
- Partnership with
Making ties with
businesses, both local
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Table 3. Cost-Benefit Analysis
The table above shows the cost benefit analysis of the measures above in addressing the
present condition of BlackBerry Limited. Note that training, recruitment, outsourcing, and
partnership with other companies are real solutions for the current situation that BlackBerry
Limited is encountering. The whole plan will take a more than a hundred thousand US dollars to
implement. We can also note that despite the significant sum that improving BlackBerry Limited
entails, the benefits still outweigh the costs.
At the height of Blackberry popularity, there are about 80 million users which include
high ramming government officials and celebrities. There have been significant changes and
improvements that the company is implementing over the past years. Its sustainability in the
industry could be attributed to the continued patronage of its loyal customers. BlackBerry could
face its downturn, and the company is not yet out of the market.
BlackBerry is a technology innovative company which is undergoing a rough road since
the emergence of iPhones and Android. Its current situation is not healthy based on statistics. If it
continues to happen, the company will experience great losses that could lead to layoff in its
workforce. The situation is not good for the sector and the industry itself because BlackBerry is a
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giant company. The company might need to re-engineer their processes and operations and
conduct a thorough analysis of its current condition so it could withstand the challenges in the
About BlackBerry. Ca.blackberry.com.
Aguinis, H., & Kraiger, K. (2009). Benefits of Training and Development for Individuals and
Teams, Organizations and Society. Annual Review of Psychology.
BlackBerry timeline: A look back at the company history. (2013). Global News.