Blackberry Blasts Apple for Lack of Innovation

by Matt Klassen on March 20, 2013

While Blackberry CEO Thorsten Heins has been talking up the new Blackberry Z10 in Australia this week, it’s not the smartphone, the company’s new BB10 OS, or the proliferation of apps that’s getting all the attention, but his comments about Apple and its inability to innovate…talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

In an exclusive interview with The Australian Financial Review Heins noted that while Apple’s iPhone helped spark the smartphone revolution (lets be honest here, it created the entire genre), the company has become stagnant, seemingly unable or unwilling to innovate beyond the iPhone form factor that helped Apple to the top of the mobile market. Now Heins’ comments could be the autobiography of his own company, which now faces an incredibly difficult uphill climb against Apple and Android… but I digress.

Of course while some see these comments as sour grapes towards a company that almost put Blackberry out of business, others see it as simply a statement of fact: Apple is going nowhere, and in the mobile market if you’re not moving forward, you’re falling back.

Trying to suppress my enjoyment of such obvious foot-in-mouth hypocrisy, Heins’ point was clearly a roundabout way of trumpeting his company’s newest offerings while firing some shots towards a company that made Blackberry’s life hell for the past five years. In today’s smartphone market the mantra of success is “Innovate or Die,” Heins noting that companies simply cannot rest on their laurels, but have to actively continue to impress people with technological innovation and product advancement.

Truth be told, perhaps Heins’ comments aren’t sour grapes, but simply the wisdom wrought from difficult experiences, as this story about the inability to innovate is what saw Blackberry—formerly Research in Motion—fall from its lofty perch as one of the markets most dominant players to fighting for distant third place with several other competitors.

But is it wise to attack Apple when Blackberry’s future remains far more uncertain? As Roger Entner, principal analyst at Recon Analytics, states, it’s really the easiest course of action to gain media attention. “It…shows that if you want your story printed and reprinted and picked up in the media, then you should attack Apple,” he told the E-Commerce Times in a recent interview.

“Heins has seen firsthand what happens when a company stops innovating, but his proclamations about Apple are a little big premature, and the fact is that it is continuing to innovate,” added Entner. “It is just at a slower point in the innovation cycle.”

Further, Apple strikes me as the sort of sleeping giant that nobody wants to rouse, as when woken it has the ability to strike out against the mobile market with its ferocious competitive edge, sweeping Blackberry out of the way with one swipe of its iPhone. In my mind, Heins would be better served to say nothing about Apple, save the acknowledgement of his competitor’s clear greatness, allowing Apple to remain asleep and giving Blackberry half a chance (its only chance) to recapture some of its own former glory.

This, of course, brings us to the real issue at hand, that it takes more than pointing out that your strongest competitor has stopped innovating to recapture market share, it takes real innovation and real advancement on Blackberry’s part; and it remains to be seen if it has accomplished this task.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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