“We transformed the way people communicate,” says RIM’s Mike Lazaridis

by Istvan Fekete on April 1, 2013

The change in how people communicate started roughly thirty years ago in a tiny, three-room office above a bagel shop in Waterloo, Ontario. This is where two guys, Mike Lazaridis and Doug Fregin, started their business without even enough money for proper desk. These two men created the foundation of what we know today as BlackBerry, formerly Research In Motion.

After spending three decades building RIM into a global smartphone giant, Mr. Lazaridis announced on Thursday he will step down from the board of BlackBerry and cut all ties with the company, bringing an end to an era in Canadian business.

He had already stepped down as CEO, giving his position to Thorsten Heins, whom he had hand-picked as his successor, but had remained vice-chair of the board. According to the Thursday announcement, Mr. Lazaridis will close this era of his life with RIM, leaving it in the capable hands of Heins after a positive quarterly earnings report.

Looking back over the past three decades, Mr. Lazaridis said to The Globe and Mail: “We transformed the way people communicate,” Mr. Lazaridis says matter of factly. “Jim and I had an opportunity to build something unbelievable in this country. … Building an iconic brand, building an iconic service and product and I hope setting an example that this can be done in Canada, by Canadians, and if you give back to the community, you create this virtuous cycle that has incredible long-term potential.”

Fact is, RIM is still the choice of businessmen: with BlackBerry 10 and the new handsets, the company has managed to remind analysts that they aren’t yet history.

Mr. Lazaridis said he and Jim Balsillie were not blind to the reasons why their success had eventually led to criticism: the accusations were that they had missed industry trends by being too confident they would always remain at the top.

But as history has shown, inventing the smartphone industry isn’t enough to keep the No. 1 position. Looking at the market statistics, what we see is pretty straightforward: Android and iOS dominate the consumer market, but this is about to change as the adoption of BYOD opens the door to these two platforms’ influence on the enterprise market as well. But the preferred option for corporations is still the BlackBerry, because of the company’s decade-long experience in the enterprise market and mobile security.

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

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