Comes today the news that Blackberry is giving up on the consumer market. Of course this means the company will be as dead as Antigonus shortly.
Why do I say this? Because one of the most ironclad rules of the tech industry is this: retreat upward never works. If your company is failing, withdrawing from mass markets to focus on the high end may look like a smart move for a few quarters but it makes eventual doom more certain. The decline and fall of Sun Microsystems is probably the most recent major example but far from the only one.
Retreat upwards fails because it leaves space for your competitors to attack you from the low end – in effect, you’re pinning a sign on your backside that says “DISRUPT ME!” Also, in any hardware-centered business, process improvements happen fastest where volume is highest (that is, at the low end); retreat upwards means your competitors will capture those gains faster than you do.
More grim details. Company is not profitable and will no longer be issuing financial projections. Balsillie is leaving. The COO and CTO are bailing out.
Everything about this smells of death. Not that it should come as a surprise to regular readers, because I’ve been saying RIM was doomed and explaining why since last June.