RIM, This is an Intervention

Do you even remember how things used to be? You were the belle of the ball, the cool kid on the block. Younger verge readers may not remember, but there was a time when Blackberry carried as much cachet as Apple. Sure, sure, Palm may have boasted of "inventing" the smartphone, but Blackberry represented the state of the art. People made copies with a Xerox machine, blew their nose with a kleenex, and made their calls on a Blackberry.

Even as other players came into the market, you were the standard. Remember? There were smartphones, but you,  Blackberry, were in a league of your own. Those were heady days. Even Tom Hanks gushed on TV about how "magical" and "revolutionary" you were. Good times... good times.

But now you need to face reality. You are in denial, and your leaders are in denial, and that sterling brand you've built is rapidly losing credibility. Like it or not the iPhone happened, then Android happened, and no matter how long you keep your head in the sand you cannot change this reality. 

Your latest smartphone OS, Blackberry 7, would blow the doors off of PalmOS and Windows Mobile. But they're gone now. Palm doesn't even exist anymore, and its progeny, WebOS, is languishing. Microsoft finally laid Windows Mobile to rest and started over with a clean slate. No, this is a new ball game, dominated by iOS and Android.

You have to make a choice now. You can either resolve to innovate and save the Blackberry brand, or leave the consumer market altogether. You have to make a tough decision, and you have to make it now. You have used up too much of your credibility with empty press conferences and product delays. 

Which brings us to your other big decision. The dual-CEO circus has inflicted too much damage on your brand. Press conferences and product "launches" for devices that won't be available for months (if ever) have made even your fiercest defenders cringe. Your leadership has not demonstrated a realistic understanding of the current market let alone the unfolding future of the market. Instead of innovating, your leaders have taken a defensive, even dismissive attitude that has only hurt your brand more.

The days of being the standard by which other platforms are judged may be gone, but that doesn't mean you can't still be a leader in the market. You still have fans, and a great deal of brand recognition. Please, RIM, don't let it slip away.