BlackBerry’s well-documented fall from grace can be directly attributed to one of its core features according to former National Security Agency general counsel Stewart Baker.
That feature, of course, is encryption.
During a speaking engagement at Web Summit in Dublin, Ireland, Baker pointed out that BlackBerry’s decision to encrypt user data was a bad business model because it limited its business in countries that demand oversight of communication data. In other words, they restricted their own ability to sell products.
BlackBerry pioneered the use of encryption years before others were even discussing it. Now, companies like Apple and Google are picking a “big public fight” with the NSA – something that has not ended well for BlackBerry, Baker warned.
While I don’t doubt the fact that BlackBerry probably lost out on some markets due to its use of encryption, to say that it was the main reason for their demise is a bit of a stretch.
Instead, I think most would agree that BlackBerry simply didn’t keep up with the rapidly changing mobile market. Consumers wanted innovative smartphones and a vast ecosystem of apps, something that Apple, Google and others have been able to deliver over the years.
BlackBerry still has clients in healthcare and government sectors but the company is nowhere near as popular or valuable as it once was. A resurgence at this point would likely take a minor miracle or at the very least, a tremendous amount of innovation.