Blackberry – Three Depressing Charts – A Reminder

In January 2007 Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone to the world. On June 29 2007, the first generation iPhone sales begins. That moment also signaled the beginning of the end for Blackberry (RIM at the time). At the time Blackberry was the king of mobile and was largely responsible making the smartphone mainstream. Its users were labeled “crackberries” because they couldn’t let the device go. Remember that flashing red light in the corner of your Blackberry phone sucking all your concentration? You couldn’t resist the impulse and you had to basically drop everything you were doing to check your Blackberry “notifications”. Back then having access to your emails on your phone was a huge thing. Well Steve Jobs changed the cool formula. Blackberry became “your parent’s smartphone” and the iPhone was the “thing”. Emails sucks and are annoying. Texting or microblogging/Twitting took over. And the Facebook notifications took over the flashing red light.

BlackBerry’s market cap, more than $80 billion at its peak, is now just $5 billion. Its peak stock price, ~$150 a share, is now trading at ~$10 a share, good enough for a solid 93% drop. Who could have predicted that the inability to play Angry Bird on your smartphone could wipe out $75 billion in value? (By the way you can play Angry Bird on your phone now, but it was a little late.)

The charts and table below are there to remind me us to never buy in the mania, especially in the tech world. Blackberry was controlling the smartphone market, and to its credit it was an excellent phone. The point is not whether or not Blackberry was a good company. The point is to make sure you understand the difference between value and price. Also be careful of bubbles because you can’t time when they will explode.

I never switched to an Android or Apple phone. I recently swapped my old beat up classic Blackberry Curve for a new Blackberry Q5. The keyboard is fantastic and the phone is a charm. My friends all have the cool hype phone. They love it at first but then they see me with by Q5 and are very curious by it. Some they didn’t Blackberry was still making phones, others are intrigue by the idea of going back to a Blackberry.

Disclosure: I never owned shares of Blackberry. I never short them either.

photo (2)
Image Source: Bloomberg

Blackberry market cap
Image Source: Forbes/Ycharts

Blackberry market share 2006
Image Source: Ping Mobile


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