BlackBerry used to be a huge name in the smartphone world, so huge that it almost became the generic trademark (think Kleenex or Frisbee) that would forever be associated with what a smartphone is. It was one of the first phones on the market that had enough power and flexibility to be an assistant, internet browser, and phone at the same time. It even got called the “crackberry” in its hayday because of its addictive qualities and the niche it filled that many simply needed to be filled.

In recent weeks, however, Research In Motion, the company that still makes BlackBerries, has started the quick decent into the Hall of Fallen Giants, such as the Sony Walkman and the Palm Pilot. While BlackBerry was once the super giant of the smartphone world, now it’s almost just a shadow – today, RIM dominates 10{7e4ee7cd997d36f6dec43befd6b19c37edf0959bbf61766e988f901dd91e96d7} of the smartphone market when it once commanded more than half.

A few days ago, RIM announced it was going to start laying off top executives as their stocks continued to fall and have hit the lowest they’ve been since 2003. RIM’s stocks alone have lost over 75{7e4ee7cd997d36f6dec43befd6b19c37edf0959bbf61766e988f901dd91e96d7} of their once upon a time value, and there’s no indication they’re going to ever recover. Industry analysts and spectators throw around the word “Microsoft” when it comes to the company’s future, and seem to think the only way to save it is to sell it.

If RIM can’t save BlackBerry, then the company will become the latest case study exemplifying just how fast an information empire can fall. In less than ten years, BlackBerry has gone from hero to zero. This has happened many times over the past few decades, such as with Palm smartphones and the Polaroid instant camera; the product hits the market, revolutionizes the way things are done, then quickly fades out as new inventions hit the market.

So, who’s next? Some same Apple may have the same fate, and within the next decade or two it, too, will be forgotten. Today’s tech economy is laying waste to those who don’t innovate fast enough, and knowing the speed at which to innovate is becoming less and less clear.

 

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