The Epic Rise And Fall Of BlackBerry

When Steve Jobs walked on stage in 2007 to introduce the world to the iPhone, it was not yet clear how much communication was about to change.

Research In Motion, the Canadian maker behind BlackBerry, was in high standing, on its way to controlling half of the smartphone market. With its addictive grasp on the corporate world (fanatics called it the “Crackberry”), when RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis showed the video to his partner Jim Balsillie, the latter had one thing to say: “We’ll be fine.”

“They knew the iPhone was a huge threat, but they didn’t think it would happen as quickly as it did, because the iPhone had so much capacity and drained so much bandwidth, that they assumed that the carriers would not be able to catch up with all the things that they wanted to offer in the iPhone – whether it was Angry Birds or YouTube videos,” Jacquie McNish toldHere & Now’s Jeremy Hobson. “That was just an impossibility from BlackBerry’s perspective.”


McNish and Sean Silcoff, who are both writers at The Globe and Mail, uncovered the story of the once-beloved phone maker for a new book called “Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of BlackBerry” (excerpt below).

Mike Lazaridis’ words would prove false, as infighting, a series of blunders and a refusal to accept how consumers expectations of technology were changing would corrode the strength of their flagship product, the BlackBerry.

“This company almost got killed so many times, and you just can’t take for granted just how absolutely predatory the technology space is,” Silcoff said. “Nobody will give you a break.”

So what lessons are there to be learned from BlackBerry’s mistakes and miscalculations?

“You can probably trust your rival more than your best customer, it would seem sometimes,” Silcoff said. “That might be eye opening for a very optimistic young entrepreneur who’s setting out into the world with a great new idea.”



What The Latest Roadblock Means For Immigrants Living In The U.S. Illegally

A federal appeals court yesterday refused a request from U.S. Justice Department lawyers to appeal an earlier ruling that halted President Obama’s controversial immigration program back in February.

The ruling comes as a victory for Texas and 25 other states that led the charge against the program that would protect from deportation more undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children, as well as older undocumented immigrants who had U.S. citizen children.

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson speaks with Texas-based immigration attorney Iliana Holguinfor a look at the ruling and what it means for those immigrants that the program would most affect.



Thousands Displaced In Texas And Oklahoma After Deadly Floods, Tornadoes

Torrential rainfall, flash floods and tornadoes in Texas and Oklahoma over the Memorial Day weekend have left at least five people dead and thousands displaced. The record rainfall comes after a multi-year drought.

In Wimberley, a town outside of Austin, officials are noting some of the worst damage, with recovery teams looking for as many as 12 people who went missing, eight of whom were in a house that was swept away by the floods.

Here & Now’s Robin Young speaks with Kate McGee, who is covering the story for KUT in Austin.



Irish Voters Decide Whether To Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

Ireland is holding a referendum on same-sex marriage Friday. Voters will decide whether they should change the constitution’s definition of marriage to that without the distinction of sex.

The change is expected to pass with more than two-thirds support, which may come as a surprise, since it was only 1993 when homosexuality was decriminalized.

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson speaks with Martina Fitzgerald of the Irish broadcaster RTÉ for the latest.



One Young Greek Explains Why So Many Are Leaving

As risk continues to mount for Greece’s financial situation, many young Greeks are looking to leave the country. Finding a job is tough, with the youth unemployment rate at more than 50 percent.

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson speaks with 20-year-old Greek student Alkistis Anagnostopoulou-Merkouri about her life in Athens and why she wants to leave her home country for good.