As I suggested, Blackberry was clearly yet another example of how handset makers die, in my theory of ‘The Cliff’.

Once you step off a cliff at a mountain, you are going down, you can’t get up anymore. You will die. That is roughly-speaking my theory as I explained how previous large handset makers died, like Motorola and Siemens and Palm.

–Tomi Ahonen, December 19, 2016 [1]

I introduced ‘The Cliff’ theory of how handset makers die a few years ago.

–Tomi Ahonen, April 30, 2014 [2]

Ahh… The “Cliff Theory” or “How Handset Makers Die”.

  • The theory that Tomi eagerly tells he has invented in his blogpost March 30th, 2012.
  • The theory how phone market does not forgive failure, explained by Horace Dediu with Motorola and Siemens and Palm as examples, on June 2nd, 2011. (Also applied to RIM by Horace later, in July 2012.)
  • The theory of “How a computing platform diespresented by Michael Mace in October, 2010 and exactly using BlackBerry as the example case of it. Please note: Michael specifically said it is “like a sprinter running off the edge of a cliff” and concluded “So RIM is failing in infrastructure, key features and future growth. It just hasn’t reached the cliff yet“.

Other industry analysts refer to “the cliff” every now and then. Let’s try blog post from Benedict Evans from one year ago, talking about similar collapse of Nokia and BlackBerry, making the note that only one of them wrote “burning platform” memo, mentioning that the fall was like going off the cliff…
…but not taking the credit for the cliff term either. Benedict said – and I quote:

Michael Mace wrote a great piece just at the point of collapse for Blackberry, looking into the problem of lagging indicators. The headline metrics tend to be the last ones to start slowing down, and that tends to happen only when it’s too late. So it can look as though you’re doing fine and that the people who said three years ago that there was a major strategic problem were wrong. You might call this the ‘Wille E Coyote effect’ – you’ve run off the cliff, but you’re not falling, and everything seems fine. But by the time you start falling, it’s too late.

But hey, one can always take the credit for things they are not the source of, right?

Now we can see how Blackberry actually DOES fit that theory of ‘The Cliff’.

–Tomi Ahonen, December 19, 2016 [1]

Should we be surprised RIM “does fit” to the theory, considering it was created with RIM as the base case, over a year before Tomi presented it as his idea? I wonder what part of it is the part that Tomi takes credit for? But I suppose that if you have a good track record of making things up you have to make some more stuff up every now and then so that you can hide some inconvenient truths.