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How Not to Stay on Top - NYTimes.com
By JOE NOCERA
Published: August 19, 2013

Was BlackBerry’s fall from grace inevitable? When you look at the history of dominant companies — starting with General Motors — it is easy enough to conclude yes. There are companies that occasionally manage to reinvent themselves. They are nimble and ruthless, willing to disrupt their own business model because they can sense a threat on the horizon. But they’re the exception.

Wang Laboratories is the rule. And so is BlackBerry.

Wang went from an 80% market share in word-processing among the top 2,000 corporations to bankruptcy in about a decade, and BlackBerry of course went from inventing the cellphone and wireless email category, and utterly dominating it, to a a shadow of its former self today, with a “for sale” sign on outside corporate headquarters and a 2.7% global smartphone market share. What happened?

To rudely condense history, IBM’s PC happened to Wang and the iPhone happened to BlackBerry. At a somewhat more nuanced level, however, what happened to both Wang and BlackBerry is that when the storm clouds appeared they did not take their competitors seriously, they failed to understood what their customers wanted on the new landscape, and finally and most unforgivably they thought they knew what was best for their customers better than the customers themselves. More specifically, both firms thought their core customers were mistaken—wrong—to express a preference for the new, inferior arrival.
competitive_landscape  Wang_Labs  BlackBerry  blindsided  RIM  disruption  reinvention  failure  GM  IBM  iPhone  market_share  disproportionality  nimbleness 
september 2013 by jerryking

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