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Despite what the critics are saying, it seems that BlackBerry is off to a great start under the leadership of its new CEO, John Chen.

I remember back in the mid 80s when I first heard of RIM and the breakthrough technology they were developing. 10 years later, my stock broker calls advising that RIM was going public. Once the IPO was announced, I immediately bought shares in the company. Regrettably, I sold them shortly thereafter, though I more than doubled my money. The stock continued to rally, much to my dismay for selling, until it peaked at over $230 and split 3 for 1 in 2007. It’s been a downhill ride and uphill battle ever since; the reason, competition from the likes of Apple and Google (Android), It seems the owners, Mr. Lazaridis and Mr. Balsillie, didn’t take this competition seriously. They believed this competition was embarking on a path that nobody wanted and didn’t feel at all threatened. Unfortunately, this was a critical error that started the chain of events leading to BlackBerry’s current dilemma. Was it poor judgment, lack of focus, or perhaps arrogance? We’ll probably never know. One thing is for certain, BlackBerry is but a small fragment of its former self losing significant market share to the competition.

Just prior to the Holidays, I was in the market for a new cell phone. I visited several resellers and much to my surprise, not one recommended a BlackBerry device. The push was for iPhone and Samsung devices. When I questioned the sales reps as to why they didn’t recommend BlackBerry, they shrugged it off saying it was a dead platform. Not convinced, I purchased a Z10. Now I’m no technology geek, but, after learning the new gesture based UI, I became very comfortable with the device and began exploring its attributes. I was very impressed with the intuitiveness and functionality of the OS. Everything worked flawlessly and as expected. I was delighted that I can connect the device to my computer and simply drag files between the two unlike Apple where you need to do everything through iTunes. I’m not knocking Apple as we have an iPad, iPod and (daughter’s) iPhone. Having the opportunity to use both platforms first hand, I can honestly say that there are pros and cons to both. For example, I marginally prefer the calendar and contacts functionality on the Apple device but love the clock and email functionality of the BlackBerry. Many will argue that there are significantly more apps available through Apple compared to BlackBerry. This is true; however, have you tried looking through the countless pages of apps in iTunes? You could spend weeks and months looking at all the offering and be numbed by the process. Maybe I’m the exception, but, I don’t need all these apps, many of which are redundant and rudimentary. There are very few apps, other than what’s already included in the phone, that are of interest to me and those I managed to find in BlackBerry world. It seems that Apple, and Android, are fixated on quantity rather than quality of apps. Let’s face it, the majority of people who own these devices use them first and foremost as a telephone and/or communication tool and for that, any will accomplish the task.

Personally, I’m disappointed that more people, particularly Canadians, are not supporting BlackBerry. Sure they made some mistakes and fell behind the competition’s offering, but, is this grounds to completely dismiss and abandon them? Do they not deserve another chance? Canadians are innovative people and we’ve developed and pioneered many new and great products in the past. For some reason, we have difficulty sustaining them and often surrender to competitors abroad who continue to thrive and prosper on our coattails. Furthermore, it’s sad that our own resellers are not supporting and emphasizing the merits of BlackBerry products and highlighting their benefits. For example, BlackBerry’s infallible encryption and security, the only one endorsed by the US Defense department. Even Barrack Obama, the US president, refuses to part with his BlackBerry. The German government, after extensive testing, endorsed BlackBerry and exclusively recommends it to all federal agencies. With the constant threat of security breaches, identity thefts and the likes, this one feature alone allows BlackBerry to stand out among all others as the safest most secure device in the world. You can play all the games you want on your iPhone or Android device, but, I feel safe and secure sending out personal messages on my Z10 all day long.

It really would be a shame to lose this Canadian icon. BlackBerry is a true pioneer who developed the technology we all take for granted and enjoy today. Surely they deserve our respect and a chance to redeem themselves and restore their once great enterprise. As a Canadian, I will support them anyway I can and I urge all of you to do the same. Yes they’ve fallen behind, but, with a little encouragement and support on our end, I have no doubt they will catch up and perhaps even surpass the competition.

C’mon folks, take the challenge, compare berries to apples. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what you’ll discover.

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