6 Mastering Strategy: Art and Science

Learning Objectives

After reading this chapter, you should be able to understand and answer the following questions:

  1. What are strategic management and strategy?
  2. Why does strategic management matter?
  3. How do strategic choices affect  firm performance?


Strategic Management: A Prickly Problem for Blackberry®

How did the once-dominant smartphone maker BlackBerry get crushed by Apple, Samsung, and other competitors in the mobile marketplace?

Formerly known as Research In Motion, BlackBerry once was the unquestioned leader in smartphones, at a time when email was the Internet’s killer app and its devices provided an excellent way to stay on top of it. BlackBerry was fully committed to hard keyboards, while Apple sought to be rid of them. At first glance, it’s obvious that BlackBerry was too wedded to its keyboard-based devices, while new designs and technologies cut into its business. Looking deeper, one could pin some blame on the Canadian firm’s dual-CEO leadership structure, as well as its inordinate focus on corporate customers. Its bid to recapture market share [in 2013] with the touch-screen Z10 and hard-keyboard Q10 fell far short. BlackBerry investors over the previous five years had seen more than 90 percent of shareholder value evaporate.

People who worked in business loved and demanded the iPhone, and the game changed. From being a byword for innovation, ‘BlackBerry’ became a staid, boring, functional thing. Once the iPhone rolled into town, followed by Android devices, BlackBerry was struggling to compete, and simply didn’t innovate quickly enough to keep its loyal following. The BlackBerry brand already has been pressed to near extinction by competitors, including the Apple iPhone and Google Android OS smartphones, led by Samsung products. Apple’s iPhone had about half of BlackBerry’s market share in 2008, and Google Android was in its infancy. By the end of 2011, BlackBerry had less than 9 percent market share, Apple had almost 24 percent, and Android OS phones dominated with more than 50 percent. The Z10 was hardly the start of the downfall of the BlackBerry brand, but it may be part of the final chapter (Lazarus, 2013; Martin, 2013).


Lazarus, A. (2013, September 24). How Did Blackberry Do Everything Wrong? Daily Finance. Retrieved from http://www.dailyfinance.com/on/how-did-blackberry-do-everything-wrong/#!slide=977039

Martin, C. (2013, August 13). Blackberry Up For Sale: 5 Reasons It Went Wrong. Tech Advisor. Retrieved from http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/news/mobile-phone/3463628/blackberry-5-reasons-it-went-wrong/#ixzz30CDvTuOD


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Mastering Strategic Management- 1st Canadian Edition Copyright © 2014 by Janice Edwards is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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