There’s no denying that BlackBerry (BBRY) made a series of strategic blunders after the introduction of Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone, failing to recognize the seismic shift of the smartphone market from business to consumer. The company also dismissed touchscreen technology, failed to sign up app developers quickly enough, waited too long to release its new operating system and then failed to recognize the threat of the BYOD movement to its enterprise market.
Outside of these issues, though, one of the most frustrating things about watching BlackBerry in the past several years has been the self-inflicted damage through simple failure to execute. The company chronically self-inflicts wounds by taking a seeming no-brainer and managing to mess it up with obvious design flaws, head-scratcher decisions, rushed releases and sometimes apparent ineptitude.
If Prem Watsa and Fairfax Financial (FRFHF) are successful in taking BlackBerry private, failure to execute has to be near the first issue to address. On one hand, being out of the public spotlight might reduce pressure to deliver quickly and allow teams to take the time needed to do things right. But on the other hand, when you lay off 40% of your staff in one shot — and that’s just the latest in a series of layoffs — there’s a good chance you’re losing expertise, potentially making it even tougher to avoid blunders.
In case you doubt just how damaging this apparent inability to execute has been, here are five of BlackBerry’s biggest blunders of the past several years.