How I predicted the fall of Blackberry and Palm in 2007

This is a paper I wrote in business class back in 2007 that I happen to run accross while organizing some local files (as I move things to 100% cloud).  A lot of this info is relevant even in today’s competitive smartphone landscape as Android and Apple continue to dominate. Enjoy- JF

business week

Smartphones- Almost On Palms And Knees- Nimble Rivals Have The Treo Maker Struggling

If you think the mortgage industry is competitive, try analyzing the competition in the wireless communications industry specifically smart-phones.  Competition has never been fiercer.  Palm has been a long time leader in the market of smartphones until the last couple of years.  I actually have a palm treo 700w which I wouldn’t trade for anything.  This is hands down the best phone for business I have ever had.

The key to staying competitive according to experts is keeping on the cutting edge with regards to innovation, style, look and feel, technology, and software.  Blackberry, Apple and other manufacturers have done a good job thus far, but unfortunately Palm has used the same software, with minor updates to the look and feel of its smartphone devices for five years now.  Most of the selling features on today’s devices such as video, touch screen technology, media player, and camera phone have come standard on the Palm smartphones for years.  The catch here in this article is although Palm has been the leader in previous years, competitors are scrambling to take market share from the old leader and continue shrinking their profits.  Palm has had its share of problems and set-backs, and perhaps I can demonstrate some examples by using the Griffin Model.

I will continue to analyze the smartphone article in BusinessWeek utilizing the Griffin Model.  First and foremost, I believe that the environment and culture for the management in Palm headquarters was getting much too comfortable as being the lead innovator for their smartphone product which finally caught up to them.  They should have paid more attention to the inside and outside environmental factors that could have saved them from their current crisis.  I would suggest their management read “From Good to Great- by Jim Collins” for insight to this comment.  Next, one critical mistake that Palm made was not keeping on top of the innovation and upgrades to its software platforms for their phones.  This is critical to the technology dimension for a firm that can be the difference between millions of dollars in profits or losses, especially when the company has a product in a highly competitive and technologically advanced industry such as wireless communications.

The social media and cultural dimension plays a major role for Palm because of the nature of the cell phone industry as a whole.  People now have more cell phones than home phones.  Cell phonesalesand upgrades are at record levels because of the environmental pressures and highly competitive nature of the industry.  Perhaps an early strategic alliance with Microsoft should have occurred sooner, or even been made exclusively with palm.

In closing, Palm now has their work cut out for them.  If they analyze their company according to the Griffin Model and the management team reads my recommended book from above, I believe they will be on their way to saving customers from switching to the Iphone or Blackberry.

Reference: Cliff Edwards “Smartphones- Almost On Palms And Knees- Nimble Rivals Have The Treo Maker Struggling” BusinessWeek– Pg. (41) September 24, 2007.


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