Blackberry CEO Predicts Tablets Will Be Obsolete In Five Years

from the i'd-bet-more-on-him-being-obsolete-by-then dept

When Microsoft was preparing its Surface tablet for the market, CEO Steve Ballmer famously -- and ridiculously --- claimed that people didn't really want iPads, but that they craved the Surface much more instead. While you have to respect a CEO believing strongly in his own company's product, there's also something to be said for CEOs who can be realistic. It seems that Blackberry CEO Thorsten Heins is going the Ballmer route on tablets. In a move that appears to be an attempt to pre-defend the company's likely exit from the tablet market (which has not gone well for Blackberry), Heins argues not that Blackberry screwed up, but rather than the market for tablets is dying:
“In five years I don’t think there’ll be a reason to have a tablet anymore,” Heins said in an interview yesterday at the Milken Institute conference in Los Angeles. “Maybe a big screen in your workspace, but not a tablet as such. Tablets themselves are not a good business model.”
That's the sound of denial that you're hearing. It is actually okay for a CEO to admit that his company screwed up (especially when, as in this case, he can dump some of the blame on its strategy on the previous leadership). But to argue that the need for tablets is going away without a more detailed explanation? That just sounds like rationalizing.

To be clear, I could easily see a world in which a tablet does become obsolete, but it would likely be one where we see a rise of eye-displays like Google Glass or further advances beyond that -- and there's no indication that that is the direction that Heins is taking Blackberry. Instead, this just looks like him covering up for the failure of Blackberry to offer a compelling product by claiming that the whole space is going to go away.

Filed Under: ipad, tablet
Companies: blackberry


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  1. icon
    Jay (profile), 3 May 2013 @ 4:48am

    The Ford of our day

    People believe that Henry Ford created the concept of efficiency wages off the top of his head. But they very soon forget that Henry Ford was a greedy miser who didn't have the expertise to create the automobiles that he got rich off of. He was only interested in making money and thought of low wages as cutting costs. Enter James Couzens who invested $2500 in the company. In 1903, Ford was paying his workers $1.50 a day. What Couzens did, with his wife Clara, was to tell Ford to raise the pay to $5 and allow the people to work 5 days instead of 6.

    What this did was create a middle class in Michigan, increase productivity and loyalty in Ford, and dropped the cost of cars from $800 to $400.

    The reason I tell this story is simple. Look at what Thorsten Heins is proposing. He is so adamant on just Blackberry products that he's forgotten how to compete and is leaving it. This is essentially the lesson of the Model T. You haven't learned how to innovate. You haven't learned how to produce better goods. No, you're not interested in what your workers may think are good products. You've just put yourself out to pasture.

    Here's hoping that Blackberry can come back from this but I'm not all that hopeful since they have been this way for quite some time.

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