Here’s an interesting column by Joe Nocera in the New York Times about what happened to Blackberry. In short: a company and product that was once on top is now probably out of business because it failed to appreciate and respond to a rapidly shifting competitive environment. Companies might stumble for any number of reasons–an economic downturn, a change in leadership–but the failure to understand the needs of your target customers is a death sentence. Good planning and marketing by a company includes taking a dispassionate approach to one’s own business and honestly assessing what you do and how you do it. Falling in love with your own product never works in the long term. Constant change is required, because the needs of your stakeholders are constantly changing.
I wonder what the leaders at Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, or other industry leaders think about when they read the cautionary tale of Research in Motion and the Blackberry. “This couldn’t possibly happen to us.”