Too Little, Too Late For the Once Must-have Business Tool

he final logout has arrived for a device that pioneered corporate email on the move The BlackBerry phone, whose tactile keyboard once made it the business gadget no self-respecting chief executive could be without, has been consigned to history by its maker. Devotees – from the fictional Martin Lukes to ultimate power user President Obama – have assumed the “prayer position” and risked thumb strain to bang out emails. But yesterday, its Canadian maker finally hung up on its hardware division, after failing to rekindle the wild success of its early days. Although phones with a BlackBerry badge will still be sold in markets such as Indonesia, and possibly China and India, they will not be made or designed by the company that bears its name. In effect, the BlackBerry era is over. The days when legions of “Crackberry” addicts wandered through offices with phone jutting out of a holster on their hip while complaining about “BlackBerry Thumb” from typing emails, are long gone. The phone, which was as much a corporate status symbol as a Rolex, lost its grip on the office as more iPhones and iPads started appearing five years ago. It has been death by a thousand cuts for the phone business under chief executive John Chen, who has slowly unwound the company’s attempts to stay relevant in the handset market. (FT)

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