The Current

Insider accounts of BlackBerry's dramatic rise and fall

Research In Motion's Blackberry once ruled the market. But for all their foresight with smartphones, the BlackBerry was dwarfed by Apple and even the android. Today journalists Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff piece together the epic story of two men and one little machine.
BlackBerry maker Research in Motion's former co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis. "Losing the Signal" by The Globe & Mail business reporters Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff shares the inside story about exactly what went down inside RIM. (The Canadian Press/Dave Chidley)

This ad from 2008, is seven years old.  And it was a time when the Waterloo, Ontario-based company Research In Motion seemed poised to help Canada become a high-tech communications capital of the world.     

It was the maker of BlackBerry... the must-have device, the smartphone with the physical-button keyboard that brought email equipped phones into the mainstream of business, government, and tech-savvy consumers. 

But the launch of Storm was a gamble for the company and one that would ultimately lead to dark skies for a company that had had such a sunny forecast. 

Today, the company has rebranded, calling itself simply BlackBerry.  But it's a shadow of the mega-company it was once, and promised to be.

It's been a spectacular rise and fall... and we're learning more about exactly what went down inside the company, thanks to a new book, "Losing the Signal." It's by Globe and Mail business reporters Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff. They joined us in our Toronto studio. 

We invited Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis to appear on the show. We were told that Jim Balsillie was not available, and we are still waiting to hear back from Mike Lazaridis. 

Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton checks her Blackberry on a flight bound for Libya in 2011. (Kevin Lamarque/AP)
 Let us know if you still use a BlackBerry... and why. 

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This segment was produced by The Current's Howard Goldenthal.