BlackBerry The Movie | Available For Rent On Apple TV+ & Amazon Prime

in LeoFinance3 months ago

A few weeks ago BlackBerry movie was released in theaters. I wrote my reasons why this would be a great movies to watch - BlackBerry - The Movie Is In Theaters, and finally was able to watch it. As I predicted the movie turned out to be great. Awesome story, great acting, well produced, and very entertaining. I highly recommend the movie. I didn't see it on main streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, etc. However it is available for buying or renting on Apple TV+ and Amazon Prime Video.

Spoiler Alert: This content will contain spoilers. If you haven't seen the movie yet and don't want to see spoilers please stop reading here. Feel free to return to share your thoughts after watching the movie.

BlackBerry is a movie tells a fascinating story of real people and events surrounding the BlackBerry, the smartphone that changed how we use our mobile phones forever. BlackBerry was invented by Mike Lazaridis, co-founder of a Canadian tech company Research In Motion. I really like the name of the company. It is a cool name for a tech company. Unfortunately, the company failed at living up to its name, and staying in motion with their research. They just couldn't innovate anymore. But before that they did some amazing things and that is what makes this story and this movie great.

Mike Lazaridis founded Research In Motion together with his best friend Douglas Fregin. It was a small company that worked on building modems and similar devices. What made this duo and the company successful is the strength of both founders. Mike was a genius, and was obsessed with the quality of building something, and Doug had unique skill of protecting Mike's interests and keeping the company a fun place to work at. However, as the movie presents, both were great at business and accounting. They had a great idea. Not just an idea. They had a solution. They managed to solve the problem many companies around the world have been trying to solve. The problem was putting email into mobile phone. They had the solution. However, they weren't able to convince anybody to invest in or partner with them. They didn't have the funds to make this possible themselves. At the same time their finances were in trouble and they didn't realize it.

This is when a new player enters their company. Mike and Doug setup a meeting at one of the large manufacturing companies to make a pitch about their new product. The executive who was meeting with them didn't have much of an interest in their pitch or product, and was distracted with other deals. So, Mike and Doug leave the meeting without any success. The same day Jim Balsillie, the executive that Mike and Douglas met get fired from his job. After that event Jim remembers the earlier meeting and decides to find out more about the product Research In Motion was trying to build. He meets with Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Fregin again. In this lunch meeting, Jim offers to pay $25,000 for 50% of the company and with condition he would become the CEO. Mike almost agrees to the deal, but Doug stops him. Jim leaves his business card and leaves.

RIM had a business deal with US Robotics for $16 million dollar to build them modems. However, it turns out to be a hostile move by US Robotics to keep a competitor distracted while they too were trying to solve the email in mobile phones problem. After Mike and Doug find out that US Robotics were playing games and were not planning to pay at all, and seeing how their finances were in trouble, they decide to make the deal with Jim Brasillie. They call Jim back and negotiate a deal where they offer Jim to become a co-CEO with Mike and get 33% of the company for $125,000. This become the first successful move RIM has made towards becoming a super successful company.

Jim, as disciplined executive and now invested in RIM without any other job obligations, dedicates all of his time in making RIM's new product and idea possible. They didn't even have a prototype yet. One of the first things Jim wants to do is fix the finances of the company and tries to negotiate with US Robotics to buy all the products the previously committed to buy. That is when Jim finds out the true intentions of US Robotics was to stall RIM, because they saw RIM as a competitor, they too were building a hand-held smart devices. This makes Jim realize they have no time to waste they had to move fast on Mike's brilliant idea of the smartphone.

Jim sets up a meeting with Verizon executives and in tasks Mike and the team to build a prototype in no time. In a very short period of time Mike, Doug and team were able to build a prototype using parts from various toys and devices. With a prototype in hand, Jim and Mike leave for what will turn out to be the most important meeting for RIM. I am not sure if this happened in real story, but the movie shows how Mike forgets the prototype in cab. Mike goes to get find the prototype and Jim goes to the meeting alone. At the end of the meeting Jim learns that cell-phone company also tried what they were trying to do and weren't successful and they were convinced it was never going to work. At this time Mike appears with the prototype, and as Jim is explaining him that they already tried and there isn't anything else to do, Mike's immediately understood the issue and starts explaining how he was able to solve the problem.

In other words, Mike had everything solved and his idea was truly the solution that all telecommunications companies were trying to solve. Then Mike demonstrates the prototype and everybody is impressed. They have made a deal. Now it was time to build actual product. And BlackBerry becomes one of the most sought after devices. Everybody seeing the benefits and everybody who could were using it. Now they had another problem. Their solution only worked if there were half a million devices using the network. Anything more than that would crash the network.

In the meantime, BlackBerry continues to improve its services and they manager to build end-end encrypted messaging system. This was the times when telecommunications companies charged for each text sent and were selling minutes. By having integrated and encrypted messaging system would remove the need for texts, and it would only be available on BlackBerry devices. This was a great step forward for RIM. At this point RIM is a successful company, BlackBerry is popular, founders are rich. However, they are still unable to solve the user cap in the network. Without the ability to increase the numbers of blackberrys used in the network, they can't sell more.

They face another problem. Their competitor US Robotics that created Palm Pilot offer a merger option to RIM, so they can combine both technologies. They are given an ultimatum, either agree for merger or else they would attempt a hostile takeover. Jim, agrees for merger and asks for a couple of months of time to get ready. This is how Jim was buying time to get out of this situations. The only way was to get the prices of RIM stocks go up, so it would make hostile takeover impossible. In order to do this, they need to sell more devices. To sell more devices they need to solve the network limits problem. Despite the warnings from Mike and Doug, Jim gives an order to marketing team to sell as many blackberrys they can. At the same time Jim tasks Mike to solve the problem. Mike response is that they can't, they don't have the engineers who are capable of solving this problem. This give Jim an idea to bring the top engineers to the company, and he starts his travels to bring geniuses from top tech companies to RIM. He offers millions to the most talented engineers. This strategy works. With more engineers onboard, Mike was able to figure out the problem and they were able to increase the network capacity to 2 million devices. In making this possible Jim may have potentially broke some securities laws by offering back dated stock options which becomes a problem later.

RIM continues its successful run for a while, until another problem emerges. This one they will unlikely solve, and become the beginning of the fall of BlackBerry and RIM. However, this wasn't a hostile take over or other any direct threat to the company. It was true competition in innovation. Apple has announced its iPhone. Something the world has never seen before. A touchscreen smartphone without physical keyboards. Not many couldn't see this at the time. Even Nokia couldn't understand why would people abandon physical keyboards. Just like Nokia Mike and RIM fail to see where the smartphone innovation was heading. Mike continues to be obsessed with keyboards. While he agrees to integrate touch screen, he still insists on keeping the keyboard. By this point Mike has changed. He used to be a humble genius at the beginning of this journey. Now he is an arrogant leader who was blinded by his own success. His breaks his relationship with his best friend Douglas, who supported him in this journey. Douglas leaves the company. According to some sources, Doug may have sold his shares in RIM during this time, which was at the top of RIM's success and may have made tens of billions.

Jim is distracted as well. He leaves all business for Mike to handle, and pursues his own obsession of owning a hockey team. He is busy traveling and making deals to purchase his own team. That doesn't work out because he tells his nemesis from US Robotics before the deal was closed. This backfires and hockey team owners all vote against Jim team acquisition. At the same time SEC is investigating RIM regarding the backdated stock options. Mike cuts a deal with SEC and throws Jim under bus. However, at the end of the movie it is revealed that Jim was able to get away without any legal consequences.

We all know how the story ends. BlackBerry loses its share in smartphones market and quickly become irrelevant and lost in history. At one point BlackBerry had 45% of the share in mobile phones. Now it is zero.

In the beginning of the movie, even before the events of Apple's announcing iPhone and becoming competition to BlackBerry, they show a video clip of Steve Jobs, who was asked a question about Apple's situation when it almost when bankrupt. Steve Jobs said something interesting. He said only thing that could get Apple out of that situation was innovation. Truly, that is what got Apple out of difficult times. It was embracing its core values in innovation. Tech companies like Apple and RIM are dependent on innovation. Due to the nature of technology any company in such space are destined to fail without innovation. Because there are always those who continue to innovate and ready to replace the companies to fail at it.

Mike, RIM and BlackBerry played a great role in the history of technological advancements, and retrospect it is easy to see how it was a necessary step. We can also see how without innovating RIM failure was a necessary step as well. Otherwise we would be stuck in a world with physical keyboards. It is interesting how both RIM and Nokia made the exact same mistake, and fell from the top and never recovered. Also, while RIM started as a general technology company, what made it successful was one product, one innovation, one solution. In a sense they weren't even a company, but one product. What they have achieved with product is incredible.

While touch screen was a great innovation by Apple and it became obvious by how it was adopted by people around the world, Apple success story wasn't tied just to this one innovation. Apple's brilliant innovation was in its App Store, making it possible for developers around the world to build their apps, games and products for Apple's devices. Not only Apple made it open for all developers, but also provided tools and resources to make creative ideas become reality. That is what made touchscreen smartphones great innovation. Initially it wasn't clear what was possible, but then crowd wisdom of developers and their talents made us all see the true potential and practical implementation of smartphones. Of course, it went beyond smartphone, but now it is all kinds of smart devices. BlackBerry was a first step that made all of this possible.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Posted Using LeoFinance Alpha


Blackberry definitely has an interesting story and they definitely pushed technology forward. Even if it was pushed forward by the idea of a hostile takeover, I still like how the owners struggled but they couldn't adapt after Apple came into the scene.

Thanks for informing us on the presentation of the movie @geekgirl.

I actually watched the Steve jobs movie last week, and i could see that jobs was actually after new development and upgrades. It was so funny that even job's board members where so scared of jobs new innovations. It is not because of the money they had to spend, but because of if It will attract sales in the market.

As for Nokia, i guess their failure started when they decided to use the Windows(Microsoft) OS for their Touch screen phones instead of the Usual Android OS that most companies like Tecno, Samsung, etc, started with.

I will be expecting more from this Blackberry movie.

No, Nokia was done by then. Microsoft deal and windows phones were last attempt in saving it. Before that Nokia had Symbian OS and used resistive touch technology instead of capasitive one. They were too arragont to go with android.

Well, i guess things varies from the different side of the world we live.
I think the Symbian OS device where quite popular here, but Nokia didn't switch on to android on time.
Windows(Microsoft) which was introduced before the Android, couldn't create much impact like what the Android could do.

Thank you for your review of the movie. I am going to put it on my list of movies to see. In the good old days, I had a BlackBerry, and I still think fondly of it. It was such a brilliant concept, and I wish they could have kept pace with innovation and remained a player in the market. I would have supported them.

I recently watched this. I have to say that compared to the trend of fake biographies (Weird and Flamin' Hot), it was a welcome and dramatic change. It's good. I recommend for anyone to watch. Definitely a good way to pass the time.

I haven't seen it yet but the way you tell the story is very interesting and the technology in it is very fruity. I'll definitely check it out in the next few days and let you know how I feel about the way we're looking now. The way we see the world is developing a lot and new things are coming in front of us and thus a few days ago there was a news that Apple people are launching a new product of theirs as we all know. Whatever this project has achieved so far has been successful all over the world, they are saying that price is expensive but people's must buying it.

You really gave a breakdown of the movie

It was always said that it was Apple and its screens that started the race, I have not investigated but I believe that idea was presented to many of us ^^

Its a movie I like to watch. Interesting to see how they were a big company, but sometimes a bad deal costs billions in revenue !

Great review, of the worlds biggest reminder why we should never stop innovating despite how successful a project is.
I wish the SEC watch and understand the repercussions that comes with fighting innovation. Most especially people with a burning desire to build. Amazing Review once again.

Hmm thanks for the nice story
Some people also believed that it was Nokia that started the new age phone
But I learnt something here

I just read your first paragraph and now I will try to search the movie on the internet and will watch it :P one thing I want to say, is this cover photo is original from the movie or you have made it?

Time to grab some movie and watch ☺️


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Love these stories. Bookmarked to return to when I've watched it.

No spoilers! :)

Thanks for the heads up.

I hadn't even heard about this movie until your post so thanks for the heads up. I know the basic story behind Blackberry and how they ultimately lost the dominance they had in the market to Apple/Android so this should be fun to dive into. I'll come back to the spoiler review after I see it!