What the BlackBerry guys said as Apple ate their lunch

September 17, 2011: 5:48 AM ET

A collection of delusional quotations, courtesy of Business Insider's Jay Yarow

Source: Asymco

Touchscreen smartphones have finally taken their toll on the venerable BlackBerry. As the Asmyco chart at right shows, BlackBerry shipments (green line) hit a wall in early 2011 and have been headed south ever since.

Did Mike Lazaridis and Jim Basille, Research in Motion's (RIMM) co-founders, underestimate the threat posed by Apple (AAPL)?

You bet they did -- loudly, repeatedly and at times incomprehensibly. A few sample quotes, take from Jay Yarow's amusing collection at Business Insider:

  • Source: Business Insider

    Balsillie on the iPhone in February 2007: "It's kind of one more entrant into an already very busy space with lots of choice for consumers ... But in terms of a sort of a sea-change for BlackBerry, I would think that's overstating it."

  • Lazaridis on the iPhone in November 2007: "Try typing a web key on a touchscreen on an Apple iPhone, that's a real challenge. You cannot see what you type."
  • Lazaridis in 2008: "I think what happened was the amount of marketing and the attention (Apple) generated in the market -- the customers are now coming to the store and saying I didn't know you could do all that with a phone. And when they get there they realize there's a selection -- there's not just one device. And so what it's actually done is increased our sales."
  • Lazaridis on the iPad: "So the question you have ask yourself is when it comes to tablet, what market or what opportunities still it's solving, what problem is it solving, and is it just a replacement laptop."
  • Balsillie at the launch of the BlackBerry PlayBook: "For those of us who live outside of Apple's distortion field, we know that 7" tablets will actually be a big portion of the market and we know that Adobe Flash support actually matters to customers who want a real web experience."

You can flip through Yarow's full list of RIM quotations here, or read them all in one page here.

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Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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