The BlackBerry has emerged virtually overnight as one of the most popular and necessary pieces of extended technology in the world.
The idea for the BlackBerry came to inventor Mike Lazaridis late one night when he realized how helpful it would be for people to be able to check their office e-mail whenever and wherever they happened to be: at home, travelling on business, or attending a hockey game. In 1997 his firm, Research in Motion (RIM), was just another small, high-tech hopeful with an annual revenue of $13.5 million and 180 employees making two-way pagers. The January 1999 launch of the BlackBerry has for ever changed the firm. Today, there are 3,500 employees – including 1,000 engineers – and an annual revenue of US$1.35 billion. Lazaridis represents the classic immigrant success story.
But RIM’s success has not been without controversy or setbacks. Lawsuits claiming patent or copyright violations have dogged the BlackBerry since 2003 and estimates of drama, continuing scrutiny by the patents office, new models every six months (70 percent of RIM’s revenue comes from the BlackBerry) as well as constant rumours about a takeover by rival giants such as Hewlett-Packard.
Much more than a book about business, The BlackBerry: From Cult Object to Cultural Revolution is a biography of a unique cultural icon. An icon that has quite literally come from nowhere to take over the world.