R.I.P. – Blackberry Classic


Eventually, all things must come to an end. While it’s tough to see a favorite product discontinued, sometimes the market has moved on, but the product didn’t keep up. This is the case for Canadian-based company, BlackBerry. The company has announced that it will stop producing the BlackBerry Classic, one of the few phones with a plastic keyboard and track ball.

The BlackBerry phones long dominated the early smartphone market and were the device of choice for business people and leaders (remember when Pres. Obama had to give up his BlackBerry?). The BlackBerry Classic was introduced in 2014 to give users a physical keyboard instead of touchscreen, hoping to build market share among users who like pounding on a keyboard. But, no product lasts forever, particularly in technology, and Apple and Samsung have quickly moved to take over dominant positions in the smart phone market.

While BlackBerry does not disclose the sales volume of individual products, the company’s phone business has not been profitable and is declining.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the evolution of smart phones.
  2. For those who are not familiar with the product, here is a video review: https://youtu.be/SQhvc4Nxo_U
  3. Discuss BlackBerry phones and show the Web site: http://us.blackberry.com/home.html
  4. Next, discuss BlackBerry’s announcement to discontinue the Classic. Blog post: http://blogs.blackberry.com/2016/07/change-is-only-natural-a-classic-model-makes-way/?ClickID=c7w7iqxweizvq7xwzqeefxl4fnvqvzaezksxek
  5. Why is the product being discontinued?
  6. Discuss the stages in the product life cycle. What are the marketing objectives in each stage?
  7. Divide students into teams. Have each team draw a product life cycle and place various products and services into each stage.
  8. Next, have students brainstorm on how to reposition or revise products/services to that they can move into an earlier stage of the life cycle.

Source: Manufacturing Business Technology, New York Times

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