BlackBerry has lost it relevance in the mobile markets, third quarter reports show the company having only 1% market-share. Now, former NSA General Counsel Stewart Baker, believes he knows why BlackBerry met a disastrous end – encryption. Baker, who has joined the insane attacks on Apple and Google for enabling mobile encryption on their operating systems, says, “protecting the privacy of your users is bad for business.” He goes further by sending a warning to Google and Apple; that their continued privacy encryption could see them navigating the road of RIM/BlackBerry.
“Blackberry pioneered the same business model that Google and Apple are doing now – that has not ended well for Blackberry,” said Baker.
The former NSA General Counsel suggested that BlackBerry’s encryption policy prevented countries from having oversight of communication data and they [BlackBerry] shot themselves doing that. “They restricted their own ability to sell. We have a tendency to think that once the cyberwar is won in the US that that is the end of it – but that is the easiest war to swim.” He said.
While Baker may be right about encryption, but that’s largely not the reason why BlackBerry failed. In-fact, the ailing company gave in to some of those demands in countries where it needed to have a stronghold. BlackBerry failed simply because the guys at RIM were pretty lazy in innovating anything. They didn’t improve in the last 10-years, their OS upgrade were accompanied with the same old and boring stuffs, developers were not happy and when they saw the potentials of the iOS and Andriod; they dumped BlackBerry OS. It couldn’t be any much easier for developers to change camps as RIM was so far behind in the OS game, they either had to find a way to develop an OS that would drop the jaw of developers and send shock-waves throughout the industry, or adopt an existing OS. Though, BlackBerry OS 10 and subsequent updates have really evolved, it is rather too late to the party.
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Now, I have a problem with Baker, with all the stories of NSA spying on people and Facebook saying request for data by government increased by over 20% this year, it wouldn’t make sense to advocate a non-encryption policy. It is ridiculous that Baker is supporting authoritarian states like China and Russia spying on it’s citizens. WTF!
Okay, Baker goes further by saying, the public doesn’t really encryption, because in one way or the other, its giving law enforcement agencies a hard time. But, that’s their job, and no job is easy. They won’t need to monitor everyone, like we are somewhat of a PlayStation game. C’mon Baker..
“But I’ve worked with these companies and as soon as they get a law enforcement request no matter how liberal or enlightened they think they are, sooner to later they find some crime that is so loathsome they will do anything to find that person and identify them so they can be punished.”
Baker should be reminded that Mr. President still uses a BlackBerry device and that’s only because of its strong encryption. Encryption didn’t really force BlackBerry out of business, they forced themselves out of business by failing to see the future. Just like Nokia did, in the early days of the original iPhone.