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The rise and fall of BlackBerry
In 2003, BlackBerry was one of the powerhouses to the emerging smartphone market. Doubling its base to one million in just a year, every year from thereon in saw the Canadian phone maker's subscriber base rise exponentially.
Even during the height of the 2008 global financial crisis, while BlackBerry had the enterprise market nailed, many ordinary consumers were jumping on the keyboard-enabled bandwagon as the cheaper option during times of personal fiscal responsibility. And where others failed to grasp the "hidden" markets around the world — the emerging and developing nations — BlackBerry had that vast populous nailed down perfectly.
And then it started to go downhill when the other mobile makers, notably Apple, Samsung, HTC, and Motorola douse to the market with a number of killer hot devices that would eventually see BlackBerry users jump off the cart to its rivals. By 2012, the company began to shed millions of users and dwindle in employee count. After a number of poor fiscal financial quarters, BlackBerry announced it was considering putting itself up for sale.
In a year's time from now, we may be lucky to see BlackBerry survive as it is today. It's looking more likely that it will be split up and sold on for spare parts to anyone who wants a piece of its vast intellectual property and patent portfolio.
PC market in freefall, tablets crush sales
The PC has held up near endless jibes and fads over the course of the past twenty years — the last decade in particular. But when the new slate-like tablet form factor arrived a little over three years ago, little did we realize at the time exactly what impact it would have on the traditional desktop and notebook PC business.
Let's blame the iPad, first and foremost. Introduced by Apple in 2010, it began to eat into the PC market's profits and margins. Not just that, it reached a point where the fruit-themed shiny rectangle, which remains the most popular tablet device on the market, began to cannibalize the same company's Mac business.
While tablets and the rise of part-phone, part-tablet "phablets" are leaving their mark on the market that has for so long held its weight in the tech field, the impact is spreading far and wide. Chipmakers and hardware makers were forced to diversify their product ranges to hit all walks of gadgetry life in a bid to stay afloat.
PCs are far from dead yet. But exactly how long they'll live remains unknown.
Cloud, outsourced IT gobbling up jobs
The cloud began to really take off during the mid-2000s as this seamless, almost magical thing that enabled you to store files and access them from any device at any time. And then platforms enabled developers to host their apps on the Web, and make them available from the browser. That's when things began to really unravel for many working in IT.
Nowadays, practically everything is hosted in the cloud. Thanks for everything, IT support staff. See you later, in-house infrastructure. Sayonara, security jobs. Now relegated to managed datacenters, there isn't much of a need to keep half the staff companies once had. And for those running call centers and other technical jobs: why not just outsource it to foreign climes? India's lovely this time of year. And the assembly line robots in China seldom complain about the long hours or the working conditions.
We have to face the reality that many jobs are now extinct as a result of outsourcing to the cloud. It's also created many — in reality, we're talking about a shift of jobs rather than the destruction of the job market, per se. But at least you can thank your bottom line (and management, which isn't going anywhere) for the emerging trend.
Image: James Martin/CNET