How BlackBerry’s bid to one-up the iPhone failed

Reading through the story about the Storm, Blackberry’s attempt to top the iPhone I am struck by this quote about the iPhone from Mike Lazaridis:

I couldn’t type on it and I still can’t type on it, and a lot of my friends can’t type on it. . . . It’s hard to type on a piece of glass.

It’s both totally correct yet totally misses the point. It is hard to type on glass at first, but it also doesn’t take long for people to adapt. After all, people needed time to learn to type on the tiny keys of the original Blackberrys, it’s just that we’ve forgotten about that.

It might help to recall the classic blunder made by Coca-Cola with New Coke. The “Pepsi Challenge” had shown that people preferred the taste of Pepsi, or so it seemed. But what people liked about the sweeter taste was only for the initial sip. As they drank the rest, that sweetness became cloying and they liked it less than Coke. It’s important to consider how your product is perceived over time and not just initially. First impressions are important, but unless they’re awful people will overcome them if your product offers enough benefits.

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