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Losing the Signal

The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of BlackBerry
Narrated by: William Hughes
Length: 11 hrs and 29 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (762 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In 2009, BlackBerry controlled half of the smartphone market. Today that number is one percent. What went so wrong?

Losing the Signal is a riveting story of a company that toppled global giants before succumbing to the ruthlessly competitive forces of Silicon Valley. This is not a conventional tale of modern business failure by fraud and greed. The rise and fall of BlackBerry reveals the dangerous speed at which innovators race along the information superhighway.

With unprecedented access to key players, senior executives, directors, and competitors, Losing the Signal unveils the remarkable rise of a company that started above a bagel shop in Ontario. At the heart of the story is an unlikely partnership between a visionary engineer, Mike Lazaridis, and an abrasive Harvard Business School grad, Jim Balsillie. Together they engineered a pioneering pocket email device that became the tool of choice for presidents and CEOs. The partnership enjoyed only a brief moment on top of the world, however. At the very moment BlackBerry was ranked the world's fastest-growing company, internal feuds and chaotic growth crippled the company as it faced its gravest test: Apple and Google's entry into mobile phones.

Expertly told by acclaimed journalists Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff, this is an entertaining, whirlwind narrative that goes behind the scenes to reveal one of the most compelling business stories of the new century.

©2015 Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff (P)2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What members say

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  • Overall
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Fascinating

Let me start with the bad - as with most history books this one got a couple facts wrong. It attributes to BlackBerry ideas and innovations that already existed in the market. However, aside from those few details, this is an accurate and very well written book.

I was at the heart of the smartphone industry from 2001 to 2009. I studied BlackBerry as we competed against them. This book captures its essence, its strategy and provides great lessons on why companies grow and fall - even if not always explicitly.

This is a book I recommend to anyone interested in business, technology or strategy. What is even more interesting is that the story keeps going. BlackBerry has a new CEO and is executing on its cross-device management software strategy, as it just bought Goo Technology yesterday.

Recommended

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • shopper
  • GROSSE POINTE, MI, United States
  • 12-29-16

Good History and Business Lesson

Informative story that helps to understand the history of smartphones. Also very well read. The narrator has a clear and pleasant voice.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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I couldn't put it down

Any additional comments?

Having been in IT since the mid 80's, this is the back-story to events I lived through. I thought the book was well researched and presented. It might not be as compelling to someone who didn't see it happen first-hand, but I would still recommend it to anyone who has an interest in technology or business.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Compelling

I'm not sure what it was, but I found myself listening to this book even on 2 minute walks to the shops. Maybe there's an element of celebrity schadenfreude. Or maybe it was an underdog story. Or both. This will probably turn out to be a footnote in history, but it's quite a good snapshot of a little period which changed communication. Interesting characters too. Who knows how interesting you will find it, but I enjoyed it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Jd
  • 01-09-17

blackberry, the start of mobile messaging

great story about blackberry, the start of mobile messaging, smart phones, and the major players involved.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Wanzi
  • United States
  • 11-19-15

Fascinating

What a read. Hearing the story behind this unlikely success was just a gem. Hope the authors treat another subject with such care.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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When things get tough

Great insights on a true wireless industry player. Must read to understand disruption in action.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 06-13-15

The problem of staying ahead of the curve

This is the story of a Canadian Company RIM whose first office was above a bagel store in Ontario. The authors tell the story of visionary engineer, Mike Lazaridis, and an abrasive Harvard Business school graduate, Jim Balsillie. Together they engineered a pioneering packet email device that became the tool of choice for business executives.

At the very moment Blackberry was ranked the world’s fastest growing company, internal feuds and chaotic growth crippled the company as it faced the entry of Apple and Google into the market of mobile phones. The authors provide an overview of the phone and mobile phone industry and how it works with other companies that want to use their networks. It also provides a brief review of how data is transmitted on the phone companies’ networks.

The authors are journalist, therefore the story reads like a nonjudgmental news story that presents the facts. It is well written, entertaining and reveals the behind the scene information about RIM. The book also provides a good overview of the smart phone industry. William Hughes narrates the book.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Insightful

I thought this would be a doom and gloom book instead it was a pleasant peek inside the back story of how the world changed via smart phone.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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BlackBerry

What a roller coaster of a business' journey. I am BB fan, and hope the ride continues well into the future.