Friday, August 30, 2013

Conspiracy: As Sure as Kilimanjaro Rises Like Olympus Above the Serengeti

I am a Blackberry guy.  This is known.  Unlike Android Guys or iphone People...  We Blackberry guys tend to follow things a little more closely.  And I want to take a moment to show a very interesting coincidence.

Before that though... a sit rep.

Right now most of you know the Blackberry is having trouble.  They've had year after year of bad news followed by bad news.  Outdated products... terrible reviews... terrible press... stocks have plummeted and every quarter it seems its always more bad news.

US sales went into the toilet... and have only moderately recovered with the new BB10 phones.  In fact the latest is... that the Q10 isn't selling at all and yet again... we have news stories out saying Blackberry is doomed.  Now this is odd... because the BB10 phones like the Z10 are actually out-selling Samsung's Galaxy phones and iphones in europe, particularly France and Germany.  BB10 has also had really strong showings in Africa and in the UK and obviously Canada.

The outlier is the US.


Well... I have this theory....  

So have you ever heard of Prism?  You know the thing that Snowden guy was all in a huff about that those crazy libertarians post angry rants about on Facebook?   Well it turns out that PRISM was created by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 Amendments Act of 2008.  Take a moment and read up a little on that.

See that date?   The act was signed on 07-10-2008.  Remember that.

Now... lets get back to Blackberry... or if we go back to 2008... RIM.   RIM had a really good 2007.  The company was growing... products were being released and selling well.  They even had a big 3-1 stock split.  I need to point this out because you probably don't remember that RIM was ever anything but a failure.  They've been getting beat up in the press and on the stock market for so long... I'm pretty sure most of you think its just always been that way.  It hasn't.  In fact... there was a radical change.

Let's go back to Prism so I can tie all this together.  You all know what PRISM does.  It gives the NSA access to online activity.  Well it turns out pretty much everyone went along with the whole PRISM scheme...   except RIM.

RIM said no.  Blackberry security would not be sacrificed for PRISM.

On May 30th, 2008...  RIM's stock was trading at $139 per share.

Remember that date from earlier?

By September 30th... RIM's stock was at $68 per share.  By November 30th of 2008 it was down to $42 per share.

And when did the stock crash start?  07/10/2008.

What I am suggesting is straight up retaliatory market manipulation by the US government.  I believe RIMM refused to play by the US Government's rules... and the US Government effectively declared war on RIMM.   For a long time I've wondered about the disconnect between the product in my hand and perception of the product among the general public.  When I was using my Torch 2 had found that people would be shocked to learn that it could surf the web at all.  Recently the CEO of yahoo even said that Blackberry's weren't even smartphones.

And why, if those perceptions are accurate, are these useless non-smart phones selling so much better over-seas than they do here in America?


Why indeed.

One must conclude that either one of the most innovative and respected tech giants in the world turned totally incompetent and everyone realized it at the same time...

or...  Something else happened.


Josh said...

Dread, is that you?

Nate said...

1) Aliens are not involved.

2) Masons are not involved.

3) Factually Verifiable Events are included.

4) Reagan Policies are not predicted to Save the Day.

5) Veterans Today is not sighted.

there. 4 ways you know it doesn't involve Dread.

Nate said...

Sorry.. 5 ways. I seem to have turned into Arthur... King of the Brittains for a minute.

Susan said...

I thought the feds always manipulated the stock market./s

After the scandals regarding the IRS, NSA, Benghazi and any others I may have forgotten, to find out that the WH manipulated the stock market in some kind of sick and petty revenge, it is going to take a lot more than this to shock my any more.

On the other hand, given Obama's deep affection for his BB, it does surprise me that he would harm its maker. We will know the truth if we find he has transferred his affections to a new phone to love.

Susan said...

Love reason #3.

But are you sure about reason #2?/s

Nate said...

Obama actually loves his iphone. When he first got into office he said he would refuse to carry the blackberry. Obviously the security people explained things to him. I don't know if he ever decided he liked the blackberry or not.

jmyron said...

Nate, I disagree with your premise for two reasons.

First, the blackberry isn't inherently less susceptible to PRISM surveillance than an android or an iPhone. Communication between the handset and Blackberry's or Google's or Apple's servers are securely encrypted. The trouble starts when the emails leave their respective networks. Email protocol was never designed with security in mind and if you can intercept the messages, you can read them.

Second, I think that blackberry's decline is due mostly to their own complacency. They waited too long to bring an actual smart phone to market. By the time they did, the market was already saturated.

Raggededge said...

Man, you and Karl Denninger and your love for BBRY. I've used Blackberries since the 7200 series. They are great devices for messaging and such. However, Apple and Google have convinced the world that those things are not important and that your phone is actually for playing Angry Birds.

BBRY finally gets BB10 out the door, after years of delays and now it has no apps. Sure, you can sideload, but why bother if you can just buy an Android device?

Nate said...

"First, the blackberry isn't inherently less susceptible to PRISM surveillance than an android or an iPhone. Communication between the handset and Blackberry's or Google's or Apple's servers are securely encrypted."

The problem isn't that blackberry prevents PRISM.

RIM was the only company that didn't turn over everything instantly.

RIM made them work for it.

Nate said...


The problem this is the claim that BB10 has almost no apps.

It has tons more apps than Apple had when it launched the iPhone.

And yes.. Blackberry has actually had Angry Birds for years.

This just furthers my point that perception is not matched by reality... and there should be some explanation for that.

Nate said...

The fact of the matter is... The new blackberrys are better media consumption devices than the apple products are.

They surf better. They have better displays. Games look amazing.

But no one knows it.

The press keeps reporting the opposite.

Raggededge said...


The problem is, by now people are locked into their app ecosystem. If you have been an iSheep or Android user for any length of time, you have a significant investment in paid apps. Changing platforms means you get to pay all over again for those same apps.

Saying that BBRY has more apps then when the iphone first launched is a real stretch. There were NO apps when the iPhone lauched. Apple is the one that created the app ecosystem. You know things are bad for BBRY when porting apps to BB10 is trivial and app developers still won't do it.

Oh well, I'll continue to use my Q10 until I'm forced to use something different.

jmyron said...

Nate, PRISM isn't about google or microsoft or blackberry "handing over" data to the NSA. PRISM is the NSA installing itself in the tier one ISPs and logging all of the data going through their routers.

Also, the microsoft phones have angry birds as well (not to mention a slicker os and better hardware), and they can't make any headway in the smartphone market either.

Nate said...

Its really not a stretch. People tend to forget but Blackberry had a massive app ecosystem and it apple over a year to get their appstore even close to anything like what blackberry had because they had so much trouble getting dev tools out.

Everyone forgets though.

Nate said...

also... I should say I agree about Win8. Its a slick OS.

how bizarre is it that the two nicest OS's are on phones everyone says are "outdated"?

Raggededge said...

One thing about the PRISM thingy that is interesting. Supposedly, Steve Jobs told the NSA to blow it out their ass. So, if your theory is true, the US government should have tanked AAPL stock too. Of course, once Jobs was dead, Cook signed on within 6 months...

WaterBoy said...

Nate: They surf better. They have better displays. Games look amazing.

But no one knows it.

And that is 100% the fault of Blackberry because of poor marketing. I can't remember ever seeing a Blackberry ad on TV showing off these amazing features. Granted, I don't watch a lot of television, but I constantly see that ad series which compares the Windows Surface tablet to the iPad. Even if consumers don't buy the tablet, they're going to remember the Windows name when they shop for phones.

Yes, the engaged consumer will do research and maybe decide to go with the Blackberry because of its superior features, but the majority of consumers will go with whatever they are spoon-fed on the boob tube. That is what Blackberry needs to do.

Disclaimer: I have a Windows phone.

Vidad said...

I like my land line.

For a long time I used a rotary phone like this one, but older:

The problem was, you couldn't "press 1" for English, so getting through to utility companies, etc. was a pain in the neck.

Nate said...

Waterboy... Blackberry ads have been all over TV. They even had a super bowl ad.

Methinks because you have a windows phone you notice the advertising more than you notice the blackberry advertising.

Before the BB10 launch blackberry spent tons on a new marketing arm of their company. They dumped millions into it.

Does matter though when every publication out there... even the ones you're advertising in... are running you down.

jmyron said...

Yeah, BB pitched its new product line hard. Trouble is, they didn't offer anything really new. Its tough to get people to switch to your product if all you can offer them is equivalency to what they already have.

Nate said...

Because they offered the most advanced mobile operating system in the world.

it is really new. It ha capabilities that could never be achieved in iOS. and I don't just mean things like... actually views flash websites.

I'm talking about an internet of THINGS.

That is what it was built for.

I'm afraid people aren't ready for that yet though.

jmyron said...

Technical brilliance doesn't impress the average consumer (if it did, the radio would play nothing but Dream Theater) - just immediate utility. BB needs to demonstrate a killer app not just geek cred.

jml1911a1 said...

Doesn't BB email and messaging travel on RIM's own network, separate from the wireless carriers'?

jmyron said...

From the handset, email and messaging travel over a wireless carrier to blackberry's network. These are securely encrypted though, so there isn't any danger of them being intercepted and read.

So, theoretically, communications between blackberry users are still secure. (That's assuming of course that Uncle Sam hasn't sent a spunky blond in hipster glasses and spandex to crawl through the ducts at BB's data center in order to install some kind of virus using a surprisingly easy to use Windows Surface RT (tm) tablet or course.)

The trouble starts when your emails leave blackberry's network. SMTP is inherently insecure and can be read by anyone listening on the wire - like the NSA.

thimscool said...

This is an interesting post, and jmyron has done a good job refining it.

In my case I've tended to promote Android based on two considerations: 1) they open source it on a half year lag. 2) I hate Apple and Google is the strongest competitor.

RIM and Microsoft were late to the game. But they're in it now, with fine products. I wish them luck.

thimscool said...

This is an interesting post, and jmyron has done a good job refining it.

In my case I've tended to promote Android based on two considerations: 1) they open source it on a half year lag. 2) I hate Apple and Google is the strongest competitor.

RIM and Microsoft were late to the game. But they're in it now, with fine products. I wish them luck.

Daniel said...

I'm with Vidad. Pound two rocks together. Everyone gets the picture. If someone doesn't, put his head between the rocks, and try again.

dh said...


The only problem is that the US Government is perhaps the biggest single customer of Blackberry.

The more plausible definition is that iOS and Android both ramped up big time, causing Blackberry to be "not cool". Bring your phone eliminated the need for people to have a cell phone / work phone.

Exchange integration with iPhone was also licensed and integrated in this time frame.

David of One said...

BB Z10 really looks awesome.

Keep in mind that I do appreciate the S4, Note 3 and HTC One.

But when I had compared the Z10 against S3 and Note 2 the Z10 really seemed to me to have the edge.

How does it stack up against the newer models ... don't know.

I've been using BB for about 5+ years now. Both me and my bride.

I am eager to get something new but the prices are outrageous.

Because of Nate's review earlier this year and because I'm an ornery no good cheap son-of-gun I think that I can leverage the situation and get a GREAT smartphone for a cheap price. It is lecherous on my part.

Also, I did note a number of the tech rags ranking on BB hard early this year. Real hard. They were saying crap short of BB Z10 being outdated junk which is wholly and completely false.

I can tell you that I work with a number of level headed tech folk and I know ... like me ... if the price drops a little more on the Z10 we'll jump on it over the S4, Note 3 and HTC One.

We've actually been discussing it the last 3+ weeks and following prices.


P.S. - Well done Nate, I love the fact you put a reminder on the HTML tags. I'm actually working on putting something together for the Ilk in general but for now I can quickly recommend installing Ditto as it supports a broad array of data types plus HOTKEYS. Using HOTKEYS for command HTML tags and formats makes the whole issue about nice looking posts really easy. For more info checkout Ditto and/or lookup LifeHacker's comparison of clipboard tools. One more point if blogger comments wasn't such a piece of crap this wouldn't even be an issue. I've actually be checking out Opera's blog space and I think it is so much better than blogspot.

CunningDove said...

I'll just throw the full geek out there & say that I'm waiting somewhat impatiently to find out if Verizon (yea, I know) will be letting me put the new Ubuntu phone on my account in October... Here's to hoping...