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Blackberry: The Inside Story of Research In Motion [Hardcover]

Rod McQueen
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 2 2010

They are?quite literally?everywhere. US President Barack Obama admits he cannot live without it. Oprah Winfrey, reigning queen of daytime TV, declared on air that the BlackBerry is one of her “favourite things.” BusinessWeek put the case for owning one bluntly in an article entitled simply: “No BlackBerry. No Life.”

Launched in 1984 with a $15,000 parental loan, co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, have propelled Research In Motion (RIM) into one of the largest and most profitable companies in the world. The reason: the BlackBerry. RIM sold more than 50 million BlackBerrys by 2009 and sales of the handheld devices generates annual profits in excess of $11 billion.

BlackBerry: The Inside Story of Research In Motion is National-Book-Award-winner and bestselling-author Rod McQueen’s fascinating and absorbing biography of not only the device’s incredible popularity, but a never-before-seen behind-the-scenes glimpse into its origins and development?and the geniuses who were its inspiration.

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Product Details

Product Description

Quill & Quire

Rod McQueen’s new book features a foreword by tech giants Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, co-CEOs of the Waterloo, Ontario-based Research In Motion. Typically, this would mean that the main figures in the book have, in one way or another, endorsed the author’s work. In this case, however, the foreword barely reads like an endorsement. In fact, the tone of Balsillie and Lazaridis’s corporate boilerplate-heavy foreword is reminiscent of Jack Donaghy’s blurb for Liz Lemon’s book, Dealbreakers, on the sitcom 30 Rock: “Lemon numbers among my employees.” Here, the RIM co-CEOs write: “Rod McQueen has interviewed a broad range of people and endeavored to capture many of the events and turning points that occurred during that time.”

There is no reason for Balsillie and Lazaridis to be so reserved: McQueen has turned them into the heroes of his book. The story of Research In Motion is undeniably compelling and genuinely inspiring, and not only to those who seek to earn unfathomable riches. Lazaridis, who is the central figure in this book (not the better-known, NHL franchise-seeking Balsillie), is portrayed as a hard-working engineering whiz with a unique vision who is ultimately rewarded (with unfathomable riches) for his efforts.

McQueen’s admiration for the RIM co-CEOs manifests itself in comically bad descriptions of the two middle-aged men, as when he writes that Balsillie “looks slimmer than his 190 pounds, as if he’s built to go where others can’t.” McQueen is also prone to Dan Brown-esque chapter-ending sentences that are surely intended to foreshadow and build suspense, but will leave most readers groaning. The second chapter, which includes a reference to the fact that RIM, while still a young firm, declined an opportunity to be involved in building what became known as the Canadarm, concludes with this: “After forgoing outer space, RIM was about to take the first tentative steps to a new frontier right here on earth.”

With writing like this and an overabundance of RIM-friendly sources, the book seems, at times, a bit like an in-house production. Overall, though, the book is quite detailed and will prove to be a very useful resource for those who want to study RIM. Now that’s a blurb.


“The story of Research in Motion is undeniably compelling and genuinely inspring.”--Quill & Quire

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read Finished in a Few hours Aug. 13 2012
By ignites
This is a great read, I read the book in it's entirety in a few hours. Although the book is a bit outdated now with what is going on about the company, it is still very relevant in understanding how RIM got to where it is today. I would recommend this book to the numerous of Canadian Tech reporters who cant seem to tell the difference between Nortel, Palm and RIM. RIM is a totally different beast, although post Jim/Mike era is not covered (having been such an recent event), it really brings to picture how RIM effect Waterloo Region and drove the BlackBerry device to what it is today.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This is not a book - it is a press release March 18 2010
If you're looking for a detailed, objective analysis of Research in Motion and the Blackberry you won't find it here I'm afraid. This book reads like a collection of press releases courtesy of RIM's PR department. This is not a serious book but more like a company-sanctioned puff piece. You'd be much better off by reading The BlackBerry Planet which will give you a far better behind-the-scenes view of what RIM is all about.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Insight about a Great Company May 19 2010
This is an amazing little book giving great insight into the history of the company, where RIM came from and why and how the Blackberry itself became so popular.

I'm not sure what the other reviewer wanted except for maybe stats, charts and numbers.... you won't find it in this book, but what you will find is the heart and soul of RIM and why it has become a dynamo in todays SmartPhone market and how it all came about.

It gives the history of Research in Motion and its' symbiosis with Waterloo University and the growth of both of them.

Once you've read this book, you'll understand why it acquired a company like Qnix. RIM shows itself ready and willing to blaze ahead in yet newer and even more exciting technological frontiers. Research in Motion is more, much more than just a cell phone company, and this book will give you insight into all of that.

It's also an easy and enjoyable read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.3 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Overall, a decent read July 23 2010
By R. Pokkyarath - Published on Amazon.com
I've always been fascinated with RIM; not sure why, it's perhaps due to a perception I have that RIM has depth, both from a technological and business standpoint. I've long stopped reading books that chronicles the rise of companies and have walked right past bookshelves that proclaim the arrival of new giants like Facebook and Twitter, but, RIM, of course, is different and I had to get it.

Now, the book is good and it starts well. It does give an 'inside story' about the company and does a fairly good job of providing an overview of the company right from pre-inception to where it stands towards the end of 2009; it covers the early business approach, the financing aspects and transitioning as a major player with the introduction of BlackBerry. However, towards the end it gets a little light and fluffy, if I may say so. I would have preferred to read more about the technological challenges RIM overcame (there are pieces here and there such as the single mail box problem, Show Low project) and a bit more about how they successfully navigated the market with all those big guys around. Personally I would have preferred the last few chapters compressed into fewer pages; for example, I mean, I wasn't really that interested in knowing all the specific charity contributions of the early team members; so instead of enumerating that it would've been better if something else had taken its place. But, in overall, it does give you a picture about how RIM became what it is today. If you are part of the Black Berry cult you might like it more since there is a lot of emphasis on the personalities.

PS - Einstein's notion of God is a bit different... "I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it."..."I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings."
I'm not expressing an opinion one way or the other here, but the author has tried to draw a parallel between Mike's faith and Einstein's thoughts about reality
2.0 out of 5 stars I guess more research was needed, rather than more compliments. Nov. 14 2013
By John Goranson - Published on Amazon.com
How could a journalist with 30 years experience publish a book in 2010 that completed missed Blackberry's looming crisis?--not even a sniff of it? The last chapter dismisses Apple by basically saying that there is no company, not Microsoft, not Palm, not Apple, that has ever or will ever come close to killing Blackberry. Oops!
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Business libraries need this! Sept. 19 2010
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
BLACKBERRY: THE INSIDE STORY OF RESEARCH IN MOTION tells of a generation enamored by their Blackberry smartphones - and follows its history from its modest appearance in 1999 to how it became one of the most popular and famous technology gadgets in the world. Research in Motion is the company behind the BlackBerry's marketing program - and this follows its rise and the key influences of two leaders who have set business industry standards through their efforts. Business libraries need this!
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars You'll be disappointed if you aren't prepared Sept. 4 2013
By Craig Schwartz - Published on Amazon.com
A previous reviewer was totally correct - this is written like a company press release. Also, it's not about the Blackberry device as much as it is about the RIM company.

You'll need to be able to overlook the continuous flow of gushing compliments the author gives the top two executives (for example, how one was in a minor car accident but wouldn't rush back for a business meeting until he knew the other driver was okay and the police had arrived). It's likely the two are indeed good people and smart businessmen, but the book is way over-the-top in patronizing them.

Having said that, the author's writing style is good and the details he brings out paints an interesting picture of the company's financials, funding, staffing, joint ventures and multiple product directions. The Blackberry isn't part of the story until you're past the halfway point. Even then, there's so much more about the cell phone market that could have been shared with the reader, but wasn't.

Business students might enjoy the "case study" nature of this book. Just be aware up front about what it is, and what it isn't.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Seriously? July 4 2011
By Don Craig - Published on Amazon.com
This is an extended press release.
There's no real point of reading this book unless you want to read about how great the top execs at RiM think they are.
Rod McQueen must be a wealthy man for selling out. Don't be fooled, this isn't journalism.
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