By George Dearing, AdVoice It would be an understatement to say that the BlackBerry has fallen out of favor with the mobile set. Once so revered and coveted that it was dubbed “CrackBerry,” it now commands only a fraction of its former market share. BlackBerry’s newest CEO John Chen recently said the company has a 50/50 chance of a successful turnaround and will focus heavily on business customers for the next two years. But is it too late? A report by The Globe and Mail suggested some reasons for BlackBerry’s precipitous fall — and C-level execs can take away four lessons from BlackBerry’s struggles as it attempts to reclaim its former glory. 1. BlackBerry (formerly RIM) missed the tablet train Seeing the big-picture technology landscape is a challenge for any CIO, but you have to wonder how BlackBerry missed the growing trend toward tablets in what was becoming a post-PC world. With such a beachhead in the enterprise–BlackBerry devices and enterprise-grade management software–the company should have been a shoe-in to pilot a successful tablet launch. Amazingly, not only did the company miss the mark with its PlayBook tablet offering, it hardly took a swing. The Globe and Mail report highlighted the PlayBook’s quick demise: “The tablet, originally slated to come out in the fall of 2010, didn’t appear until April 2011, and it failed to sell. It was an awkward accessory to RIM’s smartphones, and lacked e-mail, contacts and apps. Once again, RIM had missed the mark: Tablets that sold well worked as standalone devices, which the PlayBook wasn’t.” 2. BlackBerry was blind to the changing nature of work As we watched BlackBerry’s strategy during the last few years, one of the biggest head-scratchers was the company’s inability to capitalize on the corporate shift toward the bring your own device (BYOD) model. From enterprise tools to apps and smartphones, the consumerization of IT was everywhere. But, once again, BlackBerry missed a revolution–and a big opportunity. 3. BlackBerry overlooked the app economy It’s hard to imagine that a company so dependent on software would almost abandon its developer community at a time when key infrastructure was being re-architected. The Globe and Mail touched on how Blackberry again dug its own hole: “Software developers were left with dead-end investments after learning they would have to rewrite their apps for the new system if they wanted to remain part of the BlackBerry world. Many simply didn’t bother.” Further, BlackBerry underestimated the app ecosystem, one that would take its users further and further from their inboxes for communication. Social networks and other, lighter tools siphoned off some traditional messaging, but it was the app marketplaces and developer communities that really attracted users. and , with their iOS and Android platforms, noted the shift early, which paid huge dividends. As with (at least for now), BlackBerry’s app economy is paltry compared to Apple’s and Google’s. 4. While BlackBerry was focused internally, its competitors–including new ones–were looking at the outside market changes While BlackBerry was focused on doing its own thing, companies including Google and Amazon were looking at the market needs and busy building robust and widely applicable Web solutions. These companies saw (and see) hardware and operating systems as conduits for content and commerce, much like Apple does. What BlackBerry learned the hard way is that your competitors, especially in technology-driven industries, can come from anywhere. It might be Ford. It might be Microsoft. It might be Walmart. Indeed, the only constant today and in the future will be change. BlackBerry serves as a lesson for technology leaders on the need to adapt based on what customers need and want, but also to strive to offer products and services customers can’t even imagine today.