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Big Buzz Story nominee: RIM's downward spiral

If you add up the headlines, no one Canadian company, with the possible exception of Nortel, has garnered more ink, or done so in more stumbling-spectacular fashion, than Research In Motion.

The BlackBerry maker’s fall from grace was five years in the making – its now-ex-leaders dismissed Apple’s iPhone in 2007 as a mere toy, thus kicking off its decline from dominance.

But only over the last year did its slide truly hit monumental proportions as its stale product offering and continued delays to its next-generation BlackBerry 10 platform combined to fuel a near-total collapse in market share.  Under its new CEO, Thorsten Heins, RIM is in the middle of cutting thousands of jobs as it feverishly works toward the scheduled early-2013 launch of its make-or-break new smartphones.

In the meantime, its old BlackBerry 7 phones and PlayBook tablets soldier on in the dusty corners of retailers everywhere, as mobile-tech juggernauts like Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android increasingly define the consumer ideal. 

No one quite knows how the RIM story will play out, but expect business schools everywhere to strip mine this case study for years to come.

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