Blackberry OS is not actually dead yet. It's still making RIM money - for now. But besides that, it's as good as dead, and when RIM starts transitioning to QNX next year, it will be like the official announcement that BB OS is dead. I think between Windows Mobile, Symbian and BB OS, RIM had the hardest time understanding why BB OS is in danger. That is because while iPhone and Android were taking over the market and started hurting giants like Nokia and Samsung (before it joined Android), BB OS was actually rising with them. RIM has kept announcing record quarter after record quarter until very recently. And that's exactly why they never saw it coming. Actually there are 2 reasons why they didn't see it coming.
1) Increasing global sales
Before Android got into emerging markets and developing nations, RIM already had years of branding behind them, and they were there first to offer them "smartphones". Their BBM service also became very popular in these poorer countries with the young crowd. Word of mouth made Blackberries sell like crazy.
But that doesn't mean that Blackberries were competitive with Android phones. It just means they benefited from some kind of market inertia, that allowed them to increase their sales globally, even when their market share in their core market - North America - was declining fast. Their international sales blindsided them from seeing that it's only a matter of time before that growth starts trending down, when Android phones will be all over the place. They couldn't see, or didn't want to see, that even when their financials became better and better, Android was still a major threat to their future.
2) RIM's core market was in enterprise
I've noticed long ago that RIM was following in Nokia's footsteps. But there was one difference between them, which ensured RIM would follow those disastrous steps of Nokia with a delay of a few years. The difference was that RIM's main market was and still is in enterprise. We all know how slow things move in the enterprise market. There are still companies using IE6 right now, for example. This meant, that even if all the other, more consumer oriented, competitors would fall overnight, RIM would still be there a few years later, because enterprises would keep buying from them.
But unfortunately for RIM, their time is running up for their enterprise market as well. They had a few years to change what the outcome would be, and instead of preparing, they kept doing things the same old way, as if they were completely safe from Android, even while Android was already stealing most of their market share in USA.
They are starting to wake up now, but it may already be too late for them. You have to see these changes in the market as soon as they appear, and change course fast, not a few years later when it's already affecting your financials. It's almost always too late to act then. Android is already taking half of the world's new smartphone sales, and it might not stop there. It might keep growing for a while longer, and that growth will happen at RIM's expense.
In the next part, I'm going to discuss about how the newer OS's such as Maemo and Meego have failed against Android.