Gigaom

The year was 1999. Just when it seemed everyone who needed one was wearing an alphanumeric pager on their belt, BlackBerry(s bbry) changed the game with its first portable email device. Three short years later, BlackBerry added voice capabilities, turning its data-centric devices into early smartphones that helped show the world the power of mobile computing while spawning a highly profitable enterprise services group.

How could a company so ahead of the smartphone and mobile broadband curve fail to maintain its place in the market in less than a decade and be prepared to sell itself for just $4.7 billion in 2013, after being valued at over $40 billion in 2007?

There are a number of reasons, but to understand them, you have to step back in time to get the whole story.

Helping to create an industry

Getting email or surfing the web on a device that fits in…

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