This time, Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt has been spotted with a BlackBerry, not a Nexus. Some leading news sites have covered it with importance, as always. Die-hard fans of BlackBerry are probably counting it as a win, just like iPhone fans in similar incidents earlier. But, is the fuss focused on the right thing? I think it is not.
Before I go into an analysis, let’s look at the facts first. The latest revelation came when Schmidt was answering a rapid-fire round to the Editor of the Guardian at Google’s Big Tent India. He defended his liking for BlackBerry saying, “I like the keyboard of BlackBerry.” He also said that the iPad mini is “too small” compared to the full-sized iPad.
This sort of incident is nothing new. People at the top of Google don’t always stick to their own platform. Same goes for Microsoft. Ex-Googler and now Yahoo’s CEO, Marissa Mayer, has been known to use iPhone. Former head of Microsoft’s Windows Team, Steve Sinofsky, had every version of iPhone. To the dismay of die-hard Android or Windows Phone fans, no senior Apple executive has been spotted with a non-iPhone after the launch of iPhone.
So, what do these things tell us? First, BlackBerry is a good enough product to attract some top executives. iPhone is also a great product; no doubt about that. Second, Google and Microsoft are probably democracies to a certain extent, but Apple is probably not. Third, the leaders of the tech industry don’t really care about brands and would choose utility over image. Fourth, top executives at tech companies are not cut out for top-notch gadgets and features; they would rather choose based on real value of a product.
I would like to elaborate the last two points a bit more. One thing that is inherent in the last two hypotheses of mine is that people at the very top of technology are really not very tech savvy if you compare them with gadget addicts. For example, iPhone doesn’t have many hyped-out innovations like LTE, NFC etc in it, BlackBerry is definitely not a very widely supported platform now. But, were these ‘shortcomings’ really detrimental to your life, did those nifty features built into smartphones really enriched your life? The answer depends on which side of the ‘gadget addiction scale’ you are.