By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
September 17, 2011

A collection of delusional quotations, courtesy of Business Insider’s Jay Yarow

Touchscreen smartphones have finally taken their toll on the venerable BlackBerry. As the Asmyco chart at right shows, BlackBerry shipments (green line) hit a wall in early 2011 and have been headed south ever since.

Did Mike Lazaridis and Jim Basille, Research in Motion’s (RIMM) co-founders, underestimate the threat posed by Apple (AAPL)?

You bet they did — loudly, repeatedly and at times incomprehensibly. A few sample quotes, take from Jay Yarow’s amusing collection at Business Insider:

  • Balsillie on the iPhone in February 2007: “It’s kind of one more entrant into an already very busy space with lots of choice for consumers … But in terms of a sort of a sea-change for BlackBerry, I would think that’s overstating it.”

  • Lazaridis on the iPhone in November 2007: “Try typing a web key on a touchscreen on an Apple iPhone, that’s a real challenge. You cannot see what you type.”
  • Lazaridis in 2008: “I think what happened was the amount of marketing and the attention (Apple) generated in the market — the customers are now coming to the store and saying I didn’t know you could do all that with a phone. And when they get there they realize there’s a selection — there’s not just one device. And so what it’s actually done is increased our sales.”
  • Lazaridis on the iPad: “So the question you have ask yourself is when it comes to tablet, what market or what opportunities still it’s solving, what problem is it solving, and is it just a replacement laptop.”
  • Balsillie at the launch of the BlackBerry PlayBook: “For those of us who live outside of Apple’s distortion field, we know that 7″ tablets will actually be a big portion of the market and we know that Adobe Flash support actually matters to customers who want a real web experience.”

You can flip through Yarow’s full list of RIM quotations here, or read them all in one page here.

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