These days, the news out of Waterloo is almost uniformly bad: BlackBerry‘s new line of smartphones bombed quickly after being released early this year, leading to about a billion dollars in losses last quarter. A failed takeover bid left the company with little to do but take on a huge amount of debt. And now John Chen, the company’s interim CEO, is busy reassuring customers that BlackBerry is “still very much alive.” (If you have to say it, can it possibly be true?)
But it wasn’t always this way. On Thursday, Bloomberg Businessweek published a sprawling oral history of BlackBerry, from its rock-star past (when it was still known as Research in Motion), to its Behind the Music-style and-then-it-all-went-wrong present. Here are the highlights, including a special appearance by Justin Bieber.