By all accounts, Canadian tech darling RIM has a grim future ahead of it. Fallout from the network crash and dismal sales of its Playbook tablet are just two of a growing number of setbacks cropping up for the Ontario-based innovator in recent months. And as more users find alternatives to BlackBerry Messengers, the switch to Android and iPhone is taking place in droves.
But RIM didn’t always find itself in such dire straits. As many well remember, until June 2011 - when revenue began to plummet and jobs were slashed - the makers of the BlackBerry were the brightest beacon on Canada’s burgeoning tech map. A lot of RIM’s prowess has to do with the company’s roots in Southern Ontario, and in particular in the town of Waterloo. In its most recent issue, The Walrus magazine charts the unique growth of the mid-sized town from Rubber Capital of Canada to Silicon North, were some 450 tech companies now base their operations.
If you’re Ontario born-and-bred, the prevalence of the Waterloo region may come as no surprise. But whether you’re well-versed in the beginnings of Canada’s Technology Triangle, or simply interested in whether RIM does in fact have a viable future (and writer Don Gillmor certainly makes a convincing case in the company’s favour), “The Invention of Waterloo” is worth a gander.