Friday, 1 April 2011

Mike Lazaridis - Father of The "Blackberry"

Mike Lazaridis
Mihalis "Mike" Lazaridis is the founder and co-CEO of Research In Motion (RIM), which created and manufactures the "BlackBerry" wireless handheld device. He is also a former chancellor of the University of Waterloo, and an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Born in Istanbul, Turkey to ethnic Greek parents, Lazaridis was five years old when his family moved to Canada in 1966, settling in Windsor, Ontario. At age 12, he won a prize at the Windsor Public Library for reading every science book in the library.

In 1979, he enrolled at the University of Waterloo in electrical engineering with an option in computer science. In 1984, Lazaridis responded to a request for proposal from General Motors to develop a network computer control display system.

GM awarded him a $500,000 contract. He dropped out of university that year, just two months before he was scheduled to graduate. The GM contract, a small government grant and a $15,000 loan from Lazaridis's parents enabled him to launch Research In Motion.

RIM was the first North American company to develop packet-switched wireless networking equipment and systems, initially for Mobitex. RIM introduced the BlackBerry wireless mobile device in 1999, and its more well-known versions in 2002. 

BlackBerry has won dozens of industry awards for its innovation and many accolades for its pure usefulness. The BlackBerry is quite literally everywhere. US President Barack Obama admits he can't live without it. Oprah Winfrey declared on her show that the BlackBerry is one of her "favorite things." BusinessWeek put the case for owning one bluntly in an article entitled :
"No BlackBerry: No Life."

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