Mike Lazaridis is an American telecommunications pioneer and entrepreneur. Born on this day, March 14 in the year 1961, in Istanbul, Turkey, founded Research in Motion (RIM), the company behind the Blackberry phone. His real name is Mihal Lazaridis.
Mike Lazaridis was the son of an employee at the Chrysler Factory in Windsor, Ontario, Canada where the family had settled after migrating from Turkey in 1966. His mother was a seamstress and also an owner of a retail store. As a child, Mike was fascinated with science and tried to build a pendulum clock, rockets, radios and water heater. Inspired by his teachers, he actually designed a quiz-show buzzer system which he manufactured at home and sold it to his friends and neighbor for $600.
While studying electrical engineering at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, he won a $600,000 contract with General Motors to develop a network computer control display system. Not wanting to pass up the chance to earn money, he dropped out of school even though he was about to graduate in a couple of months. He never returned to the university since then.
Mike Lazaridis and two other partners formed Research in Motion (RIM) in 1984. Aside from fulfilling the contract with GM, the other most important aim was to develop wireless communications systems, a dream that Mike had nurtured since high school. But Mike did not want to limit the capabilities of his company and the divergent interests of his employees. With dedication and hard work, RIM came up with different products such as DigiSync Film Barcode Reader, modems, point-of-sale systems, and other electronic devices. At the same time, the company accepted research contracts for Cantel’s Mobitex, the first nation-wide public wireless data technology in North America. Later, it also collaborated with BellSouth on the same platform. Then it started work on the pager or a wireless PDA. The company was on the right road to more interesting products.
In 1999, Research In Motion came out with the BlackBerry wireless email service which it launched across North America. That same year, the company went public. However, when Apple released its own series of mobile phones, it was a downhill ride for RIM.
In 2007, Mike’s net worth peak at $3.6 billion but at present, he is worth less than a billion dollars. He is married to a woman named Ophelia.