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(13-08-2013, 09:30 AM)CityFarmer Wrote: [ -> ]It may be a good news for existing shareholders...

BlackBerry to consider putting itself up for sale

TORONTO - Struggling smartphone maker BlackBerry will consider selling itself.

The Canadian company said today (Aug 12) its board has formed a special committee to explore “strategic alternatives” in hopes of boosting the adoption of its BlackBerry 10 smartphone.

The company said its options could include joint ventures, partnerships or other moves.

Following-up news report...

Blackberry’s desperate bid for survival may not bear fruit

TORONTO — BlackBerry’s decision to hang up the “For Sale” sign has met with muted reaction, with little indication there will be many potential buyers for a company which has fallen spectacularly after previously being a darling of the tech world.

BlackBerry said on Monday it is exploring strategic options, which could involve the company being sold, taken private or broken up.

The move comes after its newest range of smartphones, launched earlier this year, failed to catch the interest of buyers, especially in the key North American market.

According to figures released last week by the International Data Corporation, BlackBerry’s market share in the United States is less than 3 per cent, down from almost 50 per cent in 2009.
BlackBerry is not a device company like HTC. BlackBerry is also a software and service company.
(14-08-2013, 10:12 AM)freedom Wrote: [ -> ]BlackBerry is not a device company like HTC. BlackBerry is also a software and service company.

Yes, I agree.

The next question is what are the weightage of software and service segments versus the mobile phone one?

I didn't take a look at the AR, but my guess is mobile phone business should has substantial weightage and is an integral part of other businesses. I might be wrong...

(not vested)
if we are looking at revenue side, sure, device revenue is a big part of the total revenue. but in terms of profit, software and service is quite a balanced contributor of profit.
Coming from a business strategy point of view and having been a BB user, I have always had the impression that BB was a company whose competitive advantage lied in its security. To my knowledge, please feel free to correct me, BB is the only phone company with its own server that is not accessible by government officials in the countries they operated. This should have been the main strength the company tries to sell itself instead of competing with other mass market products? Just recall the commotion a few years ago when Saudi Arabia wanted to monitor their data and BB had to give in. (

It have come to the point whereby security can longer be its selling point due to compliance concerns. I think if this main competitive advantage fails to exist in this age where terrorism threats and national security are of utmost priority, then BB may be a new case study for a firm that has lost relevance in most of its business segments.

The business of data security is tough these days.
the market for security is much smaller compared to mass market. It is okay for Blackberry in 2006 or 2007 because the market for smartphone was small at that time. Nowadays, smartphone is too huge a market and secured smartphone is a niche which might not be enough for even just Blackberry alone.
This article has taken Blackberry, in the case study... I concur with the view...

How not to stay on top

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the dominant computing device used in corporate America was a word processor made by Wang Laboratories. The company’s Founder and Chief Executive was An Wang, a brilliant Chinese immigrant who was widely hailed as a visionary entrepreneur and philanthropist.

At Wang’s peak, some 80 per cent of the top 2,000 corporations used the company’s word processors, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. The company’s rise was so heady that Wang used to keep a chart in his desk that showed when he expected to overtake the mighty IBM — sometime in the mid-1990s.

But then IBM created its first personal computer, and that was the beginning of the end for Wang. He and his company stubbornly clung to the notion that the main thing people wanted from their computers was word processing; even after the company realised its error — by which time Wang had foolishly installed his son as Chief Executive — it always seemed to be a step behind. By 1992, Wang Laboratories was bankrupt, done in by competitors that understood that people wanted their computers to be more than glorified typewriters.

Twenty-five years after Wang Laboratories dominated with its word processor, a Canadian company then called Research in Motion was the dominant player in its corner of technology: The cellphone and wireless email market. The company, of course, made the BlackBerry. It is a remarkably similar story.


In its heyday, the BlackBerry was so popular that it was nicknamed the CrackBerry. Chief technology officers loved its emphasis on security. Corporate employees loved its compact keyboard, which they mastered with their thumbs. As recently as 2009, the BlackBerry had about 22 per cent of the smartphone market.

Today, of course, the company — which recently changed its name to BlackBerry — is in a heap of trouble. In the last quarter, it announced a net loss of US$84 million (S$107.4 million), the latest in a string of bad financial news. In the latest quarter, its share of the global smartphone market has slid to 2.7 per cent. Its board announced recently that it was “exploring strategic options”, which usually means it is putting itself on the block.

Just like Wang Laboratories — and thousands of other once-dominant companies that stubbornly clung to what they thought they were instead of what they needed to be — the maker of the BlackBerry has become an object lesson in the vagaries of capitalism.

It is not exactly news that it was the introduction of Apple’s iPhone in 2007 — followed by smartphone competitors that used Google’s Android operating system — that turned the BlackBerry from a dominant to a marginal device. But it’s a little more complicated than that.

To start with, BlackBerry’s Co-Chief Executives Mike Lazaridis and James Balsillie simply didn’t take the iPhone seriously at first — just as An Wang didn’t take the personal computer seriously. After all, the iPhone had a touch screen that made it more difficult to write the kind of long, serious, work-related emails BlackBerry users took for granted. The iPhone was a toy, they thought, and assumed that corporations would never let their employees use them on the job.


More than that, though, “BlackBerry had a huge installed base, and they were afraid to walk away from it”, said Ms Carolina Milanesi, a research Vice-President with the Gartner Group.

This is a problem that often plagues dominant companies. They are so concerned with playing defence — protecting what they have built — that they stand paralysed as new competitors arise with business models they can’t, or won’t, replicate.

As it turns out, it was true that the iPhone made emailing a more cumbersome experience. But it did everything else so much better that it didn’t matter. People were willing to give up some of the ease of email use for everything else iPhones provided.

BlackBerry had long thought of itself as a company that provided mobile phone and wireless email service. But Apple gave consumers a sense that they could have something more. In time, the iPhone became a more secure device, and technology officers succumbed to employee desires that they support it. The toy had become a tool.

In recent years, BlackBerry has introduced phones with touch screens. It set aside US$150 million to lure developers to write apps for its phones. Its latest phone has gotten some good reviews. But the company has been consistently one step behind its competitors. Although BlackBerry could conceivably stage a comeback, it is still not a good place to be.

Was BlackBerry’s fall from grace inevitable? When you look at the history of dominant companies — starting with General Motors — it is easy enough to conclude yes. There are companies that occasionally manage to reinvent themselves. They are nimble and ruthless, willing to disrupt their own business model because they can sense a threat on the horizon. But they’re the exception.

Wang Laboratories is the rule. And so is BlackBerry. THE NEW YORK TIMES


Joe Nocera is a business journalist, author and Op-Ed columnist for the New York Times.
Great Story

So was Motorola thinking people only wanted clamshells, or even much earlier, 6sigma products. Or Nokia didn't think mobile internet was important.

Neither did Kodak think digital photography could catch up with print resolution.

End of the day, it is consumer experience. And sometimes the hardware companies, especially Asian Tech, don't get it. They always think it is the gizmos.
Blackberry's offer on trusted mobile messaging service to other platform, is too late to make any different...

BlackBerry could spin-off messaging service BBM into new company

ONTARIO — BlackBerry is considering spinning off its popular messaging service BBM to form a new company, reports claim.

The troubled Ontario-based smartphone maker is considering options for its future, including a break-up or sale, but has already confirmed that the popular BlackBerry Messenger service will launch on rival platforms such as Apple’s iOS and Google Android later this summer, reported the Daily Telegraph.

Spinning it off completely, as the Wall Street Journal suggests, would allow the new business to operate with greater independence, but it would also pitch it against much larger services such as Skype, owned by Microsoft, standalone messaging apps such as WhatsApp and increasingly popular in-house options owned by other manufacturers, including Samsung’s ChatOn.

BBM is widely perceived as BlackBerry’s most valuable asset aside from its corporate email, BlackBerry Enterprise Server. The company is thought to be keen to position some of its services as particularly valuable in advance of any restructuring. Although BBM retains a loyal core of users, its 60m users are already dwarved by the 200m people who use the WhatsApp service, which currently works across platforms, and has replaced text messages for many of its young users.

“We have announced our plans to offer this trusted mobile messaging service to iPhone and Android users sometime this summer,” a BlackBerry spokesman said. “We have made no further announcements.”
Sales team is a line operation, which normally will not be "gutted" before support departments...

Blackberry ‘guts’ salesforce in HQ

WATERLOO (Canada) — Troubled handset maker BlackBerry has just laid off half of its United States sales team, said various reports.

Cantech Letter, an online tech magazine based in Canada, cites a source based in Waterloo who said the consumer sales team is “gone” and “enterprise (sales) is gutted”.

The source added: “I had 20 guys (from BlackBerry) on BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) from sales, and they have all posted alternate emails on their status.”

The cuts started yesterday (Sept 9) and are rumoured to hit the United Kingdom in a few days, added the source.

The rumoured layoffs in the UK came after a report from the UK’s Sunday Times said Fairfax Financial boss Prem Watsa was considering taking over the company, reported the Cantech Letter.

The Next Web said BlackBerry had confirmed to the Wall Street Journal that “a small number of employees were laid off” without committing to a concrete figure. The WSJ puts the number at “several dozen”, citing sources familiar with the matter.

The layoffs are part of the rolling job cuts that have been ongoing for several weeks, said the sources. BlackBerry said in March that it had 12,000 employees, the last time it had provided a total figure.

The cuts come after BlackBerry said last month it had formed a special board committee to review strategic alternatives, which could include partnerships or an outright sale of the company, said WSJ. AGENCIES
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