Okay okay, Blackberry will not disappear from the face of consumer electronics, but it is facing its Waterloo and being sent to Saint Helena (for you Napoleon history buffs). Blackberry has to hope that going private and being tucked away on a symbolic island away from prying eyes will allow the once mighty company to rediscover itself.
But can this move help the smart phone manufacturer? Blackberry’s story is well documented. The pioneer of mobile email, it got caught flat footed with the rise of the iPhone and then Android devices. As smart phones moves away from simple email into the world of apps, texting and web browsing, just having a secure email service was not longer the “killer app.” The iPhone and more importantly the App Store open up a world of mobile tools that was ignored by Blackberry. As a former Blackberry user I remember trying to download apps on my device and being frustrated by the lack of choice, the amount of memory it ate up on my phone and the overall lack of user friendliness. Meanwhile some of my colleagues were zipping around on their user friendly touch screen iPhones.
So now Blackberry should have the ability to make some difficult strategic decisions away from the pressures of the public market. What should they do? I still think what I published a few posts ago is the direction they should head in, click here. Being private should make this process smoother.
It is always a little sad to see a once mighty company wither away, much like watching other tech giants like Digital, Wang, Compaq fall away. However it is a good lesson for the likes of Google, Apple, Facebook to realize that the top of the mountain is not a right but something that was earned and has to be constantly worked on to maintain (Apple probably knows this better than the others).
Good luck Blackberry…it was a great ride.