Tag Archives: Blackberry

The end is near…you were once great Blackberry

No surprise, the vultures are already circling Blackberry and looking to recruit some of their top talent. The likes of Apple and Intel are starting to make overtures to Blackberry workers.

This cannot be a surprise to anyone. After the Waterloo based company

Back when it was the cool phone...

Back when it was the cool phone…

announced intentions to being acquired by Fairfax things have continued be out of sorts. With rumors that the financing might not be in place. There is talk of Blackberry heading to the chop shop and having their parts sold off. Something this blog has advocated to happen. Click here for post. It is interesting that the likes of SAP are looking into opportunities. If SAP were to get some of their enterprise assets it would be a very interesting asset for the package application giant. Being able to instantly have a powerful and secure mobile platform could be the catalyst for some of SAP’s solutions.  Something to watch.

It is sad to watch, but the end of days seem very close for the once powerful mobile player. I might need to dust off my old Blackberry, wonder what it will fetch on eBay from the collectors!

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The end of an era – Blackberry goes private

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.

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Blackberry the death knell

No surprise, the latest news from Canada is that the once mighty smart phone manufacturer is exploring strategic “options.” Not really a surprise. Since the rise of Android as well as IOS, Blackberry has seen its market share take a nose dive. Add to the mix Microsoft who has resurrected its own mobile business and you have the perfect storm to seeing Blackberry taking a nose dive.

Another major shift that has taken over the smart phone market is the move away from email. Blackberry made hay with the best email platform, really the first provider who came out with email. For some time there were others in the space like Palm with their Treo (I had one before I migrated to the Blackberry). But Blackberry cornered the market by providing a secure and powerful email platform combined with handhelds geared specifically to email. Yet with the rise of SMS and social media (twitter, facebook, instagram…) we have more communication vehicles outside of plain old email. Combine this with our smart phones becoming our hub for banking, entertainment, gaming, travel, news etc etc and you have the perfect storm for a handheld designed for email but not for much more.

BB10...the last stand

BB10…the last stand

So now we have reached what feels like a final chapter in the history of Blackberry. It felt like the release of

the Blackberry 10 was a last gasp effort to try and right the ship. While it showed some early mild success, that path was short lived. So who would want to acquire the Pontiac of the smartphone?

I do not think any company will look to acquire Blackberry as a complete entity. Here is a list of the assets available – click here to read WSJ piece. I think that a private equity firm will swoop in and acquire the firm.

  • Leverage all that cash to pay themselves a nice dividend as well as leverage the company to fund the acquisition.
  • I could see BBM set free, allow them to try and compete with the other IM platforms. They already have a decent following and by all reports have a good system – we know it is secure!
  • The Blackberry 10 platform is not going to be acquired by MSFT or Nokia or Samsung…but why not Oracle or…gasp SAP? Why? These two technology giants could leverage the mobile platform to tie into their supply chain solutions, ERP, CRM or various other applications. One thing that no one would question about Blackberry is their security. Seriously, when secret service agencies such as the Saudis cannot hack your system…you have a good security system.
  • The hardware might be sold to the lowest bidder…may
    Biding their time...

    Biding their time…

    be someone who is looking for ready made hardware to get into 3rd world markets. But that will not be a cash deluge by any means.

  • The patents might be hidden assets that companies could be interested inpicking off.

Unfortunately for Blackberry the vultures are circling. It is a matter of who purchases the carcass and strips down the assets and sells the parts. Feels like what happens with stolen cars and chop shops.

How the mighty have fallen.

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Blackberry thinks what??? Tablets aren’t worth it?

Wow. In a recent interview, Blackberry CEO Thorsten Heins, claims that there is a limited future for the tablet. Really? He makes this statement as Apple generates more revenue from their tablets than Blackberry did from their entire business ($8.7b v $2.7b). This smells like a statement made in light of a

We hardly knew ya!

We hardly knew ya!

failed foray into the tablet market. This is just reflective of Blackberry’s demise – being a dollar late and a day late. Blackberry, like many of us, were caught off guard by the rise of the iPhone. Yes I will admit that I was a loyal Blackberry user and now I have no idea what I was thinking (I am on my second iPhone). However this is no excuse for Blackberry. Lots of companies were caught off guard, and many have been able to react and get back into the game – Samsung being a perfect example. Yet Blackberry appears to have their collective heads in the sand for example:

  • Secure email was no longer the #1 selling reason for a smartphone – apps were. But for the business world having secure communications remains important. Double down on the corporate play, rather than trying to half appeal to developers to create apps for phones that aren’t designed well for apps (late to touch screen).
  • Speaking of touch screens – stop trying to appeal to those who still wanted a tactile keyboard…with a phone that offered both tactile and touch. I will admit, again, that I resisted the notion of a touch screen keyboard. But I also was not going to try and use a device that had both. The Blackberry 10 finally has gone all in with the full touch screen…only a few years late.
  • We need a tablet…oh wait there is no future. Blackberry did come out with a, from an engineering stand point, was a good device the Playbook. Yet once again it was late and marketed as an iPad competitor. Maybe it should have been targeted to the corporate world as a laptop replacement. Get ahead of the BYOD wave. Get these into the hands of IT departments and offer them as an alternative to laptops. Blackberry remains one of the most secure systems…lean on that advantage.

I guess the latest from Blackberry is another example of “if I say it…it will be true.” Unfortunately Blackberry is giving us a wonderful example of a great brand and product that has been caught behind the curve. Rather than recognizing this they are trying to convince themselves this is June 28, 2007 and the term iPhone has yet to enter our lexicon.

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Blackberry…yes they are still around…with their new phone

So the new Blackberry 10 will soon jump into the smart phone battle ground. And it … surprisingly …. shockingly …. looks like an iPhone!!!

I have been on RIM’s case for a while now and this only reinforces my questioning of what is the future for the once mighty smart phone player. RIM needed to do something different, go in a radically different direction. Look at what Samsung is doing – they have a phone that is the size of a Kindle! But it is different. As well as having other phones that are bigger than an iPhone.  Even Microsoft has a phone that has very different look to it because of Windows.

This new Blackberry…looks like a wanna be iPhone. Now the operating system might new and “better”…but does that really matter? I say no. If you cannot get app developers to create apps for your phone than what does the OS matter? RIM needed to do something very different to try and change the trajectory they are on, unfortunately it appears that his new device will only ensure they stay on the course they have been on for a while now – the road to nowhere.

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How the mighty have fallen – can it get worse for RIM?

I read an interesting articleabout the downturn of a once powerful brand – Blackberry.  A product that once commanded 50% of the smartphone market is now less than 5% of that market. In only three years…what a precipitous drop. It has even been called out

Back when the Blackberry was “cool”

as not cool enough for companies like Yahoo!

The article points out the one area that is at the crux of why RIM lost its fastball – innovation. The lack of innovation when it came to creating and developing apps was the downfall for the once powerful icon. I can speak from experience. Yes I was once a Blackberry loyalist. When it was about fast email and a full qwerty key board, the Blackberry had few rivals. But that market shifted. Emailing is only a fraction of what we use our phones for these days. It is not even about web browsing, it is all about having access, via apps, to a number of functions. Whether it is to find a restaurant through Yelp, or reading the news via Zite, posting on Facebook, or reading the latest Tweets or fighting a zombie invasion through horticulture our phones have become a conduit to a cyber smorgasbord of tools. While this was happening, RIM continued to cling to their email servers and qwerty keyboards.

Unfortunately I am not sure that RIM will be able to recover from this position. Question becomes how will this story end? Will someone come and buy the Canadian company? Will they go out of business? Or will they somehow reinvent themselves and emerge from the ashes…much like another iconic tech company that was in the computer business and now is the consumer electronic darling – Apple.

This story is not over, but I am not sure RIM has a Steve Jobs type leader to get them out of this tailspin. If the following video is any indication, I am not hopeful for RIM and their future –

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Ouch – Blackberry not “cool” enough for Yahoo!

So rumor has it that new Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer is looking to make another interesting change at the tech giant. She is apparently looking to bring some cool and some Google like changes to the work environment. I will have to say that I am quietly optimistic and impressed at some of what she has done so far… I realize we do not have a huge sample size and providing free meals does not equate brilliant business

Not in Marissa’s world!

strategy. But clearly she understands that to change Yahoo!, and get it out of the dumps, she must change the culture. Simple acts like providing, as many other tech players do, such “perks” as free meals is key to the cultural shift. The other decision – not returning the cash from Alibaba investment – demonstrates a vision and a willingness to do the necessary.

The latest one struck a cord with me, the news that every Yahoo! employee will receive an iPhone or Android. Seems like a message from the CEO that everyone needs to think about mobility. Everyone needs to be on the mobile devices that are a cornerstone of any mobile strategy. Notice the one device not offered…yup the Blackberry. And to quote the article:

Yahoo should be innovating for the future, and BlackBerrys are not part of the future. They are part of the quickly fading past.

Ouch. Once again another example of the death knell for RIM. Good for Marissa to push forward some interesting ideas and force the Yahoo! culture to shift. Too bad another tech giant cannot grasp the reality of innovate or die. If Yahoo! realizes you aren’t “cool” you have trouble ahead.

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