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BlackBerry Officially Open To Sale

samzenpus posted about 8 months ago | from the so-long-farewell dept.

Blackberry 139

Nerval's Lobster writes "BlackBerry is considering whether to sell itself off to the highest bidder. The company's Board of Directors has announced the founding of a Special Committee to explore so-called 'strategic alternatives to enhance value and increase scale,' which apparently includes 'possible joint ventures, strategic partnerships or alliances, a sale of the Company or other possible transactions.' BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins added that, while the committee did its work, the company would continue to its recent overhead-reduction strategy. Prem Watsa, chairman and CEO of Fairfax Financial—BlackBerry's largest shareholder—announced that he would resign from the company's board in order to avoid a potential conflict of interest. News that BlackBerry is considering a potential sale should surprise nobody. Faced with fierce competition from Google and Apple, the company's market-share has tumbled over the past several quarters. In a desperate bid to regain its former prominence in the mobile-device industry, BlackBerry developed and released BlackBerry 10, a next-generation operating system meant to compete toe-to-toe against Google Android and Apple iOS—despite a massive ad campaign, however, early sales of BlackBerry 10 devices have proven somewhat underwhelming."

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139 comments

Once iOS and Android Licensed Exchange (5, Interesting)

ducomputergeek (595742) | about 8 months ago | (#44541449)

It was over for blackberry. Mr. CEO could now check his email on the exchange server, sync his calendars, and the rest without the purchase and maintenance of an extra (and rather expensive) Blackberry Enterprise Server. Once that happened, it was game over for Blackberry.

Once Android licensed Exchange it was much the same way.

Re:Once iOS and Android Licensed Exchange (3, Interesting)

dintech (998802) | about 8 months ago | (#44541487)

It might still make sense for Microsoft to buy them given that they are so successful integrated with microsoft exchange and the brand is strong. In blue-chip companies, Blackberry is still king.

Re:Once iOS and Android Licensed Exchange (4, Informative)

alen (225700) | about 8 months ago | (#44541569)

blue chip companies are in the process of rolling out iOS and android and dumping blackberry

If MS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44541687)

I think the GP is correct - there is a huge potential for MS to leverage this company and get it on the cheap.

They could also merge product lines and somehow salvage Windows RT.

This could the one time where MS's old strategy of buy and conquer (or whatever the meme is here) could not only help themselves (as usual) but save a company (and some jobs) that was the innovator of its time.

I think the Blackberry guys have some more in them but just need a sugar daddy.

Yeah, it may be selling their "souls" to the "Devil" but then again, they are faced with obliteration.

-Just some AC's 2 cents

Re:If MS (3, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 8 months ago | (#44542195)

As long as BB holds on, Microsoft has competition for the third place. In effect, unless BB completely disappears, it's balkanizing RT sales. By buying BB, if nothing else, it consolidates third place. From there, well, maybe it can take on Apple. I doubt it will ever really dent Android, which is too vast and on just about every price point for mobile devices.

It could do other things, like embed BES into Exchange, which has interesting possibilities. As awful as BES is to deal with, it has advantages over Activesync.

Re:If MS (1)

jbolden (176878) | about 8 months ago | (#44542465)

Nokia / Microsoft is focusing on the mid range primarily. They are aiming at higher and of Android's customer base not primarily Apple's.

Re:Once iOS and Android Licensed Exchange (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44542609)

blue chip companies are in the process of rolling out iOS and android and dumping blackberry

Which in some situations is a bad thing, given that Blackberrys (and BES) have pretty good security certifications:

http://us.blackberry.com/business/topics/security/certifications.html

Not important for regular folks, but if you're dealing with health data or financials, something that should be heavily considered IMHO.

Re:Once iOS and Android Licensed Exchange (1)

jbolden (176878) | about 8 months ago | (#44541573)

Not really. In some blue chips Blackberry is still in use. But they've lost huge share even in large enterprise and government.

Re:Once iOS and Android Licensed Exchange (1)

psergiu (67614) | about 8 months ago | (#44541597)

It might still make sense for Microsoft to buy them, close shop, sell their assets and return the money the the shareholders. MS does not want any alternative to Exchange and Windows Phone.

Re:Once iOS and Android Licensed Exchange (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44541661)

In the Corporate World there is no alternative to Exchange. Microsoft makes more money off of that than they ever will on the phones.

Re:Once iOS and Android Licensed Exchange (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44542035)

Unfortunately, there is: IBM/Lotus Notes+Domino. My company unfortunately uses that crap.

Re:Once iOS and Android Licensed Exchange (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about 8 months ago | (#44541627)

and the brand is strong

Is it? They've been losing market share steadily over the last few years, some of their newer products aren't selling as well as they'd hoped, and people are proportionally buying more devices of anything but BlackBerry.

Their PlayBook was a bit of a flop, and they've stopped providing updates for it.

Except for entrenched people who are still using it, my perception of BlackBerry isn't a brand which is still strong -- it's a brand in decline desperate to stay relevant as the smartphone market they created has taken off around them.

Re:Once iOS and Android Licensed Exchange (3, Insightful)

captaindomon (870655) | about 8 months ago | (#44541629)

In blue-chip companies, Blackberry is still king.

No, they are not. I've worked for three Fortune-30's in the last few years, and all three of them have moved to iOS / Android as their preferred platform.

Re: Once iOS and Android Licensed Exchange (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44542021)

so all you are really saying is that at least 3 fortune 500 companies don't use blackberry. don't get me wrong, i agree that it seems blackberry is on the out, but your anecdote doesn't mean much.

Re:Once iOS and Android Licensed Exchange (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44543519)

And managing those phones using BES at a $100/ year fee

Re:Once iOS and Android Licensed Exchange (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44542431)

Sitting at 1.1% market share, and still dropping, does not a king make.
http://bgr.com/2013/07/30/us-smartphone-market-share-q2-2013/

Re:Once iOS and Android Licensed Exchange (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44542635)

I just prefer they buy them then use any patents but kill the company. Makes Windows Phone marketplace 3rd spot more assured.

Re:Once iOS and Android Licensed Exchange (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 8 months ago | (#44541619)

It was over for blackberry. Mr. CEO could now check his email on the exchange server, sync his calendars, and the rest without the purchase and maintenance of an extra (and rather expensive) Blackberry Enterprise Server. Once that happened, it was game over for Blackberry.

Once Android licensed Exchange it was much the same way.

Arguably, it was a two-stage kill: Microsoft's late-and-largely-unlamented PocketPC/Windows Mobile (pre 7) implemented "activesync" ages ago to compete with RIM (indeed, after a brief period of attempting to eat Palm's lunch, attempting to eat RIM's lunch became their chief purpose in life); but that didn't help all that much because WinMo devices made Blackberries look like elegant triumphs of engineering and UI design.

Once a device that consumers loved, and an increasingly bearable and very cheap OS licensed Microsoft's dusty BES-killer protocol and brought it to hardware that people didn't hate, though. Game over, man. Game over.

There's more to (business) mobile than email sync (4, Insightful)

accessbob (962147) | about 8 months ago | (#44541679)

If you're managing large numbers of mobile devices then you also want to manage app versions, manage upgrades, and as far as possible protect you business info from user installed apps.

For all of it's faults, BlackBerry does all of that very well.

Is it enough? Only time will tell, but I wouldn't write them off yet.

Re:There's more to (business) mobile than email sy (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 8 months ago | (#44541905)

And you can't do that with iOS and Android devices? With side loading it is harder to control but I think the enterprise license from Apple allows you to do all of that. At $1000/yr with unlimited devices it is a reasonable cost.

Re:There's more to (business) mobile than email sy (3, Insightful)

accessbob (962147) | about 8 months ago | (#44542169)

Actually, no you probably can't, at least not to the level and granularity of BB.

And side-loading is a serious issue for some businesses.

I fear that BlackBerrry's problem is that the size of the market for their USPs is pretty narrow.
They are still way best in class, but that class is small.

Re:There's more to (business) mobile than email sy (3, Insightful)

Somebody Is Using My (985418) | about 8 months ago | (#44542741)

If you're managing large numbers of mobile devices then you also want to manage app versions, manage upgrades... BlackBerry does all of that very well....Is it enough?

Unfortunately, no, it is not enough.

What you are talking about is mostly something only large businesses are interested in doing. For the vast percentage of companies - the small and medium enterprises (SME) - the above is not a priority for them (arguably, it /should/ be). They want to minimize IT spending, which usually means letting employees use their own devices (again, arguably a more central control might reduce the overall IT cost but it requires a larger outlay up front, which SMEs want to avoid).

When Blackberry was king, these added features - app management, etc. - were nice bonuses to Blackberry's central advantage: email everywhere. But its not why most people used the phones. Now that other smartphones have (mostly) matched Blackberry in its central strength -email - , SMEs are debating whether those extra features are worth the cost. Increasingly, they are deciding it is not, especially since they require IT cost to maintain BES server to take advantage of those features. Better to just let the employees bring their own cheap devices and let them connect via Exchange. There's no need to provide the hardware (either by directly providing the employee with the phone, or indirectly by making the employee get his own Blackberry but balancing that out with better pay) or worry about support costs.

For large enterprises, the additional features of the Blackberry bring worthwhile benefits, and the extra cost is practically unnoticeable to them, so they will likely keep to Blackberry as long as they can. More, large enterprises already have large IT teams so BES is just another assignment for that division. But large enterprises comprise only a few percent of total businesses. SMEs are 95% of all businesses in the US and 75% of the workforce. Its a significant loss.

Once iOS and Android sold out to the NSA. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44541789)

Except that with the recent Snowden revelations, the security of the Blackberry is looking better and better especially with Microsoft and Apple being in bed with the NSA.

Re:Once iOS and Android sold out to the NSA. (1)

danomac (1032160) | about 8 months ago | (#44541909)

Uh, Blackberry has already allowed India to spy on encrypted messages, what makes you think the NSA isn't already monitoring that traffic?

Re:Once iOS and Android sold out to the NSA. (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 8 months ago | (#44541935)

what makes you think the NSA isn't already monitoring that traffic?

Or that BB hasn't done the exact same thing for the NSA -- once they've done it for one government, there is zero reason to believe they wouldn't for another.

Re:Once iOS and Android sold out to the NSA. (1)

danomac (1032160) | about 8 months ago | (#44542103)

Yes, that's what I meant - poor choice of words on my part. The NSA is likely already monitoring all Blackberry encrypted traffic. Posting half-awake doesn't really help either...

Re:Once iOS and Android sold out to the NSA. (3, Interesting)

jbolden (176878) | about 8 months ago | (#44542099)

In all fairness, BlackBerry made damn sure everyone knew that they had handed the keys over and created plenty of lead time so people in India could have alternative solutions. They handled this as responsible as they could have. That's not remotely similar to the USA situation with the telcos of secretly handing customer data over.

Re:Once iOS and Android sold out to the NSA. (3, Informative)

accessbob (962147) | about 8 months ago | (#44542321)

All phone manufacturers and ISPs have to follow the laws of their host country. For that reason BlackBerry was required to hand over access to BIS encrypted traffic.

However, BlackBerry's BES (business) security was not affected. Each enterprise keeps its own keys, not BlackBerry. There was nothing to hand over to the government. The government would have to go to each business individually and demand the keys.

It's not all about Exchange (2)

MikeRT (947531) | about 8 months ago | (#44541955)

BYOD is already starting to see push back from IT in a serious way because companies are starting to realize that at the very least they need some sort of "enterprise Android" they can control. You want to bring some crappy $100 Android phone that'll never get updated into a big company? That's the height of stupidity. That's about as smart as letting your employees bring their virus-laden Windows boxes and probably barely ever patched Macs (most Mac users I know don't even know what version of OS X they're using!) and use them for official company business on site.

Another thing that very well may help BlackBerry recover is that BB10 and BES 10 just got ATOs from the Department of Defense and the DoD's public announcement about the iPhone more or less said the iPhone would be crippled and managed by BES 10 anyway.

Re:Once iOS and Android Licensed Exchange (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about 8 months ago | (#44541971)

It was over for blackberry.

If that were true, Windows phone would have hammered the market however a sickening thud was all that was heard.

Android and Apple got to the market first while Blackberry was still sporting it's banal interface and relying on entrenched government contracts for it's bread-and-butter. That was a ridiculous short-sighted and lazy gamble by BB. They are now trying to change directions in mid-stream but everyone has already moved on and they are arriving at the party with an empty keg. BB should have gotten their ass in gear earlier.

Re:Once iOS and Android Licensed Exchange (2)

cant_get_a_good_nick (172131) | about 8 months ago | (#44542381)

Well that and competitors to BlackBerry messenger.

I remember hearing that BlackBerrys are pretty common in some poorer countries, mostly because of BlackBerry messenger helped avoid high SMS fees.

Now, you have Line, WhatsApp, iMessage, and more and more competitors to that advantage. Then, as BlackBerry market shrinks, it gets less and less useful due to network effects. They're talking about releasing BBM clients to other OSes, which may have worked at some point - cannibalize some sales in order to keep some relevancy in a shrinking market between phone releases - but now I think it will be too late.

Re:Once iOS and Android Licensed Exchange (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44542467)

Another company destroyed by Apple. Thanks Apple for making incredibly insane products!

Microsoft! Come on Steve! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44541473)

Come on Steve!

Buy it! You got that tablet thingy - in for a penny; in for pound! You got the cash!

Got to justify all that R&D on RT!

Think of it: "Microsoft Blackberry". "Now with Windows RT!"

An alternative to Apple's Universe. An alternative to Android's Universe!

It'll be GENIUS!

leadership (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44541493)

So the company that essentially made everyone want a smartphone (recall the crackberry) explores ways to die.

Something is wrong at the top of a company when they create a market then hand it to a rival without even a challenge.

Re:leadership (2)

captainpanic (1173915) | about 8 months ago | (#44541697)

So the company that essentially made everyone want a smartphone (recall the crackberry) explores ways to die.

Something is wrong at the top of a company when they create a market then hand it to a rival without even a challenge.

Nonsense. It is healthy economics at work. There are lots of huge companies that no longer exist because their markets dried up, or because the competition became better at playing the game than them. Their business plan was to have an innovative product. Now, Apple and Samsung have larger research departments and get products on the market quicker than Blackberry. Better try to sell off whatever is left now than wait until the next wave of Chinese smart phone producers floods the market and kills them off completely.

Remember that the task of the CEO and management of blackberry is primarily to satisfy its investors, not the employees. Continuation of the company is perhaps desirable, but not necessary.

Re:leadership (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 8 months ago | (#44541725)

So the company that essentially made everyone want a smartphone (recall the crackberry) explores ways to die.

Something is wrong at the top of a company when they create a market then hand it to a rival without even a challenge.

It's a more common problem than one might imagine: Massive success is certainly profitable; but it makes you conservative and risk-averse (you don't want some fancy skunkworks project, even your own, to cannibalize your cash cow, and your whiny customers want compatibility). It can also constrain your horizons: RIM effectively crushed all comers to the 'mobile email' market (WinMo's numbers were never pretty, even with MS pushing it, and Palm never really recovered after it became clear that PDAs would be network-connected, rather than intermittently docked, in the future); but barely even attempted, much less recognized as the looming future, cellphones-as-mostly-general-purpose-computers until 'email' had already become something that the competitor's markedly superior (as computers) phones could handle adequately by virtue of being a computer with an internet connection.

Switch to android (1)

hsmith (818216) | about 8 months ago | (#44541517)

And build hardened Android phones for business. There, was that all that hard?

Re:Switch to android (3, Informative)

jbolden (176878) | about 8 months ago | (#44541611)

Yes that is hard. Many of BlackBerry's best features rely on BBOS or QNX. Android doesn't have them. It would be a massive porting effort. Android is often open source so once they finished porting they would have to share what they wrote with Samsung.

Given that BB10 already has compatibility with Android application, what does Android do for them?

Re:Switch to android (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44541709)

Many of BlackBerry's best features rely on BBOS or QNX

It's funny how BlackBerry fans throw around the QNX name. QNX is a microkernel. What can the QNX microkernel do that the Linux kernel behind Android can't? (or the Mach BSD one behind IOS for that matter...)

Re:Switch to android (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44541927)

Isolate driver failures? Aside that, QNX is a real-time microkernel with guaranteed scheduling, so it can ensure that, say, your phone doesn't freeze up when you get an incoming call. Android can't promise that.

Re:Switch to android (1)

jbolden (176878) | about 8 months ago | (#44541967)

First off, it doesn't really matter what QNX can do vs. Linux. RIM/Blackberry wrote their features against QNX. They would have to rewrite chunks of them against Linux or XNU (BTW iOS kernel is XNU not Mach).

There are plusses and minus to QNX. QNX offers much better automated syntonization so low level routines in Linux have hand-coded syntonization while QNX code frequently doesn't. QNX applications have deterministic execution times which means that chunks of the code know that process X is finished because it started Y time ago. Linux has nothing like that.

Also the ability to have more than one user space and rules governing them isn't present in Linux or XNU. Blackberry makes use of this in their implementation of Balance ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NI5sbDOt4WE [youtube.com] ). While both iOS and Android are getting mini versions of balance.

Re:Switch to android (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44542149)

jeffery, your RIM faggotry is heroic. as a representative of RIM I award you with the fanboy of the year trophy! congratulations, you must be very proud. you might even have sex for the first time in months tonight!

Re:Switch to android (2)

evilviper (135110) | about 8 months ago | (#44542213)

QNX is a microkernel. What can the QNX microkernel do that the Linux kernel behind Android can't?

You said it yourself; QNX is a microkernel, while Linux is not. Go look up all the benefits of microkernels, and you'll have your answer.

A few quickies: The security can be absolutely impervious to attackers (see OpenVMS winning in every hackathon). The system can be mind-bogglingly stable, even if the drivers are crap and crash all the time (see OpenVMS at the top of every uptime chart). The system can run reliably, even with horribly faulty hardware... QNX was notable for running fine with just a few KBytes of reliable memory (perhaps ROM) while the rest of the RAM could be flaky as hell. QNX also has real-time features built-in that Linux can't touch, though more and more RTOS code keeps getting bolted-on to the Linux kernel.

Re:Switch to android (1)

evilviper (135110) | about 8 months ago | (#44542095)

Android is often open source so once they finished porting they would have to share what they wrote with Samsung.

"Open Source" doesn't force you to share anything. The BSDs, X, Apache, etc., are all "open source".

You may have meant Android is GPL'd / Copyleft / Free Software, but that's absolutely NOT true, as basically only the Linux kernel is GPL'd, while the rest of Android is under freer licenses. The preferred license is the Apache 2.0 license (similar to MIT/X).

Re:Switch to android (1)

jbolden (176878) | about 8 months ago | (#44542513)

That line in context was about kernel level features in particular porting Balance. So yes, that would be against the Linux Kernel, so the GPL would apply.

Re:Switch to android (1)

evilviper (135110) | about 8 months ago | (#44542733)

You might have MEANT that, but you sure didn't say so. Neither did the GP.

Calling it open source when you meant GPL/free software, and also calling it "Android" when you apparently meant Linux specifically, only served to completely confuse any point you were trying to make.

Re:Switch to android (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 8 months ago | (#44542129)

The problem for Blackberry wasn't that they ported to QNX. It was they were so late in doing so. iPhone came out in 2007 but Blackberry responded by slapping touch on top of their existing OS. Many of us knew that the former OS just wasn't capable of being upgraded to compete with iOS or Android. It wasn't until 2010 that Blackberry bought QNX. Then rushed out the Playbook which didn't even have contacts, messaging, or native email. Some apologists still say that was intended but we knew that was BS. It was a rushed product and it made Blackberry look bad.

Re:Switch to android (1)

jbolden (176878) | about 8 months ago | (#44542525)

Yes it did make them look bad. They floundered a lot. In 2010 they were still king of the hill, dictated terms to others and exploring expanding into complex verticals. It took time for them to realize they could lose it all.

Yes. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44541817)

And build hardened Android phones for business. There, was that all that hard?

Yes.

Because I spent a few hundred bucks on each and it'll cost me a few hundred bucks more to switch.

And I have a budget.

And needlessly spending money on technology is a waste of money when what I have works quite well.

Lastly, following the "latest" and "greatest" is idiotic - it's falling into the marketing people's bullshit. At the time, Blackberry was the best thing out there.

Re:Yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44542575)

You're not the person that the GP was talking to, yet. Do you have a plan for what happens if/when BB completely goes under? Who's going to service your current system when the devices you own are starting to fail? And what happens if/when your devices are no longer supported on your carrier network? When your first device fails is the time to start looking into a transitioning project. As a business, which is what GP was talking about, you should be putting a segment of your profits aside for IT systems upgrades and maintenance. Moving out of deprecated technologies is just one reason for maintaining this account.

Of course, if you're just a consumer, then disregard all of this and use what you have until it's cost effective for an upgrade.

Re:Switch to android (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 8 months ago | (#44541845)

it's pretty hard when they've invested all their time for past years for buying another os and doing crap..

but you know what? what sucked about bb always was availability outside of carriers.

how the fuck could I buy one or develope for one if I HAVE NEVER SEEN ONE ON SALE LOCALLY- and this is in Finland. RIM has always ignored large parts of global market, that is to say that they were never a truly global player.

Re:Switch to android (1)

jbolden (176878) | about 8 months ago | (#44542193)

Excluding BB10, to have a BlackBerry function you either needed BIS or BES. If there was no fairly extensive carrier support nor was it being purchased for a corporate client with a BES the phone wouldn't work. Finland is Nokia country. I'm not shocked carriers didn't want to give RIM a complex feature set to do stuff that Nokia / Symbian mostly already did.

HP (2)

swimboy (30943) | about 8 months ago | (#44541523)

Maybe HP will buy them. It worked out so well for them last time.

Re:HP (5, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 8 months ago | (#44541747)

Maybe HP will buy them. It worked out so well for them last time.

Maybe they could have a bidding war with Yahoo... They've been moving aggressively into HP's "Where Technologies go to Die" turf lately, and a line of Yahoo! Mail branded blackberries would be perfect as a component of Yahoo's "Just think of us as a weighted average of Google and AOL" strategy.

No Buyers Unless ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44541539)

They won't have any buyers if they treat the sale of the company the same way they treated the sale of their Playbook tablet: if you don't include the email service no one will want it.

Good luck (1, Informative)

operagost (62405) | about 8 months ago | (#44541543)

The blackberry is the most counter-intuitive, unfriendly phone I've ever used. Its killer app is email, but being that it's a PHONE, functions like SMS/MMS, phone, and voice mail should be just as easy to use. No, instead the text messages disappear into a mess once you've read them, you have to dig through menus to access your voice mail number, and you accidentally dial people all the time because touching a phone entry, or pushing the nav button, or pushing the dial button all dial the phone. I have three different one-touch ways of dialing someone, but have to press three times to get to voice mail.

Re:Good luck (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44541735)

I had someone in a bar complaining about the exact same problem. I don't know if this works for all providers, but for Verizon Blackberries, all you ever had to do was hold down 1 to quickdial voicemail.

Sale to Microsoft in 3.. 2.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44541565)

Microsoft is going to snap this company up in a hearbeat. IP, customers, tech, reputation, brand name. All things MS is hungry for in the mobile space.

Netcraft confirms it, Blackberry is dying (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44541585)

Netcraft confirms it, Blackberry is dying

Little lost blacksheep (2)

AdmV0rl0n (98366) | about 8 months ago | (#44541595)

BB remains the only handset/technical network that I can put users on a world wide tariff and provide a secure service at a reasonable cost. Period.
Sadly, Blackberry seems to be run by idiots, who don't understand their own strength, or their own product.

And yes, I can put my users on Iphones and on Android and I can cry my eyes out as soon as they leave the borders of the country they live in.

Even *if* they remodelled the business in software, they could still leveage BB core work and sell a really workable product. Yes, not for everyone, and yes, aimed at corp, business and gov - but they seem lost in terms of what they are.

Lying to the customer base is bad too and Thorsten Heinz needs to be fired. The Playbook isn't getting 10? Liar.

CEO's that lie or get their baseline facts wrong are worthless. They are worthless to whom they work for and worse for their customer. He had his shot - he should resign.

Pride (5, Insightful)

captaindomon (870655) | about 8 months ago | (#44541603)

Proverbs 16:18: Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. This was BlackBerry's issue - they thought they were the king, and that they didn't need to listen to the market. "You don't need a camera. That's crazy talk", "Nobody will accept a touch keyboard", "No other devices will gain corporate acceptance", "Employers will always make the choice for employees" etc etc. It's been one long "we know what you want better than you do" at BlackBerry.

Re:Pride (2)

lexman098 (1983842) | about 8 months ago | (#44541981)

This was only true at first. You have to hand it to them for a valiant effort at competing with android and ios, but they kind of did it in the same way as windows phone and failed in the same way as well. BB10 is a pretty decent OS, just like WP8, but no one cares. Why? Because they don't bring anything special to the table and without that, there's no competing with established ecosystems. They (and Microsoft) made an overpriced and mostly closed off device. Google did well against apple because they did *not* fall into this trap. Android phones can be had for cheap and are highly hackable. The only reason Apple got away with it to begin with was because they were the *first* to come out with a *good* touchscreen smartphone and the centralized app ecosystem that customers could easily access.

Re:Pride (2)

NonUniqueNickname (1459477) | about 8 months ago | (#44543353)

BlackBerry's downfall wasn't having lost a competition against Android or iOS. Their downfall was needlessly making it into a competition. BlackBerry had the opportunity to build and ship the first-ever Android phone. But they turned Google down. Google had to settle for a little known (and at the time not very good) manufacturer called HTC, maybe you've heard of it?

Same exact thing happened over at Motorola. Same exact thing happened over at Nokia. Three companies at the top of the cellphone world, insisting to complete, refusing to make partners. Three companies sold for scraps. This is 100% a case of management playing macho going all-in and screwing the investors, the employees, and the users. How can anyone not see that after being shown in triplicate?

Re:Pride (2)

timeOday (582209) | about 8 months ago | (#44542227)

Notice how handset makers come and go, while the networks themselves, like AT&T, are set in stone? Do you really think this is because AT&T is so humble and innovative? Handsets are interchangeable and short-lived. A company is no better than its last product or two. Nobody has managed to be king of the hill as long as Blackberry did. And my guess is the days of windfall profits in the sector are numbered at this point anyways.

Re:Pride (1)

Baron_Yam (643147) | about 8 months ago | (#44542649)

Actually, I think your analysis is off. Their real problem, in my opinion, is that they never got their systems working smoothly.

Configuring a BB server is a bitch, and it all depends on connectivity to RIM, which is a dumbass move. Then they put out several generations of handset that failed during normal use due to design flaws, and then they rolled out BB10 which doesn't sync as well as the older system, and crippled their companion tablets in the process instead of providing the software upgrade they'd promised.

If they'd have run their corporate and consumer sides as seperate platforms, done some decent usability and QA testing, made sure their systems required only connectivity to their home server with a phone-home to RIM only to register a BBM address... they'd probably still own the corporate world. Instead, they screwed up each time they made a change - improving some things, but damaging others.

When all the employees (and, more importantly, the management) want Android/iOS, it's very, very important to keep the techies happy so we can articulate why BlackBerry is a much better choice for security, control, and TCO. We can't do that anymore, at least not strongly enough to justify sticking with the BlackBerry platform.

dont listen (2)

beefoot (2250164) | about 8 months ago | (#44541613)

They don't listen to their customers. They have two main groups of customers -- corporate/government and consumers. The former just wants a piece of equipment that is secured and efficient for communication; the latter group wants a device to do everything apple could do. Instead of producing two lines of products, they combine them in a half as--s product that couldn't do neither well. They had their chance. Hint hint: Steve, please listen. Corporate customers do not want your Windows 8.

Re:dont listen (1)

jbolden (176878) | about 8 months ago | (#44542297)

Corporate customers aren't supposed to want Windows 8. They are mostly satisfied with Windows 7. What Windows 8 will do though is make them unsatisfied with Windows 7 style applications, forcing vertical applications to code for Metro prior to the time when Android is ready to act as a primary OS. They don't need to want it, they just need to accept it.

In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44541657)

AOL announces that Netscape is for sale. But you over there? You're fired.

Grow up and invest in hardware (1)

jphamlore (1996436) | about 8 months ago | (#44541671)

It's surprising to me that geeks have missed the golden opportunity to drive home one consistent message: Western tech companies need to grow up and invest in hardware and stop saying it's too hard and expensive. Qualcomm's CEO earned a Ph.D. in EECS from Cal-Berkeley, and Qualcomm has bought ATI's Mobile Graphics division and developed its own ARM SoC. Apple bought Palo Alto Semiconductor and developed their own ARM SoC. Samsung spends billions on up-to-date fabs, has their own ARM SoC, and their own LTE baseband chipset. Apple and Samsung are basically stuck with each other partnering on financing next-generation fabs to stay even with Intel. Meanwhile all the struggling companies have in common they don't do hard hardware but have to buy it from someone else.

Re:Grow up and invest in hardware (1)

jbolden (176878) | about 8 months ago | (#44542345)

Huh? BlackBerry is in the hardware business. They don't just produce an OS and a software they do hardware as well.

so.... having someone buy and dismantle blackberry (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 8 months ago | (#44541823)

..."enhances value" in what way?

Re:so.... having someone buy and dismantle blackbe (1)

JoeyRox (2711699) | about 8 months ago | (#44542689)

By returning money to shareholders so that they can reinvest the money in more viable companies.

reliability (4, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | about 8 months ago | (#44541893)

Feel free to disagree, but I think what killed BB in the end was losing their reputation for reliability. They may not have been the newest shiny object, but dammit, when you made a call, it went through, no matter how you held the phone. Being tightly integrated with the company intranet was a huge plus, something that android and ios still don't have completely. I miss being able to tap on a meeting organizer name in calendar to message him I'll be a little late.

I suspect that national outage awhile back started people thinking about single points of failure. I know that when BES went down for a week (not Blackberry's fault -- we outsourced our BB admins and that did not go well) most of us BB users had Android or IOS phones on order by the time it came back up. Blackberry ("Crackberry") got us hooked on instant gratification -- immediate access to office communication -- and when it went away, we were not prepared to take that cold turkey.

Re:reliability (1)

jbolden (176878) | about 8 months ago | (#44542445)

I don't think it was one thing, but I agree that was a huge factor. It was the same thing that killed Danger (Sidekick) after the acquisition by Microsoft. Customers do not respond well to an extended outage. Blackberry can't run around claiming to be the best in IT while having an incident like this.

Re:reliability (1)

kevmatic (1133523) | about 8 months ago | (#44542797)

I have a company-supplied Bold, and it is easily the worst phone I've ever touched. Its not reliable at ALL. It only syncs when it feels like it, reception is poor, and the battery life is so bad its never charged anyway. And for some reason, if the battery starts to go low, it just turns off the cellular modem but doesn't turn it back on when its put back on charge. Basically, if you keep one eye on it, it'll just stop getting emails.

The innovative ways that Blackberry devised to suck are impressive. The battery life is about a day (if you don't use it), it doesn't really have a keypad lock as its designed to live in its huge holster, the speaker phone is so bad its useless (the one in my dumbphone Samsung Convey is immensely superior), it has a gazzillion buttons that I don't even think do anything, etc.

Maybe OS 10 is an improvement, but the older versions are so hard to work its not funny. There's Setup, Options, Preferences, and then individual options and preferences in each application it ships with. If you want to change an email option, which of the five options menus is it in? Well, just try them all. Mine's stuck with the French spellcheck library, but I can't find the option to fix it. I found the one for the whole phone, which is set in English, but does that affect the spellcheck? Of course not. Oh, it must be under the "SpellCheck" options menu. Nope, not there either.

The funniest is the charging. When you plug it into a PC to charge it, it lights up with this nice clock thing. Put the PC to sleep, and it'll stop charging. But its still connected to the PC, right? So the clock thing stays on. In an hour or two, your battery will be dead. Even though its getting power in the USB port.

Maybe they should have sold phones that people wanted to use rather than positioning themselves as the provider of phones that your employer makes you use.

Forget the device -- buy the ECC patents! (4, Interesting)

skidisk (994551) | about 8 months ago | (#44542013)

I'm sure there is some value in the device, technology and related patents, but perhaps the greatest value is in the patents the own for ECC (Elliptical Curve Cryptography). Now that RSA's algorithm is on the way to being cracked, it's possible many will move to ECC -- and that means big money for Certicom, who is owned by...Blackberry. I know RSA will refute the patent claims and there is sure to be a war, but whoever owns Certicom has a big dog in the fight. The NSA has been pushing for ECC for almost a decade, so none of this is new news. However, it will be a factor in the level of interest for potential acquirers.

Re:Forget the device -- buy the ECC patents! (1)

jbolden (176878) | about 8 months ago | (#44542549)

RSA is not going to be cracked. And moreover if RSA could be fully cracked, i.e. prime factorization was a solved problem then ECC wouldn't hold up either. It is not difficult to map any ECC problem to a finite collection of factorizations on the integers.

Re:Forget the device -- buy the ECC patents! (1)

CanEHdian (1098955) | about 8 months ago | (#44543097)

So what's this [techtarget.com] all about then?

Crypto experts speaking at the Black Hat USA 2013 conference yesterday said there's a real -- though perhaps not overwhelming -- possibility that much of the Internet's encryption will soon become completely unraveled. This grand unveiling of secrets, they contended, could arrive within a handful of years. To avoid what they jokingly called a "Cyber Pompei," they strongly encouraged a switch from algorithms based on the Diffie-Hellman and RSA systems to elliptical curve cryptography.

Re:Forget the device -- buy the ECC patents! (2)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 8 months ago | (#44543383)

Hype. There's a VERY small chance that RSA could be cracked (that's in the article you linked). If RSA is cracked, the development in number theory is likely to have a LOT of repercussions. I suppose the recommended switching to ECC because it's the only other option.

Tumbled? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44542203)

You call what has happened to RIM/BB "tumbled"? No, I call that a death spiral. Sorry, they sat on their hands thinking they were untouchable for far too long and they're in absolute freefall. Short of a Herculean rescue effort, they're done.

It already was. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44542261)

Once you sell shares on the open market, the company is "For Sale"

All this announcement is that management won't run away in terror if someone walks up with a big bag of money.

Run away in terror means try to prevent them from buying the company from it's current owners.

Five percent ownership rule (1)

tepples (727027) | about 8 months ago | (#44543073)

Anonymous Coward wrote:

Once you sell shares on the open market, the company is "For Sale"

By "for sale", you mean "subject to hostile takeover through accumulating a majority of shares." But once word of a potential takeover gets out, the stock price rises, which is why Comcast bought NBC-Universal in 2011 and not Disney in 2004 [slashdot.org] . And there's a bunch of red tape in certain jurisdictions before an entity can buy more than a certain percent of another corporation's shares. (In the US, for example, a 5 percent stake requires filing Schedule 13D or 13G with the SEC.) Besides, this is different, as the news story appears to be about BlackBerry seeking a friendly takeover.

It's Canadian business culture (1)

kamapuaa (555446) | about 8 months ago | (#44542291)

Even after years of failiures, RIM remains Canada's largest company that wasn't a national/regional bank or involved in sell off Canada's natural resources. Canada just doesn't have a business culture that allows for innovation or giving customers what they want.

Re:It's Canadian business culture (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about 8 months ago | (#44542663)

Nobody remembers Nortel huh? There seems to be a model here for Canadian Tech companies. At one point a few years ago Nortel could do no wrong, the same could be said for RIM (or now Blackberry). RIM lost ground because they held onto their old beliefs in the consumer market, that their products could do no wrong and that people would always expect and pay the Blackberry tax. I think what eroded that were devices that were sexier and had a wider selection of apps. Sure, the Corporate markets were big money makers with BES and the ever present CAL licenses associated with them, along with those extra carrier charges every month, all part of the Blackberry tax. They do have great features in BES and like others here, I think MSFT should buy them and drive them into the ground just like they're doing with their Nokia alliance because BYOD is becoming more of a reality and if Blackberry were smart they would have ported their management framework over to Android and IOS a long time ago and left the lowest common denominator hardware market.

Re:It's Canadian business culture (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44543067)

They did actually add the ability to manage ios and android to the bes but unfortunately it was too little too late.

Blackerry has died on the vine (1)

JoeyRox (2711699) | about 8 months ago | (#44542627)

There may be value in Blackberry's patents and cash on hand but otherwise the company isn't worth very much. And competitors don't buy dying companies - they just let them die and then buy whatever pieces they want in the resulting fire sale.

Because Qnx unpoven it remains that to death (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44542637)

Qnx? What crap china OS is it? Rim? What crap reseller of crap china OS is it? Ino Qnx old. Ino Rim old. Sparse me the nominet.

Is Apple the next Blackberry? (0)

peter303 (12292) | about 8 months ago | (#44542679)

Blackberry was the premiere phone product before the iPhone family. But there are signs Apple is stalling out now. Its a very competative market.

Re:Is Apple the next Blackberry? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44543047)

Single most successful smartphone on the market with two other models in the top five. Earning more than 50% of the entire industry's profits. Nope. Apple is fine. The market is crowded and competitive but Apple has firmly grabbed a profitable portion of the market and, unlike RIM or Nokia, Apple isn't afraid to innovate and change direction when its necessary.

Re:Is Apple the next Blackberry? (2)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 8 months ago | (#44543433)

Apple makes more profit on iPhones than everyone else who makes smartphones put together. Not to mention Apple makes other things as well. They've got a ways to go before they "stall out."

Sell their killer app: Email / Calender / Contacts (1)

landoltjp (676315) | about 8 months ago | (#44542755)

RIM should package and sell their killer app: The integrated Email / Calender / Contacts system. IMO, it would change the face of productivity on android-based phones.

The BEST feature of my old BB was the seamless nature of accepting meeting (calender) requests via email, using contact information on the phone. This was just using my normal email provider, not a BES setup. Worked like a charm!

Then I added a BES email account, and that worked well also.

in Gmail (on the android), I can receive and accept calender requests from other gmail accounts, but not from MS outlook, BB, or iPhone. I've dug all around about this, I've read craploads of comments about the same thing, and I've not seen anyone solve this. At BEST, I only get "workaround" suggestions, but the fact remains that RIM did it best.

I've had my Samsung android phone for a year or two now, and despite trying a boatload of different (free and paid) email apps, I've never seen one that can manage calender requests, and integrations between contact info in email and the calender, like my old Blackberry.

There is precedent here as well, with the "blackeberry connect" suite that's been around for a while now, installable on the old Nokia 9300 / 9500 (running symbian OS). Did they ever make this for android?

Sinking ship.... (2)

erp_consultant (2614861) | about 8 months ago | (#44542919)

Much like WebOS, which I loved by the way, BB is now a sinking ship. I've played around with the BB10 and it's actually a pretty cool phone. The problem for me was that it was so different from Android and iOS, in term of the gestures and just how it flowed. You'd have to basically relearn, and unlearn, the whole smartphone ecosystem and I'm not a big enough BB fan to do that.

There just doesn't seem to be room for more than two big players in the smartphone arena. The only reason Microsoft is still in there is because they have enough money to keep it afloat. The sales for Windows phones are dismal and not likely to improve much. Android and iOS just have too much momentum.

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