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BlackBerry Posts $4.4 Billion Loss, Will Outsource To Foxconn

Soulskill posted about 4 months ago | from the but-it'll-be-better-next-quarter-they-promise dept.

Blackberry 141

iONiUM writes "Today BlackBerry announced a $4.4 billion loss, and a deal with Foxconn to outsource hardware manufacturing. One interesting stat is that 75% of sales were actually older BB7 devices. That said, CEO John Chen says, 'We are very much alive, thank you.' He adds, 'Our "for sale" sign has been taken down and we are here to stay. BlackBerry recently announced it has entered into an agreement to receive a strategic investment from Fairfax Financial and other institutional investors, which represents a vote of confidence in the future of BlackBerry.'"

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141 comments

Our "for sale" sign has been taken down (5, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 4 months ago | (#45749155)

'Our "for sale" sign has been taken down and we are here to stay.'

This is the textbook precursor words before a "transition team" chops it up for parts and sells everything off piecemeal. It's right in the MBA manual.

Re:Our "for sale" sign has been taken down (3, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | about 4 months ago | (#45749177)

I didn't get that Text book.
Also my MBA classes also seem to actively discourage such actions. That said, it may mean to refocus the company.

Re:Our "for sale" sign has been taken down (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45749363)

I didn't get that Text book.
Also my MBA classes also seem to actively discourage such actions. That said, it may mean to refocus the company.

Maybe that's why you're posting on /. instead of heading up a fire sale team...

Maybe you should read up on these topics, here's a short reading list for you (in MBA-style)

http://www.amazon.com/The-Art-Distressed-amp-Financing/dp/0071750193 [amazon.com]
http://www.hl.com/library/bsttcacs.pdf [hl.com]

We'll have a group discussion about this in next week's round-table. See ya!

Re:Our "for sale" sign has been taken down (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45749549)

Or attend a better graduate school with an actual internship program: one that prodeces VP's, not just Human Resources people who don't know what they're being trained to lie about.

Oh, wait, I forget: you're an MBA. You *were* taught to lie about this stuff and pretend complete innocence. Never mind!!

Re:Our "for sale" sign has been taken down (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45749749)

Man, you've missed a lot. There's some great comics in that book, there is.

Re:Our "for sale" sign has been taken down (1, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 4 months ago | (#45750075)

Dude what EXACTLY is left to "refocus"? The company has been bleeding money, the only real selling point they had, American made and supported, just went down the shitter and thanks to the NSA nobody in business is gonna trust jack shit when it comes to communications originating in the USA.

Lets face it, BB is screwed. They sat on ass for too long and let Android and OSX drink their milkshake. Their one chance would be maybe breaking it up for parts be "taking the for sale sign down" translates to "nobody would buy the company" so even that is a no go.

Re:Our "for sale" sign has been taken down (3, Funny)

symbolset (646467) | about 4 months ago | (#45750353)

Shush. They have found a profit center. By getting tax credits for responsible ewaste management. The current plan is to take their own unsold products and continuously e-cycle them in-house into new unsold products to e-cycle again, gaining an additional tax credit each time. This e-cycling perpetual motion machine is self sustaining and profitable, ensuring unlimited future paid-in capital as Wall Street discovers the enhanced efficiencies only available by cutting the humans out of the loop while simultaneously "going green".

Re:Our "for sale" sign has been taken down (2)

symbolset (646467) | about 4 months ago | (#45750465)

I forgot to mention - they have a new line of business process IP as well. Their innovative patent-pending OWINS (Order When I Need Something) supply chain heuristic has helped them to cut their key metric COGNS (Cost Of Goods Not Sold) by almost 95%. They are licensing this innovative technology to Microsoft for their Surface line of tablets and HP, Dell, Lenovo and others in the PC industry for desktops and laptops.

American made (4, Informative)

kris2112 (136712) | about 4 months ago | (#45750365)

Um...

BlackBerry is a Canadian company.

Re:American made (1)

Hmmm2000 (1146723) | about 4 months ago | (#45750559)

We all know that Canada is the 51st state.

Canada is the 51st state (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45751465)

Actually, the way "Merica" is going it will become the 11th Province of Canada, or maybe the 4th territory soon enough. We will have to have a vote in parliament about it I guess.

Re: American made (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45751067)

And Canada is not in America? Please tell me who moved it to another continent?

Re:American made (1)

Demonantis (1340557) | about 4 months ago | (#45752079)

I wish I had mod points. I live in Waterloo. Just down the street from their data center and everything. They just sold 5 of their office building to the university as a part of all this. More to the point. As long as the end to end is encrypted then the US shouldn't get their hands on any of the data. The concern is most Canadian internet routes run down into the States for the backbone. Very few Canadian internet service companies can say the whole route stays in Canada.

Re:Our "for sale" sign has been taken down (1)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | about 4 months ago | (#45751117)

Look under: "unlocking value". There are pros and cons of being big. One of the cons (at least perceived) is that a big company tries to have "synergistic" sales sometimes at the expense of what is good for the product group. Example: the MS SQL server group might be able to make more money if they supported other OSs but the parent won't allow it. The cumulative amount of sales might be better since a lot of people stick with Windows because they want Office and use Office because they have Windows. For Blackberry as far as I can tell their big selling point back in the day would have been to spin off BBM and a security appliance that would support all vendors equipment. Anyways the games the transition teams/banks can play is trading the estimated synergistic sales against the hypothetical unrealized sales forgone because of corporate pressure.

Add to that the dillution of power/responsibility for success when you are just a 10M business unit in a 30B company, versus the whole pie, the reduction in innovation as financial and project controls get more formalized rather than just being a skunks works company trying to see if they can make their 100k market into a 100B one.

Re:Our "for sale" sign has been taken down (4, Informative)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 4 months ago | (#45749241)

. . . or they took down the sign because they couldn't find a buyer . . .

Re:Our "for sale" sign has been taken down (1)

Threni (635302) | about 4 months ago | (#45750013)

Or because they've already been sold.

Re:Our "for sale" sign has been taken down (2)

paiute (550198) | about 4 months ago | (#45751147)

Or they sold the sign

Re:Our "for sale" sign has been taken down (1)

Daikiki (227620) | about 4 months ago | (#45751943)

Well - at least they found a buyer for the sign. That's something, right?

Re:Our "for sale" sign has been taken down (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 4 months ago | (#45752061)

we talkin' blackberry or blockbuster?

I know one of them resorted to craigslist to sell what was left of the company.

Re:Our "for sale" sign has been taken down (3, Funny)

sesshomaru (173381) | about 4 months ago | (#45749625)

"He's a straight shooter with upper management written all over him."

Re:Our "for sale" sign has been taken down (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45749835)

They've already chopped out the entire manufacturing sector of the company.

One of the few compelling reasons for buying a blackberry product - North American-made smartphone - has been taken away.

I'm going to Firefox OS.

Re:Our "for sale" sign has been taken down (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45750357)

Why would you want a North American-made smartphone?

Move to Android (2)

johnsie (1158363) | about 4 months ago | (#45749165)

They need to focus on business end Android phones with hardware keyboards.

Re:Move to Android (4, Insightful)

supertrooper (2073218) | about 4 months ago | (#45749649)

Not sure about that. BlackBerry QNX-based OS is really good. It's not like they don't have a great product, the problem is that the product came late and it was pricey. In any case, it's good to have a variety out there.

Re:Move to Android (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45749703)

I find blackberry far more responsive than android it never seems to freeze or lag like the other phones i've used, its multitasking is intuitive and has physical keys

but then again i don't just buy anything with an apple or google stamp on it so i can feel like i belong and am one of the cool kids.

Re:Move to Android (3)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 4 months ago | (#45749937)

Not sure about that. BlackBerry QNX-based OS is really good.

It doesn't matter how "good" it is. No one makes apps for QNX/BBOS. It's the same reason no one wants Windows Phones. If your phone OS doesn't work with one of the two major apps stores, then consumers aren't interested, no matter much technically better it supposedly is.

Re:Move to Android (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45750207)

Won't matter come Jan/Feb 2014 with BB OS v10.2.1

You'll be able to load and run Android apps as if it was an Android phone, Minus the Android Malware.

Re:Move to Android (1)

the_humeister (922869) | about 4 months ago | (#45750311)

Well, then it'll just be OS/2 all over again. A better DOS than DOS, a better Windows thant Windows, so why bother writing native apps?

Re:Move to Android (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 4 months ago | (#45751063)

Well, then it'll just be OS/2 all over again. A better DOS than DOS, a better Windows thant Windows, so why bother writing native apps?

No one writes native Android apps anyway: they're all in Java. This might actually work for BB.

Runs Java and Applescript apps just fine. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45751453)

native apps don't make sense, and Apple Store is proof positive, because before people used Apple products they likely had to buy the console-advertised apps on their previous phones and when they got proficient they migrated to another device on their next contract of service. It makes sense to use a compatibility or application layer such as a Java Virtual Machine or a web browser's abilities to run your applications just so you can take what you payed for to your next platform when the current one dies or is terminated.

Apple is the biggest monopoly, more anti-competitive than Microsoft ever will, has been caught underpaying for labor, has been proven to be a strip miner of global minerals, has been praised by marketroids and investors for overcharging for products, and it's primary leader and founder Jobs re-advertised his death as from Pancreatic Cancer when in-fact he died of Pancreatic Cancer due to his swinger lifestyle popping LSD and contracting HIV/AIDS.

Apple likely will not die, and like Halliburton will move to another country before it ever loses it's capital and investments. Microsoft on the other hand was split into Micros~1 and Micros~2.

Re:Runs Java and Applescript apps just fine. (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 4 months ago | (#45751795)

Apple is the biggest monopoly, more anti-competitive than Microsoft ever will,

I hate to defend Apple, but while you're probably right that Apple is more anti-competitive than MS (their ridiculous patent war with Samsung should be proof of this), they do not have the kind of monopoly that MS did. Apple is still a pretty small player on desktops and laptops, it's not even a player in the server market; their main area of strength is in mobile devices. However, even here, they have pretty strong competition from Android, and don't have anything approaching a monopoly. It's a good thing, too; things would really suck if the iPhone was our only realistic choice for a smartphone. Android has its shortcomings to be sure, but iOS has its own shortcomings, and monopolies are never good, as we saw with MS's Windows monopoly for so many years.

has been caught underpaying for labor

Doesn't every large company that manufactures in China do this?

has been proven to be a strip miner of global minerals

Isn't every company that manufactures electronics guilty of this? It's not like Apple is the only company that uses tantalum capacitors.

when in-fact he died of Pancreatic Cancer due to his swinger lifestyle popping LSD and contracting HIV/AIDS.

This sounds like a rather absurd allegation; any evidence? Lots of people get pancreatic cancer, for no particular reason. From what I read, Steve's real screw-up was refusing conventional medical treatment for it until it was too late.

Microsoft on the other hand was split into Micros~1 and Micros~2.

Huh? What are you talking about? MS is still a single company, as much as I would prefer they got broken up.

Re:Move to Android (1)

jbolden (176878) | about 4 months ago | (#45751559)

Windows phone growth has been rather good for 2 years. The market is rather big. More people want Windows phone now than wanted BlackBerry at their height.

Re:Move to Android (2)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 4 months ago | (#45750747)

Personally, I don't think Android is all that great. The only great thing about it is that it's popular and therefore there's lots of apps out there. But from a technical standpoint, it's nothing to write home about. Maybe it's just because I have an older device, but I find it like getting sent back to the old days. I have to reboot my phone on a regular basis, because it gets bogged down if I don't. Applications constant take over all the resources of my phone, which requires me to take out the battery to restart it, and the phone for some reason or another refuses to go into low power states (must be some process running in the background) causing the battery to run down at an alarming rate. There's no upgrades to my phone, and any third party ROMs I've tried to install have just failed to boot. I guess it's different depending on the handset you get, which is another problem with Android, It can be a really terrible experience if you end up with the wrong handset. There's lots of improvement to be made. If Blackberry can release an OS that's stable and has enough apps that I can do the stuff I need to do, I really don't care if it plays the latest games, or connects to every social network under the sun.

Re: Move to Android (1)

Badblackdog (1211452) | about 4 months ago | (#45751291)

I have a 4S with a cracked screen that I can send you. If your computer or your car ran that poorly, wouldn't you get a better one. Why do people pride themselves on how long they can keep a phone working? Shit can that turd and by a decent phone. It doesn't have to have a Google or Apple stamp on it, we know you are cool. /rant

Re:Move to Android (1)

jbolden (176878) | about 4 months ago | (#45751553)

QNX is really good. But keeping it up with Android is going to be hard. They are well behind OSX and they have no chance of getting to 64 bit. So it is hard to see how people invest in it. I love the idea of QNX for a phone OS. I love many of BlackBerry's ideas, balance in particular. Also many Blackberry people just don't like it.

As an Android Guy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45749171)

I like eating the forbidden iFruit. Also, we are in an Android iFruit C# DBA whatever whatever jobs bubble. Engineering is dead. Once the service economy of the U.S.A. implodes, so will these job.
 
captcha: jobs

Re:As an Android Guy (5, Insightful)

Dzimas (547818) | about 4 months ago | (#45749197)

Engineering is dead. Once the service economy of the U.S.A. implodes, so will these job.

American engineering is very much alive. The same can't be said for high tech manufacturing.

Mod Parent Down (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45749367)

Tried to get an engineering job lately? Go on. Browse Dice's listings. I challenge you. Tell me how many EE, ME, AE, or CE jobs there are for someone who has graduated recently or doesn't have decades of experience. And of those, how many aren't "defense?"

Re:Mod Parent Down (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45749483)

Alright.
In the past three months I've received 2 job offers.
I'm not even looking for a job and I'm not yet graduated.
I've done electrical engineering and am now finishing computer engineering.
None of those were in defense, although one would have required a thorough background check and some amount of security clearance.

Re:Mod Parent Down (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45749529)

[citation needed]

Re:Mod Parent Down (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45749781)

Yep.
One of the major contractors offered me $46k to write MATLAB RADAR simulations.
I also got an offer from a company for nearly that much to write some Android apps for them.
Haven't even graduated yet.

Re:Mod Parent Down (4, Interesting)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 4 months ago | (#45749565)

I'm in canada, and we can't keep our engineers bottled up. Their 3rd year co-ops started paying more than starting faculty positions, so we had to change the rules and forcibly limit them to about 26 an hour.

Our graduates are going all over in canada and the US, starting salaries 70-80k. And we aren't a particularly spectacular engineering school. Electrical, mechanical, I don't know about civil, computer and software. (I've never had anything to do with the civil people as I'm in CS and our cross courses that I have been involved in are only with the others).

If you can't find work either people don't think your degree is legit, or you're doing a terrible job presenting yourself. Hell, our graduates who can barely communicate in english are getting great jobs.

Re:Mod Parent Down (2)

geoskd (321194) | about 4 months ago | (#45749971)

Hell, our graduates who can barely communicate in english are getting great jobs.

That's because the first thing an employer thinks when they find someone with broken English is "Cool, temporary worker, I don't have to provide benefits!", A 70k job without benefits in Boston or Silicon Valley is basically equivalent to a minimum wage job in other parts of the USA. You can live on it, but its got no future.

I graduated in the 2001 meltdown, and was unable to get engineering work. I took whatever work I could get, but ultimately, I joined a start-up instead. Where I currently live, there is nothing in engineering jobs within 200 miles in any direction. I'm not saying there is nothing worth having, I'm saying there is nothing at all. I went looking to find out what I should offer when i needed to bring on my first employee, and discovered I could offer 30k with minimal benefits, and I still got over 300 applications. I ultimately ended up paying 45k with somewhat better benefits, because I was impressed by the guy, but I probably could have held my ground and still got him anyways. Down the road, I expect he will transition well to a leadership role as we grow further.

If you look on monster.com, or dice, for "engineering", there are remarkably few postings. For the geographic northeast USA, there were only 35 new postings per day, for all jobs matching the term "engineering". That is out of a population of 50 million people. By contrast, my school graduated 2000 engineering students the year I graduated. In the US, every year, more than 50k engineering students graduate. That's only enough jobs for the existing graduating class for this country, add to that the 600,000 Chinese graduates and 350,000 Indian graduates who are all competing for these same jobs, its no wonder everyone wants to increase the H1-B visas. If we could expand the labor pool to include both of those labor sources, we can thoroughly unbalance the supply and drive labor costs down. The labor supply in both China and India dramatically outweighs the demand, in large part because of the belief in the ability to enter the american job market. These people do not want to live in the states permanently, just stay a decade or so, and save up to retire "back home". An Indian worker can earn enough in the US in fifteen years to effectively retire when they return to India. For rural Chinese, the duration is even shorter, although the cost of living in China is increasing rapidly. These are people that american companies do not have to pay benefits, nor retirement expenses for. This effectively cuts the payroll expense in half, even if the worker earns the same wage.

As a former job seeker, I fully understand how it sucks. As an employer, I am in a position to pay an american worker, but largely because in my current line of business I have no effective competition yet. When that changes, and I have to compete, I will be taking the least expensive option.

Re:Mod Parent Down (2)

RubberDogBone (851604) | about 4 months ago | (#45750103)

Yeah it's TOTALLY "wow somebody with limited English skills, possibly a fresh graduate, and possibly with shaky immigration work status, we can hire a lot of them for peanuts and since they don't know who we are, they'll fall for low salary offers and not complain AT ALL when we don't train them and throw shovels of work at them"

My Canadian employer hires tons of these folks because most of them will work for 1/3rd what they'd normally pay. Lack of common languages means they are isolated in the workplace and keep their heads down and don't ask for anything. Most of them last a year or two before they bail and attempt to cash in a couple years of experience at the company.

It is quite honestly a WTF moment when HR announces we've hired somebody who is not immediately obviously an immigrant -HR passes around photos and little bios on the new hires so yes, we DO know exactly where they are from and what ethnicity they have, what they like to eat, last place they travelled, and so on. The hiring bias is incredible and somewhat of an open joke.

The company does this just because these workers are cheap.

.

Re:Mod Parent Down (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45750127)

I'm sorry, but 70-80k is pretty piss poor unless you live somewhere exceedingly remote, and I say that as a Canadian software engineer.

Re:As an Android Guy (0)

Hillgiant (916436) | about 4 months ago | (#45749433)

And how long do you think it will be before engineering gets automated?

Re:As an Android Guy (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 4 months ago | (#45749573)

And how long do you think it will be before engineering gets automated?

About the time we develop AI, and machines do the thinking for us.

Re:As an Android Guy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45749465)

I wouldnt buy engineered in America for any money.

You can keep your spyware.

Re:As an Android Guy (2)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 4 months ago | (#45749973)

So which OS do you use on your PC? Windows (engineered in Washington, USA), Mac OS X (engineered in California, USA), or Linux (engineered by a lot of different people, and headed by Linus Torvalds who lives in the USA somewhere)?

Re:As an Android Guy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45749983)

That's okay. Our spyware already has you locked in. We at Dice Holdings appreciate your cooperation.

Re:As an Android Guy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45749689)

"very much alive." Just like Blackberry!

Re:As an Android Guy (2)

the_humeister (922869) | about 4 months ago | (#45749775)

Say what? We still make airplanes, cars, processors, drugs, etc. in this country. If you don't consider that high tech manufacturing, I don't know what is then.

Re:As an Android Guy (1)

RubberDogBone (851604) | about 4 months ago | (#45750159)

The main thing wrong with Canada's manufacturing is the way you folks stick your noses in the air and snub anything made in the US, while down in the US, nobody pays much of any mind at all where things are made and honestly don't care if their Toyota was made in Louisiana or Ontario or Japan.

Nobody here cares that 90% of our shampoo and soaps are made in Canada. But you can BET Canadian shoppers check carefully before they buy soap and make sure it's not made in USA. Eewwww it's from America. Yuck.

I am one of the few who does care. I was honestly glad my last plane trip was on Embraer equipment instead of Canadair. I avoid buying Canadian whenever I can. Generally this works well for me.

Re:As an Android Guy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45750281)

What the fuck are you talking about?

Re: As an Android Guy (1)

Dzimas (547818) | about 4 months ago | (#45750947)

Wow. That was a xenophobic rant. Given that Canadair was sold off in 1986, I'd fly on an Embraer instead, too. I live in Canada, and honestly don't have much opportunity to buy US-made technology. I bought a Pontiac Vibe in 2007, and it was a great little car (although basically a Japanese design made in Fremont). I buy lots of tech gear designed by US companies but made in China and shop at American-owned stores like Walmart, Costco and Target. I'm really not a sure where you get the bizarre notion that we're anti-American.

Re:As an Android Guy (2)

akirapill (1137883) | about 4 months ago | (#45749309)

We will never be in a DBA bubble as long as data is king. For most companies, their database is an order of magnitude more valuable than their code base.

Re:As an Android Guy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45749865)

One word: NOSQL

Re:As an Android Guy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45749999)

Looking the healthcare.org fiasco. They also thought NOSQL was the solution to all their problems. Turns out, even with NOSQL, you need someone who knows what the hell they're doing.

We are very much alive, thank you. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45749179)

No, you aren't.

Strategic investment? (1)

baka_toroi (1194359) | about 4 months ago | (#45749229)

Can anybody more versed in PR speak please translate what "strategic investment" means?

Re: Strategic investment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45749281)

It means that they're being propped up with investor cash until they can turn a profit again. It is highly unlikely that they will. Don't be too surprised to hear soon that they've folded.

Re:Strategic investment? (2)

Quince alPillan (677281) | about 4 months ago | (#45749387)

"We think that by giving you money, you're either going to be a legitimate competitor again and give us a great return on our investment or else we're going to get our money back when we chop you up into pieces because we own you. You're on limited time to do either."

In other words, someone gave them a loan. How badly BB got shafted by that loan is determined by how desperate they were when they took it. BB either paid them in stock, which means voting power over the company's assets when / if it folds, or else they owe them money and their patent portfolio will be sold to them when BB goes bankrupt to pay the debts.

Re:Strategic investment? (1)

sesshomaru (173381) | about 4 months ago | (#45749489)

"How badly BB got shafted by that loan is determined by how desperate they were when they took it."

On a level of desperation going from 1 - 10, I'm going to go with "Vlad the Impaler" as far as shafting is concerned.

Re:Strategic investment? (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 4 months ago | (#45749621)

Actually, not that bad. 6% for 7 years, strike somewhere at 7 CN. I mean not great but I have seen a lot worse.

Re:Strategic investment? (4, Informative)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 4 months ago | (#45749427)

Strategic investment means somebody from the outside taking a big stake in the company.

Fairfax Financial is a insurance company and the biggest owner of BlackBerry shares. The original idea was that FairFax and some partners would do a buy out of all the existing shares for 4.7b and take BlackBerry private – like what Dell did with Dell inc. this year. That fell through when Fairfax couldn’t find any partners who were willing to up the cash. Instead BlackBerry issued 1b in convertible debt (bonds that can be converted to stock – all the downside protection of debt and all of the upside of stock ownership.) with FairFax buying 250m of that debt.

Can you sell inferior or niche goods n stay afloat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45749235)

I think we've seen where niche brands stick around a little due to legacy, personal preference, and lowering the price point.

Does Blackberry do anything that Android or iOS can't though? Honest question. I haven't looked at them in a while.

It is obvious that Android and iOS can do a lot of things a Blackberry can't, and honestly it is probably too late for them to roll out their own smart phone OS.

I remember fondly playing my C64 well up until the days when Computer Boutique had them down to a single discount section.

In the long run, the superior product has always won out. The question is if Blackberry can get a niche market that smart phones aren't optimized for: Low Power Draw or something, and maybe they have a core base of fans that isn't going away. They should listen to the people who use their product and maintain a good relationship with them. Again, In the long run, the superior product has always won out. And Smart Phones are superior in most ways to Blackberries. The CEO might be saying,"We're very much alive, thank you.", but he's just looking in the short run. He might as well be saying,"We're not dead yet." Unless they adopt Android, their days are numbered, but they can no doubt make some money in the short run. I wouldn't invest in this company though if I had a choice. They're beaten senseless by smart phones.

Re:Can you sell inferior or niche goods n stay afl (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 4 months ago | (#45749325)

They still have that air of exclusivity that some PHBs covet. And since the average PHB (and the people he tries to impress) know little about technology but a lot about status symbols...

Re:Can you sell inferior or niche goods n stay afl (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45749585)

Funny our PHBs all wanted iPhones. Around here they pushed the BlackBerrys so hard that it was just the norm for most of the teens to have, so they weren't considered status symbols at all. However us IT people preferred the BlackBerrys. Better emails, sound profiles, alerts, etc. As far as I know there is still no way on Android or iPhone to emulate priority 1 alerts on BlackBerry (breaks sound profile to be loud even if you are on vibrate).

The closest I have found is to pay extra for TouchDown on Android which allows you to create e-mail rules on the phone. You can set it to "nag until cancel", but it still will only vibrate if the phone is in vibrate mode, and if another message comes in afterwards that doesn't fir the nag until cancel rule it stops. Our development team is looking to create their own alert system to do this on the iPhones, which I think will skip the emails all together.

Users like the app selection and much better browsing on the iPhones now, but in all reality how important is that in a work environment.

Re:Can you sell inferior or niche goods n stay afl (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 4 months ago | (#45749675)

Where did PHBs covet them?

Towards the end of the BB peek it was a middle and lower level thing ("Slave Pager"), higher level employees would brag about not needing them, because stuff was covered. They didn't need to be always connected, then iPhone came, and people wanted them, because you could goof off on them AND get e-mail.

Re:Can you sell inferior or niche goods n stay afl (1)

Adult film producer (866485) | about 4 months ago | (#45749771)

Well, the latest unreleased builds run Android apps without the user having to fiddle around the system. They run as smooth and as fast as on any android device. And like the iPhone devices users have full control over what features an app can access. There are too many BBM features to mention that android users have any idea about.

Blackberry, if you want to live... (5, Interesting)

emil (695) | about 4 months ago | (#45749247)

...then license your tablet and phone OS immediately.

The tablet OS never, ever crashes, runs any Gingerbread app, and is a far superior experience to Android. Blackberry should give the OS away for free for any tablet that has CPUs under 1ghz (as long as the vendor writes the drivers).

The phone OS builds on the tablet, will load any .APK, runs other vendors' market apps, and is judged a far, far superior experience by Android converts. Blackberry should give the phone OS away to any vendor running CPUs under 800Mhz (as long as the vendor writes the drivers).

If Blackberry takes market share, it will win. This cannot be done as a vertically-integrated platform.

Re:Blackberry, if you want to live... (2)

wjcofkc (964165) | about 4 months ago | (#45749451)

and is judged a far, far superior experience by Android converts.

The experience factor may very well be true. I have had the opportunity to spend real quality time with their new OS and it really is top notch work. While the Android and iOS converts are out there, they are far and few between - but this lack of uptake has nothing to do with the quality of the product, which as I said is great. I myself as someone who is waiting for an alternative to my Android or iOS (MS, yeah right - tried that too) had great hope that this would bring BB back. The only thing stopping me is that I am far from convinced that BB will be around long enough to see this product cycle through. What is stopping a lot of people from considering the new BBs is the fully justified fear that they will end up with an unsupported device.

Re:Blackberry, if you want to live... (1)

emil (695) | about 4 months ago | (#45749579)

Blackberry should offer their QNX kernel/userland source code for free to Huaiwai for safe-keeping. This gesture would foster a new ecosystem and provide assurance to the market that the platform will not vaporize.

The marketing agreement should stipulate that Blackberry retains their appstore, and royalties on high-performance units. Low-performance units would be the giveaways to flood cheap carriers.

Blackberry should retain the ability to revoke their OS license to vendors with unacceptable failure rates.

Re:Blackberry, if you want to live... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45749481)

Apple tried licensing in the 90s, they nearly died. Ask John Scully.

Re:Blackberry, if you want to live... (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 4 months ago | (#45749671)

Yeah, but back then Apple was #2 in computer OS and holding steady. BB is what – 4th? – and falling.

Re:Blackberry, if you want to live... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45750229)

Apple makes hardware not software OSs.

That is why they succeeded into one of the richest companies in the world, not because they sell OSs.

Re:Blackberry, if you want to live... (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 4 months ago | (#45750425)

Do they make hardware? I thought they had outsourced most of their manufacturing. And most of their hardware is bought from 3rd parties. CPU, memory, etc.

I am being a bit harsh to point out that most people don't buy Apple for their hardware. They do have more custom stuff in their PCs then Dell. I mean it is nice hardware but it is overpriced. No, the reason why the buy Apples is for the OS.

Re:Blackberry, if you want to live... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45749499)

If BB dies so does QNX unfortunately. Somebody else should have bought it. And maybe they will.

Re:Blackberry, if you want to live... (1)

farble1670 (803356) | about 4 months ago | (#45749511)

The tablet OS never, ever crashes, runs any Gingerbread app, and is a far superior experience to Android. Blackberry should give the OS away for free for any tablet that has CPUs under 1ghz (as long as the vendor writes the drivers).

yes, because vendors are going write drivers for their 3+ year old hardware so it can run the (unsupported) OS of a dying company. sounds like a winner.

Re:Blackberry, if you want to live... (1)

JMZero (449047) | about 4 months ago | (#45749569)

When RIM was pushing all-in on the new OS, I wondered how any human could possibly think it was a good idea. How could they not see: it was clearly, obviously suicidal. Now, years later, after we know that it was a horrible idea - we've seen how it took away RIM's last real shot at continued relevance, now that we know people are not excited about it, that it didn't bring anything interesting or novel and has been panned resoundingly by critics and consumers pretty much everywhere, and people have demonstrated their preference by switching off RIM en masse... how can people still not see it? I mean, lots of people were stoked about the Playbook; it had every chance at success. Until people saw it and it was obvious garbage.

I know people who still like their BlackBerries, some have even gone back after experimenting with other smartphones. But they went back because of the hardware, in defiance of their hatred for the OS. My brother has one and is perpetually swearing at it and its unintuitive menus and crappy apps, but he keeps it on him because it gets a good signal, has a hardware keyboard, good battery life, and voices are clear.

He would instantly switch to an Android phone on BlackBerry hardware (sometimes he actually carries two phones so that he can have one that is a phone, the BlackBerry, and one that is everything else, the Android). I think it would be an OK idea, and said so years ago, once it was clear Android would win. I don't know anyone who would want BlackBerry OS on someone else's hardware.

Except you, I guess.

Re:Blackberry, if you want to live... (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 4 months ago | (#45749733)

Pointing out that it's judged superior by people converting to it doesn't say much, when the number of converts in the opposite direction is orders of magnitude higher. But even if it is better (I'm actually not interested in arguing its merits or lack thereof), "better" doesn't even matter here. The market already has a free mobile OS with market penetration, loyal users, and an established supply chain. The last mobile OS to get opened up was WebOS, and we all saw how that went. And that was before Android was as dominant as it is now. Opening the OS won't do anything other than make a headline here and on some other tech sites, before being quickly forgotten by pretty much everyone.

Honestly, Blackerry's only chance at this point is to transition to being a services vendor, and it looks like that's what they're trying to do. Blackberry is in a somewhat similar position to the one Sega found itself in a few video game console generations ago: they're still denying the inevitable, but at this point they've been relegated to making software on someone else's platform. Two months ago they made their bread-and-butter service, BBM, available on both iOS and Android. You don't do that unless you know you've lost the hardware game and are transitioning to a different strategy entirely. And even that is a losing proposition, since the unique services they provide are simple enough that alternatives are already being built into competing platforms in some cases (e.g. Apple's iMessage).

Blackberry did some great stuff, but somehow got it in their head that the world wouldn't move and that it would always want what they were offering. By the time they realized the world had moved in a very big way, it was simply too late to recover. I had a friend working there since 2009 who had clearly had some of their Kool-Aid. We tried to point out the warning signs even before he started, and then we kept doing so after he started. We kept telling him the writing was on the wall. He was finally shown the door in one of the most recent rounds of layoffs, and was caught completely by surprise by it, with his resume out of date and no other job prospects lined up. Culturally, they're oblivious to the state they're in.

Re:Blackberry, if you want to live... (1)

fermion (181285) | about 4 months ago | (#45749917)

MS has tried to license a mobile OS and has failed to generate a profit. There is no evidence that a Mobile OS can be licensed in the way a desktop OS can. There is no reason to think that a mobile device makers will accept the meager profits and threats and control that a laptop or desktop manufacturer does.

Blackberry was making money when everyone was paying it monthly fee. This covered the costs of the BBM infrastructure. These are other costs are evidently very high, as Blackberry is losing what is going to end up being billions. It is going to cost half a billion just to restructure.

Two years ago many were saying that RIM should develop BBM for iPhone and Android, With Ice Cream Sandwich Android was a player, and the demise of RIM was insured. The one way out was to transfer those subscribed for secured corporate communication to other phones. Android, in particular, would have provided the ability to customize to the point where a secure device would be possible.

Instead RIM decided to remain in the hardware bussiness, ignoring that it's revenue stream was secure communication, and now we have Blackberry.

Can you imagine where Blackberry would be today if it could offer secure communications.

Have you actually USED Android lately? (1)

emil (695) | about 4 months ago | (#45750359)

If so, how many surprise reboots have you had over the last two months? This never happens with QNX. PalmWebOS was just Linux; QNX is a different animal. Get a beagle bone to see the technical side. Understand it, and you will appreciate an alternative ecosystem which is superior for many uses.

Re:Blackberry, if you want to live... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45750253)

The tablet OS never, ever crashes

Er- my year+ of PlayBook ownership strongly disagrees with that. Not to mention Android apps generally perform abysmally and often the UI is unusable. Also tablets under 1ghz? 2013?

The phone OS builds on the tablet, will load any .APK

For a very limited subset of 'any'...

Blackberry should give the phone OS away to any vendor running CPUs under 800Mhz

BBOS 10 won't run anything close to well on hardware that slow. That was one of the reasons why they couldn't update the PlayBook to it, so it's on a dead orphaned version of its own OS. Also, who is buying phones under 800mhz in 2013/2014?

Why is this utter fanboy nonsense modded +5? It's factually very incorrect.

Re:Blackberry, if you want to live... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 months ago | (#45750419)

The tablet OS never, ever crashes,

I haven't had an OS crash on an Android device in absolutely ages, except my Tronsmart MK908. Don't buy shit from Tronsmart. It is woefully underdesigned.

and is a far superior experience to Android.

Meh.

Blackberry should give the OS away for free

And make it up in volume?

The real reason stock is up 15% today (5, Insightful)

JoeyRox (2711699) | about 4 months ago | (#45749291)

This $4.4B loss is one of those "throw everything out including the kitchen sink" financial quarters, where a struggling, money-losing public company tries to purge itself and basically write everything off at once, including expenses/charges that may not have happened yet. The purpose of this financial engineering is partly to make future earnings look better, both on a comparable basis but more importantly because so many expenses got thrown into the loss and so future revenue will have fewer expenses charged against it, giving the appearance of an earnings recovery. The stock is heavily shorted by smart money and they know this large "loss" is guaranteed result in future positive earnings "surprises" so they'd rather take their short earnings off the table and let the dumb money fight it out in the intermediate term.

Re:The real reason stock is up 15% today (2)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 4 months ago | (#45749583)

1. Short sellers don’t make money this way. Everybody knows what is happening so nobody is fooled.

2. RIM has already “taken a bath” for its second quarter earnings. Not to say that they are not taking another one, but there is a probably more truth then falsehood in their news release.

"I'm not dead yet" (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 4 months ago | (#45749441)

There's the adage about how anyone who has to keep reminding everyone that they're the leader is no leader at all. Seems as if the same applies here. If a company has to keep insisting that it's still alive, it really isn't.

lots of older-device sales isn't a great sign (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 4 months ago | (#45749597)

One interesting stat is that 75% of sales were actually older BB7 devices.

It's hard to say for sure, but I suspect this is mostly existing corporate customers who are already standardized on BB7 company-wide just buying more devices, as replacements for broken devices, and/or to provide devices to new staff. That provides a nice short/medium-term revenue stream, but is only sustainable in the long-term if, when these corporate customers eventually replace their BB7 infrastructure, they go with something newer that's also from BlackBerry, rather than moving elsewhere.

Re:lots of older-device sales isn't a great sign (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45750129)

The new phones are crap. I looked at them a week ago, and they don't look good, their tactile feel is bad. The high end Q10 looks like crap, and the keyboard isn't raised enough.

There are no home keys / hot keys above the keyboard, and there are no reprogrammable keys on the side.

They're not that good.

The OS looks good, though.

Buy, Mortimer, Buy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45749653)

This stock is going to climb! Get in now!

They should make NSA-proof phones (1)

LordNimon (85072) | about 4 months ago | (#45750023)

Imagine if they made phones where all communications are encrypted, and all of the encryption keys are stored on the phone itself. Throw in a Tor-like network to scatter packets, and make it so that unencrypted data never goes through Blackberry's networks or servers. Make it so that it's impossible for anyone to find out who is communicating with whom, and the phones will sell like hotcakes.

Re:They should make NSA-proof phones (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45750477)

the encryption keys *are* stored on the phone itself. I don't get why so many people think otherwise. I guess they just like to parrot what others have told them rather than check the facts...

Re:They should make NSA-proof phones (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45750499)

if you think Tor is secure from the likes of NSA, I have a bridge to sell you.

Yes (1)

The Cat (19816) | about 4 months ago | (#45750101)

Fire all the Americans. That's the path to success!

Hopefully someday America will stop being a nation of chickenshits. The pussies that run pussy money-losing companies like this ought to be washing cars.

Foxconn branded coming soon, spanking BB & Ap (2)

raymorris (2726007) | about 4 months ago | (#45750397)

Some Chinese companies have learned a neat trick.
Diamond Back did it 20-30 years ago, I suspect Foxconn will do it next.

With the BlackBerry and Apple designs and process knowledge they've provided to Foxconn, Foxconn will soon have little need for these American companies. They can just sell the next generation under the Foxconn brand.

Financial shenanigans? (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 4 months ago | (#45750445)

Can someone explain how the books looked fine for so long then all of a sudden tanked? I had assumed that all the dire talk was negative PR.

Flextronics ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45752021)

Now that BlackBerry is switching to Foxconn, I wonder what the Flextronics plants that used to make their stuff is going to do? Make more Motorola phones? I hope so.

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