Blog Post

End of the road beckons for BlackBerry: company is looking for “possible transactions”

Stay on Top of Enterprise Technology Trends

Get updates impacting your industry from our GigaOm Research Community
Join the Community!

BlackBerry(s bby) seems to have given up its quest to take on the likes of Apple(s aapl) and Google(s goog) on its own: on Monday, the embattled Canadian smartphone maker said it was considering a sale, a joint venture, a strategic partnership or any other “possible transactions” that might work.

In a statement, BlackBerry said its board had formed a special committee to look into its options. The committee is chaired by Timothy Dattels and includes CEO Thorsten Heins, board chair Barbara Stymiest and two telecoms industry veterans — Richard Lynch and Bert Nordberg – that BlackBerry only brought onto its board in February.

Meanwhile, Prem Watsa has resigned from the board. Watsa is the CEO of Fairfax Financial, BlackBerry’s largest investor, so the conflict of interest given the new landscape was clear. Although BlackBerry has taken on financial and legal advisors, the company stressed that “there can be no assurance that this exploration process will result in any transaction.”

BlackBerry’s flagship Z10 smartphone and the underlying BlackBerry 10 OS are make-or-break developments for the company, which has failed to have much on an impact on the rise of its rivals. However, the Z10 has not been a success and, despite having come out this year, it is currently available at knock-down prices.

The news of the special committee’s formation follows a Reuters story on Friday that suggested BlackBerry was considering going private — shareholders have reportedly been unhappy at the theorized $5-7 billion valuation for this.

10 Responses to “End of the road beckons for BlackBerry: company is looking for “possible transactions””

  1. No one can predict the future (Apple death knells, anyone?)

    Blackberry could:

    1. Position itself as the smartphone for privacy. Be the smartphone for discerning spies who like the odd game of Angry Birds.
    2. Ditch its dumb reliance on an Exchange infrastructure (did they already do this?)
    3. Use 100% open/popular comms protocols (like Facetime, did that ever get ISO certification?) – this fits with releasing BBM across other platforms. Promote PAYG exclusively, zig when other fsckers zag, right?
    4. In world of phablets and big screens go smaller, smaller, offer implants and RFID tats.
    5. Become the smartphone of choice for the ruling classes. Charge what they want for it, they can afford it.

  2. It’s sad, because more competition is a good thing. Come on, someone buy lots of Blackberries. I don’t want then though, but I’d rather the company stay around. What halppened to Palm was really sad.

  3. Mcbeese

    There is still time to migrate the devices to android, and position BlackBerry as the android enterprise solution of choice. It boggles my mind that BlackBerry still thinks that QNX is a good idea.

  4. Blackberry should seek a strategic alliance with or acquisition by Amazon.
    1) Develop a premier, vertically integrated, enterprise support platform.
    2) Merge Kindle and Playbook technologies for a 3ed generation tablet (include Wacom in the mix if possible) Develop unique mobile computing tool(s) for large/small business, design, research, medical support, engineering, journalism and logistics with a tablet that uses QNX to support bb10 that can run android. Kindle Playbook for consumer, small business and enterprise model cloud computing.”Kindle Playbook” as interface tool for data collection and data analytics. The premier multifunction data sensor, analyzer and visualized.
    3) Blackberry Communications and Amazon Data networks synergistically merged to support innovation in consumer, small business, enterprise and B2B service, production and transactions.
    Blackberry Strategy Team… Contact me, [email protected]

    • James Katt

      The Blackberry 10 OS already has a Unix-Like kernel called QNX.

      The problem for Blackberry is that it takes a lot of work and time to optimize an operating system. Blackberry had to start from scratch with QNX which is a fairly rough system which was successfully used in embedded systems – not smartphones.

      Generally, that is something that would take at least 3 years to do, so when Blackberry released its initial version, it was panned for being incomplete and not polished. By the time Blackberry polished it to the Blackberry 10, it was far behind in the smartphone race.

      The only way Blackberry can compete is how Nokia competes: selling cheap smartphones which had quality. Nokia is clawing its way back, though has a long way to go because it has the hardware expertise to sell cheap phones. Blackberry doesn’t have this expertise and needs to acquire it soon in order to avoid being quashed.

    • James Katt

      Taking on Ubuntu would put Blackberry 3 years farther behind as it would take a load of work to polish Ubuntu for a smartphone.

      Further, the usual Ubuntu user is a cheapskate who wants his software free. This is not the type of customer Blackberry wants at all.

      Companies that race to the bottom are generally squashed in the smartphone race.