Friday, November 08, 2013

What BlackBerry is Up To?

What has been BlackBerry up to now a days, with the Fairfax deal gone to the dust, resignation of Thorsten Heins to the new interim CEO John Chen, and a bumper package with a base salary of $1 million, a bonus of up to twice that amount as well as stock awards potentially worth some $85 million, hoping that he turns around not only Canada's, but the world's most prominent technology company.

Thorsten Heins, who somehow did well to release the BB10 was under so much pressure after underwhelming response to the Z10 and Q10 and BB10, was forced to step down as the CEO of the BlackBerry and John Chen, who was credited with turning around Sybase Inc in the late 1990s. Sybase, an enterprise software company, was eventually acquired by SAP AG in 2010, was named the interim CEO of BlackBerry on 4th of November.

Thorsten Heins, Blackberry Z10

While the world had its eyes on the Prem Watsa's fairfax deal to acquire BlackBerry for $4.7 billion, it was turned down with Fairfax(BlackBerry's largest shareholder) being unable to raise the funds, and instead, they injected $1 billion into the BlackBerry and Prem Watsa became the Lead Director. With this investment deal, BlackBerry abruptly ended an auction process that many investors had hoped would have led to a sale of the company or some of its assets, ending a long decline in its fortunes as a public company.

While this unexpected deal between BlackBerry and Fairfax will give BlackBerry more time to come up with a new turnaround strategy but investors are skeptical that time will solve the company's problems. BlackBerry has failed to win back customers despite refreshing its software(BB10) and launching a set of new devices.

Watsa on the other hand looked positive and said that "The company is now being run for the long-term, it is financed very well so that it can be run for the long-term, if not we wouldn't be putting this money in,".
Though, Heins did everything that was expected, a full touch BlackBerry Z10, the most loved and admired BlackBerry keyboard was etched into the BlackBerry Q10, a lower end QWERTY, BlackBerry Q5, and a first from BlackBerry, a phablet called Z30, but amid all this, they failed miserably and now it looks like Chen and BlackBerry may have its sleeves up for ‘Plan C’. Making BBM cross platform would have never helped, and it neither did, but it did add some user base to the barren BBM friends list.

With doubts over whether Chen will put up a full stop at the hardware and make it a service provider was busted by John Chen himself who denied the rumors saying "What's BlackBerry without the hardware".

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