BlackBerry. What ever happened to them? Are they still around?
Well, yes, of course. I am being facetious. Everyone knows that they have pretty much hung in there, even though news reports during the past couple of years suggested that the moving vans were on the way and all that was left was to run a tag sale on the desks and copiers.
The company soldiers on, and new CEO John Chen is making plans for a rebound. A key element to turning this around is giving people what they (hopefully) want. That strategy was put into effect this week with the introduction of the Indonesian version of the Z3 in Jakarta. Daily Finance reports that it is the first device BlackBerry is making in cooperation with Foxconn Technology Group unit FIH Mobile. The story suggests that the fate of the device is pivotal:
The success of the handset retailing for less than $200 could well decide the outcome of both BlackBerry’s tie-up with the contract manufacturing giant and its own future in smartphones. The Z3 Jakarta Edition will hit store shelves on May 15.
Over time, the Z3s will be offered in the Philippines, India, Vietnam and Malaysia, the story says. Mobile Syrup offers a closer look at the Z3 device itself.
Another approach to survival is to work well with others. In the past, BlackBerry was a closed system – the BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) only dealt with BlackBerry devices.
CNET reports that during the past year, BES has started managing Apple and Android devices. The next step is to let other companies’ servers run BlackBerry endpoints. That’s happening, at least in the case of BlackBerry 10. IBM, Citrix and AirWatch “are the first companies to express interest in allowing their own services to manage” the BlackBerry 10.
Still another piece of the puzzle for a struggling company is to get into new lines of work. Chen sees machine-to-machine (M2M) as a natural fit. In an interesting Q&A with the Indian site Economic Times, Chen said that the company’s QNX operating system can be used to good advantage:
We also see long-term value in BlackBerry and in five years, we expect to have a major play in the M2M space. BlackBerry is well positioned to lead this charge as it looks to unite people and machines across the Internet of Things – from smartphones to in-vehicle telematics system.
Chen is known as a fixer. Whether he can repair BlackBerry, and what success would look like, is unclear. The bottom line is, however, that a multistage strategy is in place.