BlackBerry has launched a formal review of its “strategic alternatives,” which include selling the company, going private, seeking a partnership with one of the big tech firms or pretty much anything else it thinks will turn its fortunes around. Around the blogosphere, experts are weighing in on what’s in store for the embattled Canadian tech company, its shareholders and its customers.
Joe Castaldo @ Canadian Business
[A]fter six months of BlackBerry 10 sales, it’s clear the platform is not taking the world by storm. The handsets haven’t been able to gain much traction in the U.S., where the iPhone and Android still dominate. Even in developing countries, traditional strongholds for the company, low-priced Android handsets are flooding the market.
Tero Kuittinen @ Forbes
The one real asset BlackBerry still possesses is the BlackBerry Messenger, which became a crucially important messaging tool in a variety of emerging markets ranging from Nigeria to Indonesia. … It is impossible to believe any company would buy BlackBerry before waiting for a couple of months to see how the BBM roll-out [on Android and iOS] succeeds.
Matt Yglesias @ Slate
[A]s smartphone pioneers, BlackBerry no doubt holds an arsenal of patents that would be of some use to Apple or Microsoft or Google or Samsung or even HTC as part of some larger legal strategy. But you’re really talking about liquidating the company at that point, not a strategic partnership of any kind.
Christopher Mims @ Quartz
Clearly, BlackBerry has been backed into a corner by its losses and the exodus of its consumer base. While going private could give BlackBerry more time, there’s little evidence doing so would reverse its fortunes. What BlackBerry needs is a buyer with plans to overhaul the company in the way that Google has breathed new life into another once-great pioneer of the mobile industry, Motorola.
Jared Newman @ Time
The best-case scenario would be the sale or licensing of BlackBerry 10 to another phone and tablet maker, which would in turn produce better BlackBerry hardware. The worst-case scenario for users would be the sale of BlackBerry to a company that’s only interested in services like BBM and BlackBerry Enterprise Service, which arguably have more profit potential than BlackBerry 10.
Steve Ranger @ ZDNet
As BlackBerry’s statement notes, “there can be no assurance that this exploration process will result in any transaction”. It could be that after looking at all the options BlackBerry still decides to go it alone. It still has a strong brand, a reasonable enterprise customer base and some attractive technologies — it could be that a leaner BlackBerry can find a place for itself in the mobile ecosystem.
Paul Vieira @ Wall Street Journal’s Canada Real Time
Any foreign purchase of a Canadian asset with a book value of at least 344 million Canadian dollars ($334 million) requires Canadian government approval under the country’s foreign investment laws. And as demonstrated by BHP Billiton’s failed attempt in 2010 to acquire Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan, “this is not a slam dunk process,” said Peter Glossop, a Toronto lawyer with Osler Hoskin & Harcourt who specializes in foreign takeovers.
Michael Babad @ The Globe and Mail
I doubt there were many BlackBerry Ltd. stockholders around who believed in a return to the glory days of shares in the $140 range. But if there were, there shouldn’t be now.