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BlackBerry 2013: 'Oh, How the Mighty Have Fallen'

TMCnet Feature

July 01, 2013

BlackBerry 2013: 'Oh, How the Mighty Have Fallen'

By Rory J. Thompson
Web Editor

It was such an addicting, ubiquitous tool that when it first debuted back in 1999, it soon garnered its own slang nickname: the “CrackBerry.” But now, a little over a decade later, the glitter is tarnished and the BlackBerry (News - Alert) brand is suffering, seemingly overtaken by faster, more efficient and cheaper handheld devices. What’s to become of this once dominant device? Depending on whom you ask, the answer varies.

Wall Street has made its feelings known, downgrading the stock despite the company valiantly stemming losses; shares were off some 28 percent after recent Q1 earnings reports left traders bereft. This, despite the fact that the Canadian smartphone maker posted revenue of $3.1 billion, a 15-percent increase from the previous quarter, and up 9 percent compared to the same quarter a year ago, the Motley Fool reported. BlackBerry also cut its losses to “only” $84 million from $510 million during the period in fiscal 2013. Yet in spite of those numbers, analysts had been looking for a profit, and expressed their dismay when it didn’t materialize.

In a statement, BlackBerry President and CEO Thorsten Heins tried to put his best spin on the day’s events, “We are still in the early stages of the launch [of the hoped-for savior, the company’s new model], but already, the BlackBerry 10 platform and BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 are providing themselves to customers to be very secure, flexible and dynamic mobile computing solutions.” That’s all well and good, but consumers are voting with their wallets.

Still, it would be unwise to count the company out just yet. CNN Money reports that the company has a number of valuable resources that might make it attractive to potential buyers.

“BlackBerry owns a trove of lucrative patents, which is a huge advantage in the competitive -- and litigious -- smartphone field,” CNN Money said. “The company's several enterprise software solutions, including a newly announced security platform for iOS and Android (News - Alert), could be another strong source of revenue. And BlackBerry's reputation endures as a company that specializes in that strong mobile security.”

How long that reputation holds up is anyone’s guess. Heins continues to paint a positive picture, which is the right thing for a CEO to do.

In his quarterly earnings call, he said, “We’ve never been a device-only company, as we are also running a global secure data network and services business, and we don’t plan to run the company with a short-term, device-only strategy.” He then added, “What is exciting about BlackBerry today is that we’re getting very comfortable with who we are as a company and where we will fit in the market.”

Translation: Don’t count us out just yet.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

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