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Blackberry CEO Out, Sale Plans Scrapped
by Karl Bode 10:33AM Monday Nov 04 2013
Blackberry's stock is taking a beating today after the company announced that it would be cancelling plans to sell itself off, and that Blackberry CEO Thurston Heins would be "stepping down." According to a company announcement, their deal with Fairfax Financial Holdings to be acquired (announced in September) is being replaced by a deal to nab $1 billion in new financing from Fairfax and others.

Meanwhile outed CEO Thurston Heins, who spent much of his year playing make believe, is to be replaced by former Sybase executive John S. Chen while the company conducts a search for his replacement.

"Today's announcement represents a significant vote of confidence in BlackBerry and its future by this group of preeminent, long-term investors," said Barbara Stymiest, Chair of BlackBerry's Board.

"The BlackBerry Board conducted a thorough review of strategic alternatives and pursued the course of action that it concluded is in the best interests of BlackBerry and its constituents, including its shareholders. This financing provides an immediate cash injection on terms favorable to BlackBerry, enhancing our substantial cash position. Some of the most important customers in the world rely on BlackBerry and we are implementing the changes necessary to strengthen the company and ensure we remain a strong and innovative partner for their needs."

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MPScan
Premium
join:2001-08-24
Boston, MA

Really?

Just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Nothing to see here folks, move along.

AndrewC

@charter.com

3 recommendations

Re: Really?

More like spend a bunch of money buying NEW deck chairs to rearrange on the Titanic.

N3OGH
Yo Soy Col. "Bat" Guano
Premium
join:2003-11-11
Philly burbs
kudos:2
They made a TV show about BB.

The Walking Dead....
ISurfTooMuch

join:2007-04-23
Tuscaloosa, AL

My guess

My guess is that all the offers they had were basically to buy the company, then dismantle it and sell off the pieces, and they didn't want to go for that. The reason could be that they feel the company has a future, or their pride may simply not allow them to see it simply declared dead and carved up.

DaSneaky1D
what's up
Premium,MVM
join:2001-03-29
The Lou

Re: My guess

Or, it could be that too many world leaders and business leaders utilize the service to allow it to fall into "irresponsible hands".

aaronwt
Premium
join:2004-11-07
Woodbridge, VA
said by ISurfTooMuch:

My guess is that all the offers they had were basically to buy the company, then dismantle it and sell off the pieces, and they didn't want to go for that. The reason could be that they feel the company has a future, or their pride may simply not allow them to see it simply declared dead and carved up.

But Fairfax Financial Holdings is also one of the entities supplying part of the $1 billion in capital to Blackberry.
ISurfTooMuch

join:2007-04-23
Tuscaloosa, AL

Re: My guess

True, but that's less money than they were going to offer before, so they get less. They may be willing to gamble that amount to see if new management can turn things around, but they may not have wanted to own the company outright for any longer than it would have taken to chop it up.
ADL

join:2000-12-20
USA

Blackberry needs to hop on the Android bandwagon

Slap the BB10 skin over stock android and they'd move phones. Sadly I don't see that happening.
ISurfTooMuch

join:2007-04-23
Tuscaloosa, AL

Re: Blackberry needs to hop on the Android bandwagon

That's what I'd do. Build really high-quality hardware, outfit it with a business-centric build of Android, including encryption on everything right out of the box, and aim it at the professional market. Do that, and I think it'd sell well.

Dr Demento
I Vant Blud

join:2002-01-02
Denville, NJ

Re: Blackberry needs to hop on the Android bandwagon

I'm sorry but whenever I read anything that states any company must move to Android to survive I can't help but think why don't we just take this Reductio ad absurdum to its ultimate conclusion and proclaim that everyone should simply own an iPhone.

Yes Android is overall more popular. But if certain apps I got originally for the Galaxy Nexus don't work correctly on the Galaxy S3, I can only imagine the compatibility hurdles a specially made distro of Android would have with most of the popular Play Store applications. How they are emulating Android is the best they can dip into that market without compromising themselves to lawsuits and maintaining a nicely integrated multitasking OS.

Blackberry seems to be taking the right steps especially in this current hostile business environment by diversifying BBM to Android and iOS while making that a showcase of their devices. It is very similar to how iTunes is available for Windows as a way to further entice people into the Apple ecosystem more Whether that works are not is unknown but they are making the right steps mitigating their public shares from a hostile market rife with speculation. There is still a whole world out there to tap into.
ISurfTooMuch

join:2007-04-23
Tuscaloosa, AL

Re: Blackberry needs to hop on the Android bandwagon

The problem that BlackBerry faces is at least partly that their OS is is such a small player in the market that it doesn't get so much developer attention, and platforms live and die by how many apps are written for them. The advantage to them of adopting Android is that they can freely customize it just about any way they want. If I were doing it, I would design it with device encryption enabled by default, plus the ability to make encrypted calls and send encrypted messages baked into the OS. Removable SD cards would not be an option, since that allows data to be potentially taken out of the device and copied for later analysis, and apps that do not meet a certain level of security either couldn't run or would be severely restricted as to how they could interact with other apps or the OS itself. Build this with durable, tamper-resistant hardware, and maybe sell it with a little RFID device that the owner could wear on their clothing so that, if the BlackBerry is taken out of range, it will shut down completely.

Yes, you can do all this without Android, but using it would allow BlackBerry to focus on their specific hardware and software without having to also write their own OS.
sonicmerlin

join:2009-05-24
Cleveland, OH
kudos:1

Re: Blackberry needs to hop on the Android bandwagon

Android lags.

jseymour

join:2009-12-11
Waterford, MI
said by Dr Demento:

I'm sorry but whenever I read anything that states any company must move to Android to survive I can't help but think why don't we just take this Reductio ad absurdum to its ultimate conclusion and proclaim that everyone should simply own an iPhone.

Because it would be a silly thing to say?

The reason it might make sense for BB to do as ISurfTooMuch suggested is because they can. Do it right, as ISTM suggested, including adding something like Samsung's Knox, and they might have a real winner. As it is: They've got something that people are holding on to for much the same reasons I used to hold on to my Palm Centro.

Okay: Maybe that's no more apt a comparison than your's, but riddle me this: As BB's numbers continue to shrink: How much longer can they continue to support their infrastructure, until the money and lenders both run out?

Jim

Mark_Venture

join:2000-05-31
Thorndale, PA

Re: Blackberry needs to hop on the Android bandwagon

said by jseymour:

The reason it might make sense for BB to do as ISurfTooMuch suggested is because they can. Do it right, as ISTM suggested, including adding something like Samsung's Knox, and they might have a real winner.

Yes Samsung is making big profits as far as Android sales, but look at HTC and Motorola, once dominant Android device makers, who have not been doing too good (just breaking even, or continue to lose money).

How long would it take Blackberry to switch to Android and "add something like Samsung's Knox" that still isn't as secure as their BB OS? Does BB have the talent to do that after the recent layoffs? Can they survive long enough to do make that change in direction?

On top of that, if they do manage to switch to Android, how do they differentiate their devices from other android makers? Samsung is so far out in front, what could BB add that would make anyone select a BB device running android over a Samsung Android device or even one from Moto or HTC?

BB has picked up some good press recently, KPMG Italy (3500 devices plus BES10), a bank in Spain, NATO approving devices, etc. While it may not completely negate those exiting BB, it still shows interest in their BB products and services.

I am surprised that I haven't read more of companies selecting BES10 and BB's "Secure Work Space for iOS and Android" solution.
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hescominsoon

join:2003-02-18
Brunswick, MD
neither Andriod or Iphone are enterprise grade secure..and neither of them have DOD security certifications beyond any but confidential..they aren't business mobile os platforms but media consumption platforms.
toro

join:2006-01-27
Scarborough, ON
kudos:8
Reviews:
·Rogers Hi-Speed
I agree as well with this.
I was a blackberry user and loved it until about a year ago. I still like the hardware they make, but there are simply no useful apps for it and I doubt that will change in the future.
Also, their tablet was an even bigger disappointment. They never even upgraded the OS on those to BB10 so there are even fewer applications available.
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IPPlanMan
Holy Cable Modem Batman

join:2000-09-20
Washington, DC
kudos:1

The end was near and clear from Netflix...

I knew this was the end of BlackBerry as a separate platform…. There's no coming back.
»www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/2 ··· 435.html

Android and BBM is the way to go… with what's left of the company. Sadly, I don't think BlackBerry will do that. What a shame.

Otherwise, this company needs to be put out of its misery.
--
"We're going to start at one end of (Fallujah), and we're not going to stop until we get to the other. If there's anybody left when that happens, we're going to turn around and we're going to go back and finish it."
Lt. Col. Pete Newell: 1st Inf. US Army

PedanticCdn

@bell.ca

Re: The end was near and clear from Netflix...

You do remember that this is the sort of thing that most of the press was saying about Apple in the 90s, don't you? There's no software, they have no appealing products, they couldn't even manage to secure a deal to sell the company, they'll be bankrupt in short order, give the money back to the shareholders, etc.

The very idea that Android is a viable option for BlackBerry is flawed. Android exists precisely to support Google's data mining and advertising businesses, which is exactly the opposite of what anyone would accept as a truly secure platform.

It seems more likely that an attempt at a wholesale switch to Android would make BlackBerry's extinction unavoidable. Nobody has managed to present any real competition to Samsung, hardly even Google itself, with its own (branded) devices; the remainder of the Android world fights for the remaining scraps. At least their own OS, which is maturing more quickly than either iOS or Android did when introduced, offers some semblance of a chance of survival, however slim. For all we know, they may persist as a somewhat profitable niche player indefinitely.

Dr Demento
I Vant Blud

join:2002-01-02
Denville, NJ

3 edits

The reports of Blackberry's death are greatly exadderrated.

said by ISurfTooMuch :
The advantage to them of adopting Android is that they can freely customize it just about any way they want.
Crafting a great distro from the ground up is not any easier from the resource perspective then designing one yourself, it is mostly done so it remains compatible with other OSs that share its kernel and API such as Linux/GNU. The problem is adding features to the Android OS itself poses the risk of breaking compatibility of a number of critically popular applications and even search functions. This example was highlighted when certain companies produced cheap MIPs tablets who SoC had 3D but because most devs didn't compile their applications beyond ARM such tablets were stuck to almost exclusively relying on Dalvik. Also, if even the latest version of App Guardian and Guardian project apps are any indication certain applications still crash when layered with extra security.

said by IPPlanMan :
I knew this was the end of BlackBerry as a separate platform…. There's no coming back.
Citing the refusal of one particular popular entertainment application maker's refusal to port their application is no indication that BB10 is bound to fail the world over. Said streaming service is not even available in all countries yet. And where it is perhaps employers lending devices to employees would feel comfortable with the thought that they won't be distracted on the job with their favorite TV series.

With the BB10 and Playbook OS web browser being fully HTML5 and plugin compliant there should not be a problem with getting popular web based services running, unless said service erects synthetic barriers.

said by jseymour :
Okay: Maybe that's no more apt a comparison than your's, but riddle me this: As BB's numbers continue to shrink: How much longer can they continue to support their infrastructure, until the money and lenders both run out?

I am not saying BB made no mistakes in the past. But to somehow thwart any momentum by citing global numbers as Android has the advantage of more then one manufacturer, even though Samsung dominates that to an extent. This invites a perception of hopelessness in short inciting desertion from lenders regardless if they got certification for BB10 from the US and other governments to maintain revenue. Businesses are getting by being profitable with a lot less such as video card maker Matrox, who are catering to the commercial multi-display and video editing workstation market. This isn't about growing market share any more but trying to maintain it for a future where perhaps they can position themselves once more.

In short, a retooled Android OS is going to be so crippled to app availability that it would be not much different then what BB is doing now through emulation, without any of the benefits they can directly deliver through their BB10 OS. Like I said before, this is all part of a battle of perception to sway public shares, the more Blackberry can acquire back the better chances they have stay in business and in the future rebound.
ADL

join:2000-12-20
USA

Re: The reports of Blackberry's death are greatly exadderrated.

Blackberry needs apps plain and simple. If they can take advantage of the Android ecosystem they would be a better position.

Microsoft is practically giving away low end Windows Phones like the Lumia 520 and 620 to try to gain market share.
sonicmerlin

join:2009-05-24
Cleveland, OH
kudos:1

Re: The reports of Blackberry's death are greatly exadderrated.

Bb10 has an android runtime. Kinda buggy though.
shmerl

join:2013-10-21

Blackberry has a load of issues

Blackberry is one of the companies behind the newly emerged patent troll Rockstar, which acquired Nortel patents (together with Microsoft, Apple and Sony). This is called patent privateering. They also were opposing to adapting open codecs on the Web, since they are backing H.264. So as a company, they aren't pleasant.

Dr Demento
I Vant Blud

join:2002-01-02
Denville, NJ

Re: Blackberry has a load of issues

But Google has adopted H.264 for YouTube while their HTML5 page is in perpetual beta and not all content is converted. I'm not calling BB an angel even though they seem more open then Apple or even Google with mobile Chrome when it comes to installing third party plug-ins. Calling them out on their cross licensing agreements and getting behind popular closed codecs in relation to other large players is simply the pot calling the kettle black
shmerl

join:2013-10-21

Re: Blackberry has a load of issues

Nothing stopped them from backing open codecs in addition to whatever they wanted to support. Yet they didn't.

AnonMe

@comcastbusiness.net

Entertainment

The BB story is just entertainment at this point. They have lost so much market share and their reputation is now one of an "old guy at a 20's club" to the point that there is nothing they can do to turn the ship around. Throwing more money at it is irresponsible, and seems to be more about egos than what makes the most financial sense. You don't make the best financial decisions when decisions are made from emotions.

In the last 2 years, my supported BB's (my customers BBs) have gone from about 75 down to 0. Not about 0, but exactly 0. And NOBODY (of my customers or friends) even entertains buying one at this point.

If they really want to try something new, they should build a new company, new business model, new management, new employees, and change the name.