10 May What Is Happening to BlackBerry?
In 2013, after blocking off a more or less hostile takeover by the Fairfax Financial consortium, which included other companies as well, yet Fairfax already owns 10% of BlackBerry, shareholders decided to opt for a one billion US Dollars cash injection in order to continue doing business. Initially it seemed to have worked, the new OS, the BlackBerry 10 got introduced, several new phones including Q5, Q10, Z10, Z30, BlackBerry Leap, the quirky BlackBerry Passport and the very well received BlackBerry Classic were released, but sales still dropped and now BlackBerry holds about two percent of global handheld sales.
In January 2015, Reuters published a rumour that Samsung is in talks to take BlackBerry over for a price around $15 per share, a move that was considered possible, because BlackBerry holds approximately 2 billion US Dollars’ worth of patents. Both parties later denied the rumours, but this one remained persistently active. Interestingly enough, despite all the financial troubles and takeover rumours, BlackBerry managed to purchase an Israeli company, WatchDox, which specialises in cloud based document security in April of 2015. The introduction of the BES12 cloud, an advanced mobility management feature that is deployable either on-premise or in the cloud, yet is seamlessly working across all platforms, including BlackBerry, iOS, Android, Windows Phone and Samsung KNOX, seems to be a direct consequence of that purchase.
Perhaps this is the plan now, that BlackBerry, although still dabbling in smartphone manufacturing, transfers the focus of doing business by providing extensive secure services for business users, which are not truly available elsewhere. BlackBerry has a very good name in terms of security and data protection, despite some scandals in the past in regards to the US government. BlackBerry did start out as a smartphone for businesspeople, a phone that is providing professional features for the whole enterprise, which differs from the “everybody is our customer” approach of all other manufacturers. Targeting businesses and professionals primarily did make BlackBerry famous, perhaps this reorientation towards its own roots is the right solution after all.