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back to article BlackBerry: It's the end-to-endness, stupid

Going private still looks the most likely next step for BlackBerry, with Prem Watsa, the largest shareholder in the company, resigning from its board this week, apparently to put together a deal. Watsa still holds almost 10 per cent of BlackBerry stock. Yet even if BlackBerry goes private, its options remain brutal. Nobody …

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Anonymous Coward

RIM's core business

has always been supplying businesses with secure and reliable communications. They forgot that and tried to get into supplying average Joe's with BB and Tabs. That and several service outages almost cost them their company.

Focus on the core RIM. Corporations don't need 32 bit color screens, stereo sound and the rest. They want to get an email from the VP Sales Director to a Regional Sales Manager in a secure fashion. You can already do that, so stop faffing about and do that.

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Re: RIM's core business

Mostly agree, but there's an additional fly in the ointment.

Somehow or another (and I really don't understand how because it well before the NSA found itself in the spotlight) executives and government types everywhere decided the security of your comms wasn't important. Because if you were concerned about the security of your email, you'd still be using the archaic RIM system.

Also, while it would certainly be a niche market, if somebody marketed an American built, camera-less cell phone, they'd have guaranteed sales to the US military for classified work areas. I'd imagine you could probably work similar arrangements in other countries as well.

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Android

BB would've done well to have abandoned the QNX approach and install Android with a BB UI. An Android "fork", if you will. That would've instantly plugged BBX (if that's what it would've been called) into the Android app ecosystem directly without the side loading failure (Gingerbread? Really??) and allowed BB to have introduced their new handsets much sooner, remaining relevant. Now look at them and the joke that Heins has become.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Android

Going Android would have been a mistake. Not only is Android inferior to BB10, but it's also unprofitable.

Just take a look at the current state of the Android market, other than Samsung who is making money?

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Mushroom

Re: Android

"but it's also unprofitable."

Except for Microsoft of course.

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Re: Android

"other than Samsung who is making money?"

Microsoft.

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The market is still there,

if not the one they want. Businesses want and need a good, secure device for work communication. OK, it may never grant the megabucks that Apple & Samsung pull out of consumer devices, but there is a place for a well designed, controllable, work-based system for serious companies. I know several companies that already deploy BB, and they only reason that they will consider staying with them is if the control and deployment is easier than a multitude of iOS / Android / Exchange compatible phones.

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Rage.....

I liked the article until,

"But in the BYOD era people simply bring in their own iPhones and Galaxys"....

<rant>

No we don't. Let me correct this for you. "But in the BYOD era people can* simply bring in their own iPhones and Galaxys".

It narks me with the constant tech media pushing the "we're moving to this utopian BYOD society" message.

My two reasons...

1) Why would I want to pay for having work being able to email me 24/7

2) Why would I let the sys admin have access to my property, giving my employer permission/access to my personal data?

It can be annoying carry two handsets around, but the time comes I head to pastures new, here have the company phone back with nothing personal on it.

</rant>

I don't normally rant by there is something about BYOD that raises my hackles.

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Re: Rage.....

"Why would I want to pay for having work being able to email me 24/7"

Very true, I get reimbursed for my 2d (work) phone, but a couple years ago I'd didn't need to worry about it. Basically the company just offloaded the hassle of equipment procurement and billing onto it's employees. It's as if every month I'm lending them money.

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Re: Rage.....

There was an article a couple of (months? years?) ago that mentioned BYOD would actually morph into "Buy Your Own Device" and this would be the fault of the iTards wanting to use their iToys instead of the company-issued devices. I even agreed with that view, as my then-current employer had issued us company cellphones ... but they were "dumbphones". We were expected to answer emails on the move, but that would be using our own personal smartphones. Don't have one? Too bad, you have to buy your own.

At least having the company dumbphone meant I didn't need to cave in with privacy issues; only calls from the company cellphone were scrutinized.

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Well my Uni gave up on BB. That's 25k users gone for BB.

We are just about complete in moving away from BB, and on to Google Apps for Education.

And with 40k potential users between students, faculty & staff, BB has little chance of ever getting any of them back again.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Well my Uni gave up on BB. That's 25k users gone for BB.

"We are just about complete in moving away from BB, and on to Google Apps for Education."

... which we will part with as well in a few years time when the new Masters o/t Uni become friends with yet another telco or handset-manufacturer...

What companies must learn is that sometimes it's better to just hold on! And let the storm pass by.

Things NEVER last! Not even Galaxy's.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Well my Uni gave up on BB. That's 25k users gone for BB.

"We are just about complete in moving away from BB, and on to Google Apps for Education."

My condolences. Hopefully you will get to upgrade to Office 365 before too long....

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They should try to hold on

I think, in retrospect, their big mistake was the Playbook. They had the time and the team and expertise to develop one modern touchscreen platform at a time, and they did a tablet one first. If they'd finished BB10 and not the Playbook OS in 2011, this could have been a very different story. I suppose, like everyone else, they didn't get how totally in danger their core market was. But hindsight's always 20/20.

As for plan-changing, I'm not convinced. BB10 is finished. It's not great, but it exists. It runs. People are developing apps for it. Blackberry can't afford to fork Android into a super-secure version-they don't have time, they don't have the budget. If I were them, I'd say the only option would be to hold on and try to recruit top sales people in individual countries where they have a foothold. And maybe hire whoever out there has developed good apps for BB10, and get them to generate further developer engagement. Same with Nokia, sadly-I think going with WP may have been a mistake, but do they really have the cashflow to shut themselves down and reboot with Android models? (Though that said, maybe they should beg for a bailout from Google? To compete with Samsung? It's a thought.)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: They should try to hold on

" Same with Nokia, sadly-I think going with WP may have been a mistake, but do they really have the cashflow to shut themselves down and reboot with Android models?"

Why should they "reboot" with Android when they had a much better linux-based OS?

Not to mention that some people actually like Symbian phones (obviously NOT the android biased El Reg editors). Perhaps not for the enormous amount of incredibly usefull apps but yes, indeed, for its numerous build in features that still no other smartphone OS today live up to! Besides I wrote time and time again that Nokia should have embraced WP as another productline BESIDES their current offering. Hence broaden their portfolio instead of the draconion gut cutting slaughter on jobs, innovation and sanity.

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Re: They should try to hold on

I think I agree.

Why do companies only have to have one product (set) ?

Apple appear to have/had several products: iTunes-iPod/iPhone/iPad, Laptop-accessories and iMac-accessories; not all were madly successful, so were quietly dropped. Nokia although providing several services which made their phones better, but seemed too willing to let an incompetent carrier replace them, I think it would be better if the carriers just bought a complete package, instead of not understanding the tech they were selling.

Generalization

People will put up with an unreliable product and even say it gives it character, but when they are able and can afford a more reliable one they will switch (perhaps after a morning period). Reliability is one aspect of usability, important when you depend on it for communication with family and friends or colleagues and clients.

I think Blackberry should have been in all aspects of company - mobile device communication, a speedy, secure and reliable link between, say, architect's office and their pad/book for showing a client plans. Managing lost mobile devices, not just remote wiping private data, but providing alternate access to that private data - leave your phone on a train, just go to a phone shop at the station, get a replacement (for a cost), type in a configuration key and carry on.

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Re: They should try to hold on

It's too late for that - they are done. Time for the asset strippers. The Nokia train crash is just in a longer time-frame to BB as they had more cash/clout to begin with.

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Mushroom

Re: They should try to hold on

"The Nokia train crash is just in a longer time-frame to BB as they had more cash/clout to begin with."

Nokia's WP sales are climbing at over 30% a quarter and they are on course to make a profit (they had a tiny loss last quarter). So I don't think they will be going down the BB path of no return any time soon....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: They should try to hold on

It's easy to make 30% per quarter gains when you are below the noise level of the graph. Talk to us again when they have measurable sales.

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FAIL

Re: They should try to hold on

Nokia's WP sales are climbing at over 30% a quarter

7 years ago I increased my income by 260%, which should be very impressive. But if you look at the actual numbers, it was actually an increase from $233/month to $623/month. Not that impressive, is it?

Same goes for Nokia. Their upwards climb is negligible, especially taking into account that they had the #1 spot before Elop shat all over Nokia by killing Symbian.

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Meego is dead

"Why should they "reboot" with Android when they had a much better linux-based OS?"

It's dead, Jim. Accept that. Gone for good, sorry. Scrapping WP8 and choosing a platform with no apps, no developer engagement? Scrapping the ad campaigns that are at least generating growth? Even if the result was better, the Osborne effect alone would kill them. Nokia's cash flow isn't enough to support a six-month sales gap.

I don't care how much better than WP8 it was, launching it now, again, would be suicidal.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: They should try to hold on

But WP is already at 10% UK market share and growing quickly. That's hardly just noise....

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FAIL

Re: They should try to hold on

WP sales increased from 5.6m to 7.4m Q1 to Q2 2013 about 30%- but ASP dropped from 182€ to 157€. Revenues from WP sales increased about 14% just enough to compensate for the remaining Symbian revenues lost Q1 to Q2. Operating loss for the smartphone BU of Nokias Devices&Services only decreased from 179m€ to 160m€. Still a long way to reach break even -and far away from 10% operating margin as promised on 11211...

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This post has been deleted by its author

Horizontally What?

"the smart money was on a horizontally sliced industry"

Everyone knows the correct way to cut a sandwich is diagonally.. Blackberry understood this, as well as the importance of sandwiches generally. It's success can be reproduced, and if diagonally sliced sandwiches no longer produce the winning formula they could always fall back on the old faithful.. cutting them vertically and slapping on a piece of bacon.. because literally any sandwich is better with bacon, try it if you don't believe me.

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Anonymous Coward

There's no nice way to say it...

Yes, for all its fault BES still provides the most comprehensive means of provisioning, controlling and securing corporate handsets - but our experience with the build quality and reliability of successive generations of Blackberry handsets has been simply diabolical. We may appreciate the Administrative aspects of BES, but our users have grown to hate them with a passion and the replacement rate is spectacular.

I don't enjoy offering the opinion, but I think Blackberry is finished, at least in any form that bears similarity to its current state. We may see real benefits in a BES-like product that some successor company extends to the rest of the market, but when it comes to their own kit, they've killed themselves.

AC, because IT didn't make the 3-year lock-in renewal decision and nobody likes to be told 'I told you so.' I have however, prepared a little 'I told you so' dance.

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I'm tired.

At first glance, it said

"Blackberry: It's end to end stupid."

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