2016 is BlackBerry Ltd (BBRY)’s Make or Break Year: John Chen

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BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) is set to roll out a new smartphone powered by Android Operating system in a bid to revive its fortunes as well as reputation in the smartphone market. The company will launch BlackBerry Priv in 2016.

When the first decade of the new millennium was in its later stages, there were not so many players in the smartphones business. The trend in all business sectors is a set of superpowers competing with one another while minnows fight among them to try their luck at the big shots. In the smartphone business, there was BlackBerry and there was Nokia. However, along came two new players in iOS and Android and suddenly it was a whole different ball game.

BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY), which once had more than a fifth of the market share in smartphones, now holds a mere half percent of the total share. Given the intimidating dominance and popularity of the company in yester years, it really comes as a shock, even they people have perhaps long forgotten BlackBerry. However, BlackBerry is not done just yet.

Ron Louks, head of BlackBerry’s smartphones business, has finally got his proposal approved. The proposal was to build a BlackBerry smartphone that is powered by Android Operating system.

BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY)has been known for using its own software in all its previous phones. However, even loyal customers find its limited range of apps quite frustrating in today’s times.

Louks said:

“there’s normal tension when you change a strategic decision, People are going to question it.”

So, in order to tackle this issue, they have announced a new phone, the BlackBerry Priv, which will be powered by Android. The phone is the result of a partnership between BlackBerry and Google. It comes with the promise of introducing BlackBerry users to over a million apps on the Google Play Store and provides them the security that they have always related with BlackBerry phones.

As BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) has been criticized for its lack of apps, Android has been criticized for its lack of security, despite being the most popular operating system for smartphones in the world.

Currently, things are not at all going well for BlackBerry in the smartphones business. In the last two and a half years alone, the company has registered losses amounting up to $6 billion. To come anywhere close to making amends, they will have to sell at least 5 million smartphones, which is a steep hill to climb given that they sold a mere 800,000 phones last quarter.

BlackBerry CEO John Chen said himself that 2016 is a make-or-break year for BlackBerry before going on to say that if the new $700 BlackBerry Priv fails to hit the right spot with users then he will have no choice but take his bow from the smartphones business.

BlackBerry’s previous attempt in making a comeback was totally unsuccessful, with the BlackBerry Z10 being totally outclassed by then Android and iOS devices. Should the security of BlackBerry devices be properly coupled with the huge app store of Android, then things could just about work out for BlackBerry.

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Ali Raza
Passion for Cyber Security, Technology, and CryptoCurrency.

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9 COMMENTS

  1. re: OK then, you tell us what you understood from this:

    Its a vague statement, you cannot draw any serious conclusions.

    Here’s a few other wild assed guesses if you like to speculate:
    a] focus on a few handsets (they’ve released many in the past couple years)
    b] outsource more of the manufacturing process to other big names (ie. more work for Foxconn, less for Canada and Mexico)
    c] fully license Blackberry Android manufacturing to other big players. Leave BB10 in house to Blackberry for top security minded clients
    d] fully license bb10 and android to other manufacturers
    e] Sell phones at cost: make money off software services supporting those handsets (BES12 licensees, BBM Protected/Meetings, etc).

    …no shortage of wild assed guesses to make…

  2. OK then, you tell us what you understood from this:

    “Otherwise, I have to think twice about what I do there,”

  3. re: “Otherwise, I have to think twice about what I do there,”
    re: To me, that’s either we make it or we are done period!

    Doesn’t look the same to me. Stick to the facts please.

  4. Not necessarily in the exact words my friend: “at the Code Mobile conference, said BlackBerry’s hardware business needs to
    turn a profit next year. “Otherwise, I have to think twice about what I
    do there,”

    To me, that’s either we make it or we are done period!

  5. re: if the new $700 BlackBerry Priv fails to hit the right spot with users
    then he will have no choice but take his bow from the smartphones
    business.

    Chen said no such thing.

    He stated a target of 5 million sold annually (all phones, not just the PRIV) otherwise he’ld have to reconsider his hardware strategy. Is their a handset manufacturer or any business that does not continually review its strategy?

  6. I don’t think they are interested in keeping the hardware anymore, I think the Priv is a last ditch in the smartphone “field” before they abandon hardware altogether. They seem to be progressing well as far as software is concerned though!

  7. Why would I want to purchase a priv 32gb for $900 Canadian. That’s unproven and has zero track record being a first device. It’s more then an iPhone or top Samsung model with a great track record.

    I was fooled once with an overpriced paperweight playbook and z10. Not a chance in hell I’ll buy a priv.

    The priv will be another flop. It will be lucky to sell 1.5 million. Not enough to save a thing. Blackberry has gone 20 different directions and are pulling at straws to keep the handset division alive!

  8. Gee, I guess that makes 4 straight years of it being ‘make it or break it’.

    Give it a rest with the melodrama, BlackBerry is a solid company that will be around forever….wake me up if they ever get in debt, any other sky is falling articles in the meantime is cheap iJournalism.

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