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Devices/smartphones

BlackBerry Gets $1B to Drop Sale Search, CEO Resigns

BlackBerry revealed Monday that its current CEO will step down, and the company will abandon attempts to sell its struggling smartphone business following a $1 billion investment from Fairfax Financial.

BlackBerry revealed the latest twist in its ongoing efforts to right the company in a statement Monday. The company said that the latest moves are the conclusion of the strategic review put into motion on August 12. (See Selling BlackBerry: The Options.)

BlackBerry will receive a $1 billion investment from Fairfax Financial Holdings and other investors. Fairfax originally struck a deal to buy BlackBerry for $4.7 billion in September. (See BlackBerry Inks Deal to Go Private.)

Since that time, however, BlackBerry has reputedly been looking at other potential suitors to acquire all or part of its business. (See Cisco Named as Possible BlackBerry Suitor.)

This will all end under the terms of this latest Fairfax deal. Once the agreement closes, current CEO Thorsten Heins will step down as CEO and resign from the BlackBerry board. In the interim, his role would be taken on by John Chen, formerly CEO of Sybase Inc.

Closing the deal is still subject to conditions, including the approval of the Toronto Stock Exchange.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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albreznick 11/7/2013 | 10:17:12 PM
Re: With the decline of BlackBerry, Canada really needed a hero... Hopefully not for much longer. You should check out the latest video of this guy ranting and raving. It's not pretty. He's the last person we need up here to put Toronto on the map. Where have you gone, Wayne Gretzky? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you. 
DanJones 11/6/2013 | 12:23:43 PM
With the decline of BlackBerry, Canada really needed a hero... But this guy isn't it:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/05/us-toronto-mayor-idUSBRE99U12820131105

For reference, Rob Ford is the mayor of the fourth largest city in North America by population.

 

 
DanJones 11/5/2013 | 1:36:34 PM
Re: Bye Bye Blackberry The funny  -- in a hollow kind of way --  thing is, if BB goes belly-up, those much ballyhooed Canandian patent treasures will all be picked over too. I can picture the patent vultures circling already.
@jopocop 11/5/2013 | 1:12:56 PM
Bye Bye Blackberry There was news out today that Ottawa blocked Lenovo from taking out BB.  

That BBC Video is classic.  It is positioned next to other CEO mistakes on Camera.

No doubt the stress was extreme at that point in time, as RIM was fading day by day.

But to be fair, many scholars and experts doing the post-mortum on BB indicate that probably by 2011 RIM was finished no matter what.  

 

One salient point being raised is that how could a one product act, BB phones, manage to fight off Apple Bank and Google Bank.  

Nokia in effect became mauled too by Apple Bank and Google Bank, so that now of course Microsoft Bank takes them out.  
Sarah Thomas 11/5/2013 | 10:49:40 AM
Re: Fast Moving, eh? Yeah, it is strange that it didn't find enough value in BlackBerry to outright acquire it, but I guess wants to show it believes it can still turnaround the business by investing in it? Not sure how long $1B can last BlackBerry though.
Sarah Thomas 11/5/2013 | 10:37:15 AM
Re: BB -- It ain't over until.......sings...... Excellent, albiet sad, list, @jopocop! I had forgotten about Mike Lazaridis' meltdown on his TV interview. Here it is,  for everyone's viewing pleasure: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6iGe7vuGeQ
pzernik 11/4/2013 | 8:30:18 PM
Re: Fast Moving, eh? I'm too clear on why Fairfax is investing $1B.   What value do they exactly get for the deal (IP, physical assets, etc.) and what are they going to do when the deal closes?  Any idea?  Why do you believe the closing of the deal spell the end of Blackberry.
@jopocop 11/4/2013 | 6:05:40 PM
Re: BB -- It ain't over until.......sings...... Also, go figure, they launch the Playbook with no native email connection directly to the net.  Mike and Jim told everybody to hook up to their BB phones to connect, but T and VZ as I recall said no dice, as we need some bucks to cover that.  

 

Oh, by the way, then on boot of that, the Playbook that retrieved emails could not store them.  

 

On the bright side, those old Playbooks in 20 years could be worth one weeks stay at the best lodgings in Waterloo.

 

 
DanJones 11/4/2013 | 5:26:53 PM
Re: BB -- It ain't over until.......sings...... The irony is that the PlayBook wasn't that bad compared to the Android tabs of the time. It just didn't have the features -- cough, secure email, cough -- that BB users expected.
@jopocop 11/4/2013 | 5:00:17 PM
Re: BB -- It ain't over until.......sings......

I have to be honest and admit that I was a BB fan all the way up to 2011, at which time I threw in the towel that they were in a hopeless situation.  Although my way into smarphones was via Palm Treo, and then the 2008 iPhone, my whole family and so many friends and business associates were huge BB fans and/or users.

Everybody knows the sad story on the BB decline, but to me the most crucial wrecking balls were 1) no timely, early replacement for the old BB OS platform that pooped out with no more dynamic evolution; 2)  the ill fated decision to proceed with the Playbook QNX OS vs not doing a QNX BB phone OS; 3) the 3 day outage; 4) Mike Lazaridis' meltdown on his TV interview; 5) Jim Basillie over-hyping and exaggerations at his Q earning conference calls; 6) the day that Verizon gave up on BB and backed up Google and Android; 7) China Telcos and the Chinese were not at all interested in BB phones even after the RIM China Boss tried for years to gain acceptance; 8) no BB 4G LTE phones until finally this year, 2 years too late; 9)  The Playbook disaster that became blatant only within a short handful of weeks of the launch where firesales were already lighting up everywhere; 10)  The selection of technocrat Thorsten Heins vs somebody else that was way more charismatic and exciting and experienced in emergency corporate rescues.

 

Even as I am making out this 10 point list, I could easily add some more mini titanic iceberg hits RIM took from 2010 to the current time.  

 

Who could forget the Blackberry love-fest in Florida where shortly before the annual event Mike and Jim had to reveal the train wrecks that were piling up with the company.  Talk about taking down the decorations and balloons before the people show up for the party is about as bad as it gets.  

 

Now, I cannot possibly see how BB can find a way to survive let alone thrive, since the recipe would be huge drastic cutting of labor, closing facilities, and selling off of assets to the point that they become a ma and pop outfit in a tiny niche corner asterisk in the global smartphone and tablet device market place.  

 

The technological race is so fast and furious with mobile devices, game changing events in the sector are happening in months, not years any longer.  Even high and mighty Apple receives plenty of flak for not introducing iPhone 6 last September.  Today, everybody wants an iPhone6 like now, ASAP.  So how could BB even possibly deal with a marketplace that is racing along at mach speed?

 

Finally, the immediate gratification one billion happy dollars that BB received today does not do much at all anymore.  A billion is not what it used to be.   That billion helps to keep the life support hooked up for merely some few weeks, or a few months at best?  The BB investors today would do far better to buy Bitcoins at $200 a coin at the new Canadian ATMs, with the good bet that those coins jump to $400 next year.  

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