Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Can A New Owner Help Blackberry?

Before Blackberry was Blackberry, it was called Research In Motion (RIM) with the hottest cellular phone on the market.  It was the smartest phone of the day and loyalty, especially by business men and women, was through the roof.  But then Apple's iPhone came along and, despite a name change to its core product, Blackberry never recovered.  Not even with its attempt to compete with its own tablet. Where Blackberry hoped to retain, Apple was poised to innovate and soon loyalty, ever a fleeting thing, eroded.  And so, Blackberry market share went from first to worst and today, the company is poised to be sold.

So what is Fairfax Financial Holdings buying?  "Anaylsts (sic) say that although BlackBerry's hardware business is not worth anything, its service business and patents are still valuable."  While the company is said to have no debt, smartphone innovation continues to move at such a rapid pace, I wonder just how much real value those patents have.  While Blackberry is still trying to make its phone more appealing, the real value may be in the app library and paired devices that make the phone that much more valuable.  Can they really catch up?  With Samsung, Google, Microsoft, and others competing with Apple and its iPhone and iPad products, Blackberry might best be served partnering with someone else.  Google has Motorola and Microsoft has partnered with Nokia; it might just be necessary for the new owners of Blackberry to find their partner.  Otherwise, I suspect that in a few years, the Blackberry brand will be ancient history. 

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