Crippled BlackBerry Drifting Dangerously Close to Corporate Scrap Yard

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2013-10-10 Print this article Print

The security of BlackBerry Messenger is also valuable to many users, especially people who live in nations that are sufficiently repressive that a means of secure communications is necessary. But despite the value to those trying to escape scrutiny from oppressive governments or any kind of law enforcement agency, there's not a lot of money there. The real money lies with the enterprise, with secure email and with BlackBerry Enterprise Server.

BlackBerry is offering partial access to its secure networking and its related mobile device management to companies that have BES and also use iOS or Android devices. But that's not the same thing as an ecosystem. And while BlackBerry's ecosystem isn't as broad as those based on iOS or Android, it's secure and it's enterprise-friendly. IT departments love BlackBerry even if the users don't think it's particularly cool.

But BlackBerry's ecosystem alone isn't enough to save it from the scrap yard. The Special Committee must decide if it's in the stockholders' interests to keep the company intact with the goal of creating a more focused, leaner and eventually profitable company that has a better chance of competing in the wireless world. Otherwise, it's the job of the Special Committee to maximize stockholder return the best way it can, and that probably means selling the parts of the company it can and shutting down the rest.

The answer to that conundrum depends on how the Special Committee views its charter. If the Special Committee sees its job as simply bringing stockholders the maximum immediate profit, then the company is essentially doomed. BlackBerry will be sold off piecemeal for an immediate return.

If the Special Committee can consider long-term potential benefits as well as what's best for the company's employees who helped build BlackBerry into what had been a very successful enterprise, then it will likely choose to keep BlackBerry intact. But the well-being of employees is rarely a decisive consideration in these situations.

One leader in the effort to keep BlackBerry afloat is one of the company's founders, Mike Lazaridis, who has stated publically that he's been opposed to the choices the company made when it moved to BlackBerry 10 and started pushing touch-screen phones.

Lazaridis reportedly has been trying to put together a bid to buy BlackBerry himself or to buy it in combination with Fairfax. If that happens, CEO Heins is almost certainly to find himself excused from further involvement in the company. But BlackBerry would likely find itself in a niche of its own trying to find a successful path apart from the rest of the smartphone community.



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