BlackBerry's Comeback Attempt: How It Plans to Turn Itself Around

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2015-09-28
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    BlackBerry's Comeback Attempt: How It Plans to Turn Itself Around
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    BlackBerry's Comeback Attempt: How It Plans to Turn Itself Around

    Despite predictions of its demise, BlackBerry has come up with a strategy that it hopes will breathe new life into the company.
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    BlackBerry Is Reminding People That It Still Matters
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    BlackBerry Is Reminding People That It Still Matters

    One of the core aspects of BlackBerry's revival attempt is its plan to make people believe that it's still relevant. BlackBerry has spent the last year promoting its business, showcasing its products and reminding people that it's still around. The attempts didn't seem to make a dent in the mobile space, but they effectively conveyed to corporate customers who still rely on its platforms that the company is alive and ready to do business.
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    Don't Underestimate Its Patent Portfolio
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    Don't Underestimate Its Patent Portfolio

    It's often overlooked, but at any time BlackBerry can use its massive patent portfolio for a cash infusion. BlackBerry has patents dating back several years that are still relevant in today's mobile market. As Nokia has shown through its own licensing initiatives, a strong patent portfolio is exceedingly helpful for companies aiming to improve royalties (and thus, revenue).
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    The Enterprise Still Matters
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    The Enterprise Still Matters

    BlackBerry has made the smart move to focus on the enterprise. The fact is, the consumer market doesn't care about BlackBerry and likely never will again. The only way to be successful, therefore, is to find the niches within the corporate world that still seek the kinds of solutions BlackBerry offers. BlackBerry is trying to make that move. Will it be successful? In the coming years, BlackBerry must expand its presence in the enterprise if it is ever to post a profit again.
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    Stubbornly Stick to Physical Keys
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    Stubbornly Stick to Physical Keys

    Following that, there is still a contingent of people around the globe who want physical keys rather than virtual keyboards. Granted, that number is rather small, but if BlackBerry can be their go-to provider, it allows the company to take hold of an important niche. Upon doing so, it can sell those customers on its software solutions, where it will ultimately make the biggest impact.
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    An Interesting Take on Screen Design
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    An Interesting Take on Screen Design

    There's no doubt that BlackBerry wants to differentiate itself in every way possible. Chief among those ways is to deliver square screens instead of the traditional, rectangular designs found in other devices. Although it's unlikely that square screens will ultimately change the face of mobile, it's another way for BlackBerry to stand out and get people talking about the company and its solutions.
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    BlackBerry Still Cares About Operating Systems
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    BlackBerry Still Cares About Operating Systems

    BlackBerry has committed to its operating system development. Granted, the company is getting into the Android ecosystem, but BlackBerry has consistently said that building its own operating system matters. BlackBerry 10 is an entrée of sorts to the company's enterprise solutions, BBM and more. Ditching its mobile operating system to follow the lead of so many other vendors seems to fly in the face of its desire to be distinct in a crowded market.
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    BBM: A Key Component in Success?
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    BBM: A Key Component in Success?

    BBM is a surprisingly popular mobile-messaging platform that has nearly 200 million users. Granted, that number is far below the hundreds of millions more who use WhatsApp, WeChat, Kik or Facebook Messenger, but it's a sign that users aren't so willing to flee BlackBerry just yet. It's also another way the company can infiltrate certain market segments and sell them on its other solutions.
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    Acknowledging Android, iOS for Software Solutions
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    Acknowledging Android, iOS for Software Solutions

    One of the smartest moves BlackBerry has made over the last few years has been to acknowledge that while it's competing against Android and iOS, it still needs those platforms to succeed. So, Android and iOS users can now benefit from BES, for example. The company has also enlisted Amazon's help to allow Android apps running in that marketplace onto BlackBerry's mobile operating system. Acknowledging the importance of Android and iOS in its future is a move in the right direction for BlackBerry.
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    A Move to the Internet of Things?
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    A Move to the Internet of Things?

    BlackBerry is one of the many companies in the technology industry hoping to make an impact in the Internet of things (IoT). The company has its own IoT platform and says that it can deliver services across the automotive and asset tracking verticals. IoT is expected to be the next big thing in tech. Why shouldn't BlackBerry try to reinvent itself and be a player there?
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    Bring On Android
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    Bring On Android

    In a move that may startle old-time BlackBerry users, the company has confirmed that it'll be delivering an Android-based smartphone this fall. Dubbed the Priv, the smartphone will focus on the company's "ultimate mission [of] protecting your privacy." BlackBerry isn't announcing details on Priv just yet—it called its early leak to the public "extraordinary"—but the decision to deliver an Android phone suggests it's moving in a new direction that focuses on securing popular operating systems and making them far more private than they are now. We'll have to see how that works out.
 

BlackBerry is still breathing, despite the predictions by countless pundits, analysts and market researchers in recent years of an impending death. Admittedly, those predictions of the death of BlackBerry haven't been so far-fetched. In the company's fiscal year ended March 3, 2012, BlackBerry generated a profit of $1.2 billion on revenue of $18.4 billion. In the 2015 fiscal year ended March 15, BlackBerry's revenue plummeted to $3.3 billion and it posted a net loss of $304 million. Despite those figures, however, BlackBerry continues to claim that it knows how to turn things around. And over the last several months, the company has made several interesting moves in an attempt to do just that. Does that mean BlackBerry will eventually return to profitability? It's hard to say. But what is clear is that the company has a strategy to turn things around. And it's betting it all that its strategy will work. Read on to find out how BlackBerry plans to turn its business around with a strategy that combines both old ideas and new.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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