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BlackBerry, Freed Of Smartphones, Shifts Focus, And Regains It's Mojo

16 Apr, 2017
BlackBerry freed of smartphones shifts focus to software to return to its former glory

It was sad to witness the fall of a once-iconic brand that ruled the entire sphere of smartphones, and the failure of the Priv, BlackBerry’s first Android handset seemed to be the last nail in it’s coffin.

And many blamed BlackBerry for many things, we (at Chip-Monks) viewed BlackBerry struggling for just one reason – being married to it’s past.
Fortunately, BlackBerry is built of sterner stuff, and whatever the hyper-critical twitterati may troll BlackBerry for, there’s one thing it has – a brilliant, thinking, and persistent management team.

Divesting itself of it’s struggling captive operating system was the first strategic shift; but they didn’t stop there – BlackBerry moved to making Android phones, later eating humble pie and making it’s devices more affordable (and hence more attractive, in this world of lesser brands ruling roost).

Well, the road appears smoother now and its share value has actually risen. Profit margins are better, money’s coming, consistently.

Blackberry has surpassed the expectations of many people who had considered company’s future to be doomed.

The hundred dollar question is: what brought about this change?

Other than the pivots I covered earlier, BlackBerry has finally started to function like a software company is supposed to, and the recent rise in its software revenue shows that BlackBerry’s gamble of liberalising it’s platforms, is here to stay.

Blackberry has also shown tremendous improvements in its recently-released software which include software for self driving vehicles (bet you didn’t know that they were in that playpen too)!

Unsurprisingly, the world’s most secure smartphone brand promises to emerge as one of the biggest security software providers in the world of mobile phones.
The company has developed diverse range of security oriented software products that include services like allowing the companies to track their employees’ mobile devices, encryption, and even helps users separate personal data from professional stuff.

Bloomberg’s Intelligence Analyst Matthew Kanterman said it best, when throwing light on BlackBerry’s cost effective policy, stating,”they have taken a lot of cost out of business and are re-investing those proceeds into software”.

He further prophesied that investments in the new product would prove to be the anchor that would help the company to stay on steady ground and, “prevent the latest threats and ultimately in longer term sustain even faster growth”.

There’s more. BlackBerry has moved away from “proprietary china walling” in quite a big way, avowing to outsourcing its device design, production and sales to companies in India, China and Indonesia. Hardware manufacturers in these countries will make the handsets and BlackBerry will collect royalties and also provide those smartphones with it’s software packages.

Learning from it’s past of having it’s potatoes in one tattie scull basket, BlackBerry seems to have zeroed in on the increasing potential being created by the budding ties between automakers and technology companies. Toyota and Microsoft have recently struck a deal and now BlackBerry seems to be trying to edging into this burgeoning space.
The QNX Software business associated with Internet of Things strategy adopted by the company also seems to be a future profit maker with its ability to handle systems such as connectivity, driver assistance etc.
TD Securities expect it to be a key player in the growth of the company.

What’s more, you’d be surprised to hear (I’m sure) that Ford Motor Co. has hired 400 of BlackBerry’s engineers who had earlier worked in its mobility unit – clearly there’s something brewing there too.

So, I wouldn’t be considered too presumptuous to say that John Chen is having one heck of a ride these past few months!

Stay with it, sir – you’re onto many good things. Keep fighting the good fight!