You’ll have heard a lot since the introduction on the Priv by BlackBerry that BlackBerry 10 is dead. Finished. Goodbye. And yet, against all seemingly known logic (read amateur CEO’s), with the fact that it is still being updated and resources are still being allocated it would appear not.
Why so? The answer is very, very simple. But to find out why it may not be moving at the pace we would like it to – let’s just take a little look backwards – then forwards.
John Chen very publicly has split the company up into its component parts. This has had the effect of concentrating BlackBerry’s efforts on their strengths and has, as we here at UTB spoken of many, many times, successfully achieved stage 1 of any turnaround – grab the low hanging fruits. What that means is that the company grabs what it can with as little effort (and cost) as possible in the areas where it faces the least active competition. It doesn’t take a genius to work out, therefore, why software has been such a large focus. Oh, by the way, it’s worked.
So while the (cough) ‘experts’ continually scream for the death of BlackBerry, they are also begrudgingly now accepting that the company is saved, It isn’t going bust, it will be ok. This despite the arguments that device sales are all, market share has shrunk and therefore the whole thing is pointless.
Oh, and we’ve gone Android.
So now they say BlackBerry should sell off it’s device business, obviously so they can take comfort in their ‘BlackBerry is dead’ theory only applying to the most public part, but that they say this because it’s the worst performing bit of a great company (yes, I know).
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear…
Let’s assume the guys who’ve been wrong so far are right. Why on earth does John Chen, under pressure to deliver from his shareholders, all painfully aware that the device sector sales (or lack of them) are artificially suppressing the companies valuation on the stock market due to that area being more in the public eye than others – why would he carry on making phones? And why, cry we BlackBerrians, is he flirting with Android??
Firstly, and this is important, look at the official name of the first BlackBerry device running Android. ‘Priv by BlackBerry’. It’s not called the BlackBerry Priv. Why not? Because the differentiation is important. It’s a BlackBerry alright, but it isn’t the pure BlackBerry experience – that’s called BlackBerry 10. The OS ‘the market rejected’.
Actually the OS the market never got to hear about.
So if you think about it you can either push water uphill spending billions promoting an OS in a battle with Samsung, Apple, Google etc (which would actually work in the end but the cost now is astronomical) or you can keep your hardware division ticking over, make some deals in the meantime and wait.
Wait for what?
Well… secondly… this. In a recent interview with the Washington Post John Chen said this:
‘Mobile is part of everybody’s life. And it’s going to be a bigger and bigger part. We are going to transact banking data on devices. We are going to consume medical data on devices. There’s going to be your personal ID on these devices. The mobile security is going to be even much more needed than today.
Everybody’s going to be hacked.’
You may not feel as threatened today because they only read it. But if I change your medical records, you will be very threatened. And you’re going to come running to me and you’ll buy my stuff.
Here’s the fun bit. The others KNOW THIS.
Google are happy to partner with BlackBerry on the Priv because they know the wind is changing. Right now the Facebook/Whatsapp/Google world wants all your data. It’s the anathema of what BlackBerry 10 stands for and what the Priv is already highlighting. They’re happy because they are learning a little bit of what BlackBerry does. Meanwhile BlackBerry keeps the hardware division going at minimal cost.
Apple meanwhile, in this department, are screwed and they know it. More innovative products please on your way out the door Tim!!
As far as BlackBerry are concerned look again at what Chen says in his final sentence:
‘And you’re going to come running to me and you’ll buy my stuff.’
There really is no point in all this if when you ‘come running to him’ he can’t look after you end to end. Whilst we all have every confidence in BlackBerry he has happily admitted that the Priv will never be as secure as a BlackBerry 10 device, how could it be, it runs Android???
He’d look a bit silly when the hacker bomb drops if he didn’t have the answer. Particularly since it’s the phone in his pocket.
Oh, by the way, it’s the same phone as mine and if not yours it’ll be a very familiar version of it.
It’s a BlackBerry Passport on 10.3.