What Will Chen Reveal In Two Weeks and How Will The Tech Media Spin It?

The anti-BlackBerry FUD Brigades are ready. Are you?

We’re approaching the quarterly ritual that BlackBerry users have come to anticipate with conflicting feelings of hope and anxiety.  Yes folks, I’m talking about the BlackBerry quarterly report.

It’s quickly become a familiar ritual, at least for me.  We all know that BlackBerry under Chen is working overtime to right the ship and bring it back from the brink.  And so far he’s done a fantastic job, executing quickly on multiple fronts and meeting with a good measure of success.

Between the last report and the one upcoming, we’ve seen the announcements in all four divisions – from promising numbers on the BES 10 EZ Pass migration front, BBM cross platform downloads breaking 100 million, new handset devices (and promising sales of the Z3 in Indonesia), and a new Auto OS from QNX with a focus on safety.

Given the blows that BlackBerry has suffered from mistakes in the past, one might think the tech media would carry the narrative of a plucky little company that hasn’t given up and is making all the right moves.  Add to this the recent spate of mobile horror stories that have popped up involving massive breaches of security in the mobile world – fake malware infested apps, ransomware, et al – and you could be forgiven for thinking that this would work in BlackBerry’s favour in the eyes of the tech ‘gurus’.

But you would be wrong.  It’s a familiar, repetitive pattern that we’ve come to expect and this time will be no different I’m sure.  Everyone in the tech media will zero in on the handset (‘devices’) division and the raw numbers because that’s obviously the weakest division currently and they need to find the negative spin.  Despite any success the Z3 received in Indonesia, the numbers still won’t come close to the volume of Samsung or Apple.

And that’s all that will matter.  If I didn’t know better I’d guess that most ‘journalists’ covering BlackBerry’s quarterly report have already written their negative articles with a series of X’s as placeholders just waiting to be filled in with the data BlackBerry provides on the Thursday following.  And then spun as a sign of BlackBerry’s ongoing impending doom.

So let’s not be surprised when it happens, and be prepared to hit back with the good news that will go largely unreported.  We’re in the opening stages of the 6 – 8 quarters Chen forecasted to turn the company around,  and things are looking bright indeed.  But don’t let your guard down when it comes to the anti-BlackBerry FUD brigades.  They haven’t given up, and are sharpening their knives as we speak.  They continue to work towards BlackBerry’s demise and carving it up for a firesale of patents, QNX, MDM, etc that their competitors can snap up on the cheap.

Despite their protests to the contrary, BlackBerry is an appetizing smorgasbord from that perspective, but not if it remains intact.

Anyway, what surprises do you think will come out of the quarterly report?  Will Chen formally announce any new strategic partnerships in health or automotive?  BBM Desktop or BlackBerry Blend?  Sound off in the forums and share your thoughts.

  • gnomesane. I don’t have a good, intelligent opinion on what will come out in the next report, I really just wanted to congratulate you on an excellent post. well done.

    • Gnomesane

      Thanks brother.

  • Canuckvoip

    I’m sincerely hoping this report will be the first one in a while with more good news than not. Looking forward to it.

    • Gnomesane

      Me too. But I’m pretty sure how it will be spun regardless. The vast majority of headlines will be negative, and in some cases misleading. Business as usual for the “for profit” media who are making money off the click bait.

  • web99

    Excellent post, Gnomesane. I agree that the naysayers and the shorts are looking to spin the ER in whatever negative way possible. We need to make sure that whatever good news that comes out is publicized, as I also believe that there CEO Chen is implementing the necessary changes to turn BlackBerry around.

    • Gnomesane

      Thanks. If the past is any indication, there’s also the possibility of a negative “hit” that comes out just before the report (usually the day before). The latest example was just prior to Chen’s Re/Code conference interview when the IDC report came out and temporarily buried Chen’s upbeat 80% forecast in the headlines.

      In other words, if there’s any indication that BlackBerry has something positive to say, it usually gets precluded by a negative rumour that is published by everyone. The timing is always remarkable to me. Corporate espionage is de rigeur in all industries, not just mobile, so I’m sure the shorts et al will have an indication of whether or not BlackBerry has some good news and will try to bury it with bad news.

  • ital1

    Great post!; let’s hope that the Z3 sales numbers and BES10 activations provide positive momentum going forward. We all knew this would not be an overnight turnaround but unfortunately the media seems to forget that important piece of information. I am very confident that Chen and Sims will be able to build a stronger BlackBerry.

    • Gnomesane

      I am too, but not without a fight. And I mean, fight. The other side doesn’t give up easily, they’ve been on BlackBerry for years and show no signs of stopping.

  • web99

    One of the things that I am hoping for is that there will be a higher BB10 adoption rate among the BlackBerry userbase. In this ER, I want to see the wide gap that BBOS 7 sales have over BB10 sales significantly reduced. I am hoping that by next quarter we will finally see more BB10 devices being sold.

    • Gnomesane

      I hope so too, but realistically my guess is that you won’t see that gap close until the Classic is released and/or the Z3 goes global as a cheap enterprise device to compete with Windows.

  • Omnitech

    I think you’re right about a lot of people having the “fields already filled out” in their reviews, it does seem that way sometimes.

    But the analysts and pundits are not the only ones that are fixated on the device business, a lot of the users are too. (Though most of the smartphone users have a good excuse: that’s the only aspect of the company that touches them. Wall St and tech industry analysts should be…. ahh, heck, here I go getting stupidly idealistic again… locco_smiley_36 )

    I agree we won’t likely see much improvement in BB10 numbers until the Z3 has a bit more time to spread into multiple markets and other devices start being released. I keep telling people it will get worse before it gets better on that front.

    I’m not entirely sure what to expect at this point. I sure hope there’s some evidence of new enterprise revenue, not just trial installs and free transfer licenses, though it still might be a bit too early for that.

    I wouldn’t be surprised at some good BBM revenue news – they’ve been doing a good job with the stickers and keep pushing out updates, though the download numbers for BBMx are way down lately in developed markets.

    • Gnomesane

      I”m sure they do. They’ll probably have their suitcases packed for an extended weekend at the cottage and the second the data drops from BlackBerry they’ll punch in the numbers and hit “Send”, then eff off for four days…

      Yeah, it’ll be dour until at least the fall, I don’t see how it can play any other way to be honest.

      Personally, I’m anticipating the “good news” to start early 2015. You need at least one or two quarters of BES 12, eBBM, and the Classic to be available, imho.

      Stickers – I thought of that as well, heh. Can’t be a big source of revenue, but they keep expanding it (including the TextPride partnership), so it must be doing well relatively speaking. Go figure, but hey, I’m all for it if it helps get them back “in the black”. =)

      • Omnitech

        I didn’t know about a TextPride deal. Didn’t know about them at all, just looked them up.

        Which makes me wonder: BB10 really needs to be able to display emojis in SMS at least, and it always made me wonder WTH they never included that. Perhaps they are planning to add it as a paid feature, and use TextPride as the source of the actual graphics?

        Because I thought Emoji were an ISO standard at this point, with standard images. (Just checked – and yes it is – below is a document from 2011 that shows many of them)


        • Gnomesane

          Cheers. Yeah, don’t know why either. My stepsister has an iPhone and when she SMS’s me smileys they show up as garbage. So I put her on BBM and told her to message me that way. Hmmmm, maybe that’s part of it? In any case, should be an easy add and they should do it. One less thing for critics to point out. ;)