BB10 is good, and so are BlackBerry’s new handsets, but it’s looking like good products can’t always save a sinking ship. Today, the Canadian company’s board of directors put out a press release that reads more like a classified ad: Things aren’t going well and the board is forming a “Special Committee” to look at “strategic alternatives” to turn things around. That’s code for “we’re up for sale,” but if you don’t like to read between the lines, the press release lays it out there in plain English.
“These alternatives could include, among others, possible joint ventures, strategic partnerships or alliances, a sale of the Company or other possible transactions,” reads the statement.
Yes, BlackBerry’s board just put a “for sale” sign on its front door.
CEO Thorsten Heins, who took over BB after years of botched management by two co-CEOs, sounds more optimistic in his statement, but also heavily points toward BlackBerry’s services as drivers of future growth.
“We continue to see compelling long-term opportunities for BlackBerry 10,” Heins said. “As the Special Committee focuses on exploring alternatives, we will be continuing with our strategy of reducing cost, driving efficiency and accelerating the deployment of [BlackBerry Enterprise Server] 10, as well as driving adoption of BlackBerry 10 smartphones, launching the multi-platform BBM social messaging service, and pursuing mobile computing opportunities by leveraging the secure and reliable BlackBerry Global Data Network.”
This news comes after the company announced particularly bad quarterly sales numbers at the end of June, posting an $84 million loss and sales of only 6.8 million smartphones. If 6.8 million doesn’t sound too bad, know that a few days later, it revealed that only 2.7 million of those handsets ran BlackBerry 10. Yep, more than half of new BlackBerry owners want to use BlackBerry’s aging BB7 OS. This means that most of its sales are coming from cheaper, older handsets – many more than a year old.
We like BlackBerry 10 and the first two handsets running it: the Z10 and Q10. The A10 (read our BB A10 rumor roundup) looks like it will be a great phone, as well. But will BlackBerry be around to support it? One of the most difficult things BlackBerry has to do is convince its users that it’s still in it to win it and isn’t going anywhere. We still think BlackBerry could be the prettiest girl at the dance, but no one wants to buy into a failing OS. Today’s “We’re for sale!” announcement isn’t a vote of confidence.