How Blackberry can, possibly, survive
One of the members of BlackBerry Ltd’s board committee tasked with exploring strategic alternatives said the company can compete as a “niche company” in the global smartphone business, but said there are “subsets” that should be sold off and that the handset maker needs to figure out how to shoulder the high cost of innovation if it hopes to survive.
In an interview in Stockholm, newly-elected BlackBerry director Bert Nordberg did not rule out a sale or a strategic partnership, but said the board is very mindful of the value the company has created in areas like the enterprise business, hardware functionality and secure communications. It was the first interview with a BlackBerry board member since the strategic review was announced earlier in August.
He said that he thinks there are “subsets within the company that it can get rid of.” Norberg did not rule out a sale or strategic partnership, and did not outline which “subsets” could be sold off.
He did, however, say that BlackBerry needs to address the chasm between its value on paper and how Wall Street perceives the company’s worth.
“If you look at BlackBerry’s book value versus its market value, it’s clear that there’s lots of work to do,” Nordberg said in a wide-ranging interview. While admitting that being a small player on the global smartphone market is difficult, Nordberg said he thinks BlackBerry can continue to be a niche maker of mobile hardware.
“I think BlackBerry is able to survive as a niche company. But being a niche company means deciding to be a niche company. Historically, BlackBerry has had larger ambitions. But battling giants like Apple, Google and Samsung is tough.”
After trailblasing in the early days of the smartphone market, BlackBerry’s market share and its market capitalisation have collapsed in recent years. An all-or-nothing blitz of a new operating system and several new phones launched earlier this year appears to have fallen flat.
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