The End is Near for Blackberry

by Jeff Wiener on September 23, 2013

Late last week Blackberry announced it expects to lose almost a billion dollars in the second fiscal quarter this year, dire news that was accompanied by the equally catastrophic revelation that the once great Waterloo mobile company would also be slashing 40 percent of its workforce, which unfortunately means pink slips for 4,500 employees.

Clearly a concession that Blackberry simply can’t compete with the likes of Apple or Android in the cutthroat consumer mobile market, the company is hoping by going sleeker it will be able to eek out a living by refocusing itself on the ‘prosumer’ market, that is, business customers. In fact, the company announced it has also pared down its smartphone offerings to just four devices, two high end smartphones and two budget options, again hoping that by concentrating on supporting fewer devices the company will be able to stay afloat.

But who are we kidding here? We’ve already seen this story play out before with the epic downfall of Palm several years ago, a tale that saw the once cutting edge mobile company try everything in its power to refocus and rebrand itself before finally becoming acquisition fodder for HP, who later threw the entire enterprise in the garbage. The unfortunate reality here is, Blackberry is doomed.

While we all knew it was bad for Blackberry, I doubt few knew it was this bad, with the company readying the market for its disastrous forthcoming quarterly results. The heavy losses reflect the fact Blackberry is taking a substantial hit from unsold Z10 phones, $930 million to $960 million of the company’s losses reflecting the company’s “account for a write-down in inventory of its Z10 smartphone.”

In fact, one needs to look no further than the Z10 to see the reason behind Blackberry’s epic collapse. Despite the fact the company’s newest smartphone running its latest Blackberry 10 OS was unveiled to epic fanfare earlier this year, the phone quickly fizzled, and with all of Blackberry’s eggs in that particular basket, there was no Plan B, no other option except to go down with the ship.

While there are some who refuse to join the Blackberry dirge, I’m come to a point where I simply can’t see any other altnernative, Blackberry is doomed, and I take no joy in saying that.

In my mind, while its clear Blackberry is paring down its operations in an effort to get its quarterly losses under control, such drastic cuts seem more a way to make the company attractive to potential suitors rather than Blackberry actually trying to save the company.

Although the company isn’t dead yet, like Nortel before it I think I can say the story of Blackberry is shaping up to be yet another Canadian tech/telecom tragedy, particularly given the fact that having seen the same mobile story play out with Palm, we all know how this is going to end.

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