Blackberry is Alienating its last loyal fans

Announced today is another round of cuts to the people who have worked and toiled to make BlackBerry products the best on the market. Tragic for the families and the people involved as it allows other companies to poach highly talented people from the company. We have seen almost 10,000 employees (roughly) leave the company in the last couple of years alone. Most of these people have been cut from positions that were once Blackberry’s heart and soul; the hardware division. Blackberry phones used to be one of the hottest ticket items on the market, it was impossible to get one and harder to avoid the marketing around them. Years later and after multiple delays and downsizing we are at the company we see before us. Under John Chen who’s leadership has helped to return the company to before tax profitability and refocus the company. Blackberry has moved to becoming a security oriented software company with a major focus on enterprise and government. Yet, it does not have a clearly defined plan for its hardware division and because of this is leaving many Blackberry fans alienated and left behind by the company they so effectively supported through tough times.
Blackberry doesn’t seem to know what it wants to do with the hardware division in today’s modern Bring you own device (BYOD) world. It continues to make phones with an orientation on very small niche segments of the market or directly targeted towards businesses. It has failed to properly produce a phone that is designed for those of its loyal fan base that continues to support the company and I believe that we will see these people start to wither away. I myself am one of those people who pushed the Blackberry Brand, I own Blackberry stock and I have purchased a number of different phones through the company (up to 4 now) but yet I feel left behind by the company. I am using a Z30 currently which when released in September of 2013 was a high-medium tier phone at best. I purchased it because of its battery life, the screen and its size as compared to my Z10. I do like the phone (minus the issues I am having) but I feel that Blackberry does not care for me as a target audience anymore and doesn’t want me to continue to purchase phones from them. In the last 6-12 months we have seen BlackBerry release 3 phones; The Passport, The Classic and The Leap. The Passport is the only phone of the 3 I would consider getting because of its specifications and its build quality (along with a couple other items). The Blackberry Classic is designed for the 9900 user that couldn’t or wouldn’t adapt to the Q10. It’s extremely affordable because it cannibalized the same parts from the Q10’s that were never sold. It wasn’t designed for me as a consumer, it was designed for the CEO or the 40 year old who likes what he likes (or she). The Blackberry Leap isn’t again designed to surpass the Z30 it seems to be actually designed to replace the Z10. Again it uses many of the same parts as the Z10 and is no upgrade over the Z30. As a consumer this leaves me in a predicament; I have become accustomed to the full screen touch phones and would like to replace my Z30 with one such as that. It appears that BlackBerry has no plans to do something like this though and intends to focus on the small niche portions of the market.

This plan to focus on the niche portions of the market as an investor infuriates me because millions of dollars goes into research and development and there is limited to no return on that investment for the company. John Chen himself said that if he can get to 10 million phones annually that he will be able to make the hardware division profitable. Focusing on small market phones will not get BlackBerry to that number and nor will it help to make the company as a whole profitable. The small number of CEO’s and 40 year olds hanging onto their 9900’s were only worth investing that money into because of their influence in the decision making process of their companies. The Bring Your Own Device Market means for BlackBerry that many CEO’s have given up on providing employees with company phones for pleasure reasons and cost. This means that BlackBerry is going after an increasingly shrinking market with its enterprise and business oriented designs. This mindset leaves us the regular consumer and the Blackberry loyalists that the company is leaving behind. This is the largest portion of potential purchases and yet they have no plan oriented for them. How can you as a company leave this segment and not even makes the slightest attempt to target it. I understand as an investor you do not have the money to beat an Apple or a Google but I want you to at least to try. The Z10 sold incredibly well when it first came out because it’s what the market wanted. Lack of support, marketing and an immature operating system are what caused it demise. After 2+ years of growth we are seeing the BB10 phones operating system become more advanced, more stable and feature filled for more than your CEO or CIO. Yet the market has no idea of these advances and continues to think of BlackBerry phones as the one from 2008 that required excessive reboots and was slow.

Blackberry needs to come out with something that is going to entice the market even if it is just one or two people out of ten that walks into a carrier store or pops online shopblackberry.com. I know a number of people who would consider going back to Blackberry if they produced something that was worth having and was what they wanted. For example: A friend was ready to go out and purchase a new Blackberry phone and come over from an Iphone because she liked my Z30. The issue was that I wasn’t going to stick her on a 2 year plan with a phone that was 2 years old and going to be unsupported in the near future. The fact that Blackberry has no plans for a mainstream market phone also meant she crossed BlackBerry off her potential phone list. I would love to see BlackBerry support its fans and the market better than the way it has and appears to be doing so into the future. Provide the market with the reason to like you and your company again. If I was John Chen I would work this in a 2 year cycle now that North American carriers are off the 3 year plan bandwagon. BlackBerry could bring to market a large (5-5.5 inch) all touch with high end specifications which would appeal to the mass market. Along with that release a low end keyboard phone for the business world and the emerging markets. Year 2 release another phone like the passport which caters to the business market and release another lower/middle end all touch to replace the leap. This allows the market consumer to be catered too and allows an effective development and testing time. This also allows the business market to be catered to at a proper life cycle. When the original business phones start to die off then you release that new one after 2 years and companies know what to predict. I believe that this cycle could help Blackberry regain market share in both the enterprise and the consumer market. It would provide the employees of these enterprises with a proper option for their work and personal phones and make the company money. Blackberry needs to continue to develop its operating system in order to continue to keep its fans happy. This could easily be achieved with proper management of the inventory system making sure that excessive units are not produced.

A reply is a simple thing to do on your Facebook, most mobile phones are able to do it and it’s an important part of the social media experience but yet Blackberry 10.3.2 cannot. There are so many parts of the experience in Blackberry operating system that should be there and aren’t it’s surprising when you remember how old the operating system is. Blackberry continues to take members of its software team that would be used to keeping the operating system experience fresh, the apps new and feature filled and the experience exciting and cutting the positons or putting them elsewhere in the company. The experience on the phone lags down as it ages and it becomes less enjoyable for those who have the phone or want to buy one. I really do hate how much effort that 3rd party application developers have made to create their apps and make them look stunning to have the company give up on the consumer market. Blaq and Igrann are two of my favorite applications because they do the job so well and they serve the market perfectly but they have limited support from BlackBerry. What is the point in building for Blackberry when it seems that the company itself doesn’t even want to put the time or the effort into it. How do you expect to keep customers or to expand your customer base when your phone looks old, feels old and acts old. BlackBerry faltered because its other operating system aged and couldn’t keep up with the market demands and with a lack of investment we will see that here as well. Bugs within the system are ruining the experience for the customer in both enterprise and the consumer base. For example with regards to calling where the call screen glitches and takes its time to switch over; only to have the person calling hang up because they don’t realize that you don’t know that they are connected. I talked to my carriers support staff and this affected more than just me it was affecting businesses running the same phone. Businesses with 20+ phones running BB10 that were dropped because of these bugs. The company can always be more nimble but when you gut the software division that makes the phone tick and makes it look nice it takes a massive toll. No matter what you do to the security and the safety if the phone in today’s BYOD world if people don’t like it then they won’t want it. A pen and paper is an extremely safe way of keeping information but people don’t use it as much because it’s not convenient for most tasks and it’s a hassle to use.

I understand the reasons behind the move to the enterprise and the government. Its BlackBerry’s safe zone but that zone is getting smaller and smaller as companies look to reduce costs by allowing their employees to use their own phones. We need to see some type of investment into the other side as well here in order to try and keep the fan base happy along with entice new people. The company doesn’t need to compete with Apple or Google and nor should it. It does need to keep the fan base that is keeping the company alive though and try to expand itself by producing what the market wants even if it is only in smaller quantities. Today’s acquisition of AdHoc is another step in making sure the company is strong for the enterprise and governments in emergencies. This is a good buy as it entices them but you already have their confidence and their money. You need to find new money that you started to lose after 2008-2009 consumer base collapse and try to win some of that back.
Blackberry I have owned 4 phones from you now. I have been with the company through the transition from BBOS to BB10. I supported you with the Z10 and the Z30 but you are leaving me to dry here with this nonsense of the enterprise and software only idea. I want to support you but you have to give me a reason to and at this point there isn’t much reason. If it wasn’t for the fact that I purchased my Z30 only 6 months ago and I lack the funds required for a new phone; I would be gone and so would my money. I want to see this company survive and see it flourish but killing off the reasons I as a consumer can support you doesn’t do much for me. Your loyal fanbase is more than just the enterprise and governments. It’s regular people who love the phones you produce for their build quality, their battery and the operating system. If you are going to kill it then do so and put us out of our misery of waiting but if not then give us something to look forward to. The consumer market is the enterprise market and you need to realize this. As a fan, an investor and a blackberry owner you need to do better, need to be better and need to support those who have supported you; enterprise and consumer.

Advertisements

Blackberry’s Open Letter

Today, BlackBerry released an open letter to the millions of fans and customers around the world. Many who have been waiting and watching to see what will become of the one mighty smartphone maker. Times are truly rough for this company, they are cutting another 4,500 people from their staff and wrote off 1 billion dollars in the last quarter. Add onto that the sales of Blackberry 10 devices have been soft and subscribers numbers continue to decline and it seems like a death spiral that the company can’t get out of. Even bringing BBM to Android and IOS was a mess with a failed launch. The one thing that BlackBerry has going for them is a strong a dedicated fan base which is standing behind the company. #TeamBlackBerry is a rather large and important piece that can’t be accounted for in stats and sales numbers. Its this group of people along with those sitting on the fence that I really hoped the company would grab and pull onto their side. After sitting quiet for weeks while the media bashed the company into submission with horror story after horror story this was lackluster. It felt like a memo to the staff; one that you would take, crumple up and forget about. It didn’t have the heart needed to really appeal to the fans and to the potential clients. It doesn’t have that oomph like Mike Lazardis’s video apologizing for the NOC outage.

Below I will take portions of the address that I feel needed to be more detailed and changed.

We have substantial cash on hand and a balance sheet that is debt free. We are restructuring with a goal to cut our expenses by 50 percent in order to run a very efficient, customer-oriented organization.

The first part needs to address the current amount of capital the company has to offer. We know that BlackBerry had 2.6 billion but it lost around 1 billion in the latest quarter. Its great to say that its strong but what is the actual number. Many companies probably wouldn’t consider 1 billion in cash reserves strong for the next couple years. The restructuring portion is rather important for companies who are business oriented which is BlackBerry target market. Putting a number to the restructuring cost will help businesses to see where BlackBerry stands financially. With rumors the number will swell from 100 million to 400 million putting this to rest would give one less bullet to the media. “Customer oriented organization” for god sake, your going after the enterprise market tell them that. Customer oriented sounds like they still want to play the consumer market even though they have stated that they cant compete. Its confusing the message!

We have four BlackBerry 10 devices – two all touch and two hybrid (touch and QWERTY)

BlackBerry shortened the names of its devices in BlackBerry10 the least you could do is lay out the phones you will be relying on for the turn around. We know that the Z10 has been a major flop (Hence the inventory paydown) so will this be one of the phones it rely’s on or is it a too be announced device. The Q5 and Q10 are likely the phones they mean when they’re talking Qwerty but both devices have had lackluster sales and are aging. Again, will BlackBerry be relying on these devices or 2 new ones to power them through the next couple quarters. Some more insight will help investors and consumers figure out what tools BlackBerry will be using to play ball with. Even if they had stated 2 new upcoming devices then we would know that we can expect some changes in the future. Obviously, the company wont put up release dates for new phones but a little more insight into the products would have been nice.

And our customers know it. Over the past quarter, our BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 server base grew from 19,000 to more than 25,000. Corporate clients are committed to deploying and testing the latest enterprise technology from BlackBerry. We are committed to evolving with our customers. That will never change.

BlackBerry should have talked about some of the things they plan to bring on board for business to make their lives easier and some update schedules. They have announced a private beta for a cloud based service which will inevitably come online in the future. Talking about this and how it will make life easier for business would have made sense to companies who are on the fringe about BlackBerry’s future as a company. Showing the annual growth will provide a positive note for people reading this letter and show that it is not all bad in BlackBerry.

We are bringing the most engaging mobile messaging platform to all, with our BBM™ launch for Android™ and iPhone.

The failed launch on September 22/23 was a huge mess for the company. Now its brought this back up in the letter it needed to provide a date in which it would launch the serve 150%. The CMO stated that the launch will likely be in a couple days which could be the 18/19 but until then we don’t know. One of the big things that CEO Thorsten Heinz stated when he took over was that when they made a deadline they were going to stick to it and launch a fully featured product. They didn’t do that and since they brought it up in the letter they should have provided the latest date.

There were a couple things that I hoped would have been in the letter that they didn’t put into it. 1) Where is the thanks to the thousands of employees that you have let go and are letting go. To leave them out of this letter without thanking them for their time, effort, sweat and tears is unacceptable to me as a shareholder. These are the same employees that only months ago you were getting to work 6 days a week in order to get BlackBerry 10 to market. To not mention these people publicly as they look for work elsewhere seems shallow and shows that the management in disconnected from the struggles of the average worker (Maybe its the potential 55 million dollar payout if they are fired). 2) They needed to address the companies who are sitting on the fence about whether they should invest in BlackBerry 10 or not. Its been reported that major companies and governments are making plans for a post-BlackBerry era and are withholding purchases till the future is better known. BlackBerry didn’t address this in my view.

Again I feel that this wasn’t from the heart. It felt like something half baked which seems to be a signature of this company.

What are your thoughts on the letter? below is a link to the original message on the BlackBerry website.
http://ca.blackberry.com/message.html?CPID=SOC_C_WW_Blog1381788584

Focus on BB10 Pt.1

In the latest quarter Blackberry announced that they would be bringing another BB7 device to the portfolio. This decision made many question the purpose of this phone as the company continues to roll out the latest versions of BlackBerry 10. Many had believed that the BB7 lineup had seen the last investments (hardware) when the 9320 and the 9220 came out in 2012. In reality it should have been the last hardware investments into this lineup. To bring another phone onto market that will hamper your ability to sell the phones that matter to the company going forward is a huge blunder. To sell the phones that people want and that benefit the company the most we need to focus primarily on BlackBerry 10. One thing that the company pushed when they were building BlackBerry 10 and continue to push is focusing. Focusing on the task at hand and focusing the portfolio that it puts in front of the consumers. One area where they are severely lacking is with the carriers and the products they are putting on the shelves. Phones that came out in early 2012 should not be still available as entry level devices for consumers. Telus for example is still trying to sell the BlackBerry Curve 9320 for $29 while it also has the Q5 for $49. Selling the 9320 for 20 dollars cheaper against the Q5 doesn’t benefit Telus and doesn’t benefit BlackBerry. It has come time that BlackBerry needs to buy back the stock of older BlackBerry’s from carriers like Telus, Rogers, AT&T, Verison and have them focus primarily on BlackBerry 10. Flooding the market with new and older devices only adds to the confusion that customers have around BlackBerry and the direction they are headed. It is not beneficial to the company in the long run to continue to sell BlackBerry 7 devices in countries where people can easily afford to buy newer more expensive devices. The market share in the end is the all mighty tool that either helps your lead or keeps you down. I truly hope that this is something that BlackBerry looks at seriously or works with the carriers to sell the phones to emerging markets. North America (Minus Mexico), Europe (eastern) are perfect examples of places that can afford to spend more on a device and don’t need BlackBerry 7 clogging up the market. Most consumers don’t take the time to research what their next phone purchase will be but have perceptions of what a good/crappy device is. If we continue to remind them about the ‘old’ BlackBerry then they will believe that the ‘new’ Blackberry continues those negative traditions.

We need to focus our attention and our minds on getting the most people to BlackBerry 10 as possible. Spending the money on another BlackBerry 7 device is a waste of time and money. For emerging markets the cheaper the phone the better and bringing over 9320, 9220 and 9900 from countries like Canada, US would be a much better option then a new phone. It would focus the developed markets completely on BlackBerry 10 and provide BlackBerry with a way to reduce the inventory sitting in carriers stockrooms across the world. It could also provide BlackBerry with a way to reduce the price per phone that a person would pay and get it into more hands.

So what do you think? Is another BB7 device worth it? Can BB7 and BB10 sell together or should certain countries be primarily 1 or the other?

As bad as we think? #BlackBerry

It was announced recently that Windows phones overtook BlackBerry for the number 3 position in the world. This news came at a very bad time for BlackBerry as its own sales numbers weren’t nearly as high as expected. The fact many people seem to be overlooking is that BlackBerry 10 has only been available for 7 months while Windows phones have been available for just about 2 years. To compare a phone that has over a year in maturity to a new operating system seems ludicrous. The fact that there are 3 vendors pumping out Windows phones against a single vendor is another issue that needs to be taken into account. The news has been so willing and eager to jump on the father of smartphones that its like their waiting for any screw up. A new phone, new OS, lack of apps, poor marketing and terrible media have all contributed to a slower then expect start of sales. So it is truly as bad as people think? Lets take a quick peek at some numbers and see if its truly as bad as the news makes it out too seem.

The first full quarter of Lumia sales seen 2 million unit shipped. Blackberry 10 sales were roughly 1 million in the first quarter with the Z10 only being available in markets like Canada for 1 month. The Lumia sells more phones in the first quarter then BlackBerry 10.

The second quarter of Lumia sales seen 4 million units shipped to market compared to the 2.7 million units of BB10 that were shipped. The Q10 was only available in a couple markets again for a short period of time before the quarter ended. This is expected to be the biggest seller as many BlackBerry faithful have the qwerty keyboard phone.

BlackBerry 10 sales have only lasted through 2 quarters and it is extremely tough to predict the sales for the upcoming quarter. But if we were to continue to see the same growth as occurred from Q1 to Q2 then we could expect that 4.4 million units would be shipped in Q3. So lets see how that number compares to the Q3 sales of the Lumia lineup.

The third quarter of Lumia sales sent another 2.9 million units to the market. This is a 30% drop in sales from the previous quarter as the company transitioned from Windows 7 to Windows 8 phones. If we were to see the growth continue at 1.7 million units per quarter for BlackBerry then the Q3 numbers would see 4.4 million BlackBerry 10 devices sold. This means that in their respective quarters BlackBerry would sell almost 2 times what Nokia did if they had started sales together.

Obviously this number is based on the previously quarterly growth and would be subject to chances in the market, sales, etc etc. This simply proves that it isn’t all that bad when it comes to the sales of BlackBerry 10 devices. There is always room for improvement and many people were hoping to see much higher numbers then we have seen but it takes time. I believe that continuing with BlackBerry 10 till their first year portfolio runs out is the way to go. Thorsten Heinz said he wanted to take the company through the process and quitting while their are still plans on the table isn’t the right option.

There is also the issue of the company behind the product. The decline of BlackBerry has been well noted in tradition media and every step taken has been marred with bad press. In North America there isn’t the same press about the issues that Nokia is facing which may be much worse then BlackBerry. Nokia lost 98.8 million dollars in the last quarter even though they sold 7.4 million Lumia devices. The 9 months prior to the Q2 2013 results they had lost 4.1 billion dollars which included many restructuring charges as they cut massively into their employment pool. 24,500 workers will have lost their job come the end of 2013 as the company works to keep its head above water. While they have a large pool of cash they are consistently burning through it with their restructuring and quarterly losses. The position at BlackBerry while slightly better could be headed the Nokia way if things don’t start to turn around. Blackberry lost 84 million dollars in Q1 2014 as issues in Venezuela negatively affected the regions sales. Blackberry too has cut around 6,000 jobs in the previous months as they restructure the company in order to become more cost effective.

I try to write my blog posts as unbiased as possible but I will admit I have time/money invested in BlackBerry so I am biased. I don’t believe that comparing sales of Lumia devices which are in their second generation to first generation BlackBerry 10 devices is fair or accurate. Truly when we break it down the numbers are similar and with growth in the market of BB10 devices the company will continue to grow and proper. Truthfully I don’t believe that BlackBerry can take on Apple or Google but they can take on Windows and win the battle. We simply need more time to develop and push BB10 devices to market.

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nokia_Lumia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nokia#Financial_difficulties_and_restructuring
http://ca.blackberry.com/content/dam/bbCompany/Desktop/Global/PDF/Investors/Documents/2013/Q1FY14_final_filing.pdf

Companies #BlackBerry should take in house

Social Media -> Kasai Labs which makes Blaq (twitter client) and Trapeez (tumblr client). BlackBerry users are social media junkies and Blaq is the best twitter client available. Bringing this company in house would allow for a great tumblr and twitter experience for users. BlackBerry already has a good Facebook and Linkedin client but this would allow them to bring a great experience to BB10 phones.

Camera -> Occipital Inc. (360 Panorama). Many of the competing phones allow for a panorama feature right into the phone itself. BlackBerry doesn’t, the camera is also viewed as a weak spot on the phone. Giving BB10 users more tools to play with will allow them to forget about the misgivings of the camera.

Editing feature -> Want: The ability to write text boxes on photos within the edit section on the camera.
-> Want: The ability to write like on a teleprompter or a smart board and draw on photos.

Lock Screen -> Ability to change songs from there without having to open the device.
-> Different ways to unlock the device like number password or design unlock

Voice Control -> Purchase Ispeech.org for their Ispeech translator app. Bring this feature into the camera and the voice control portion of the phone. When the camera takes a photo of a sign which is in another language it translates it to english or the desires language. With the voice control portion, allow it to listen to what people are saying and translate it but also allow the user to talk to people in their native language.
-> Purchase BachKhoa University’s app SayIt Built for Blackberry to give the voice control feature which is extremely lackluster more life. Bring it to parity with Siri and other voice control features.

MDM -> Purchase one of the leading MDM companies to bring it in house and reduce the competition but also bring the greatest aspects of that MDM into BES10.

BlackBerry Fit -> Bringing in a company like Sportstracker and a healthy eating application to create BlackBerry Fit. A fitness package that will help users on the go to be healthy and stay fit.

Good Morning/ Good Night feature: Good Morning -> When the phone turns on in the morning it provides a “good morning (owner)” and the top 3 things that person wants to see in the morning along with email and weather. Customizable by the owner for what they want to see in the morning and will play the song of the owners request.

Good Night -> At a designated time the phone will prompt the user asking if they are going to bed. If they are then the phone will start slowly reducing the back light and getting ready to go into sleep mode. Before it completely shuts off it will prompt the user and say good night along with weather forecasts for the next day.

What do you think? What would you add?

Service revenue over hardware sales?

Blackberry announced at BlackBerry Live that they would be brining BBM to IOS and Android which ended the rumours over the last couple years of such a move. The announcement immediately sparked reaction on both sides of the BlackBerry World both for and against the move. One side said that it would bring BBM back to relevancy and the other side said that it killed BlackBerry’s competitive advantage. BBM is a huge feature for BlackBerry and one of the reasons that it is so popular in developing countries. Of course in the end we will have to wait to see if the move works for the company but both sides in this argument have points that are important to look at. I am on the fence with this move as of right now, I can see it either working extremely in BlackBerry’s favor but also see the potential for negative results.

The adoption of BBM on Android and IOS will be important to the future of this venture and will determine if it is a success or failure. With BBM losing its exclusivity the people who were staying for BBM now have options to look elsewhere. The impact could be felt in hardware sales as people who were tied to Blackberry specifically for BBM are now free. Hardware sales likely wouldn’t be affected in the developing countries as older phones are still popular and selling like hotcakes. The number that would be hurt the most would be the subscribers which is a factor for investors looking to the health of the company. The next couple quarters could be very good for Blackberry and be reminiscent of 2008 but a declining service income and subscribers could scare investors away. If the adoption rate of BBM amongst android and IOS users isn’t good then BlackBerry needs to be ready to pull the plug. I believe that BlackBerry is looking at BBM on other platforms in this fashion.

In today’s market many companies are unwilling to provide a phone for a employee. Many employees also hate having to carry around 2 or 3 devices to be able to keep their personal and work lives separate. Companies want a secure way to transmit information from 1 device to another and in the world of Bring your own device (BYOD) an app like BBM provides that. BBM on an individual Android or IOS device wont really do anything to help the companies bottom line, in fact it may hurt it. If BBM is able to spread to hundreds or thousands of these BYOD company phones these companies may consider hoping onboard BES10 and providing BlackBerry with a new service revenue. I believe that BlackBerry is willing to lose some hardware revenue to Samsung and Apple as they have been for the last couple years in order to steal away potential service revenue from other management companies. Getting BES10 into these companies that may have used BlackBerry in the past will allow BlackBerry to show the potential of BB10 and the QNX system. This may help to rekindle the love that companies once had for BlackBerry and help to cement the #1 position they have in fortune 500 companies and governments across the world. The initial loss of hardware sales to get the service revenues should help to reduce or eliminate any losses if they can get into enough new businesses. If this is BlackBerry’s plan then they are hoping that the old BlackBerry users remember and still love BBM and will be willing to adopt it on their new phones.

This is a risky move for BlackBerry but a very necessary one. If BBM can grab even 20-30 million more users through IOS and Android then it becomes more relevant and a bigger asset for the company. I know there are 76 million BlackBerry subscribers and that many of them use BBM but the application has lost its luster. It needs a boost in term of tricks, features and most importantly people. As an investor I am leaning towards this being a good sign but I do hope that BlackBerry has its finger on the kill switch if they don’t see it going their way.

BlackBerry Partners program

BlackBerry announced on the stage of BlackBerry Live yesterday that they would be putting in money to help girls get into the mobile development world. According to BlackBerry’s own Alicia Keys 56% of Blackberry users are women. Yet they are under represented in the development and technology side of the business. I think that this is a great program but I would like them take it a step further. Here is a program that I believe could be extremely beneficial for all parties involved.

 

BlackBerry Partners Program:

 

A collaboration between BlackBerry certified developers and rookies who have been hand picked to learn. The program would result in experienced developers working with new and green developers who are willing to take the time and learn the tricks of the trade. The new developers would be picked based on the ideas that they have to make into apps and the experienced developers based on those who would be willing to put the time into the person. The developers would work together to build a native applications for BlackBerry 10 and in the process teach the rookie how to build the apps. The ideas would be from the rookie but the credit for the first couple applications would be shared by both partners. I believe that this would great a new generation of developers for BlackBerry 10’s new and future software. It would give the experienced developer more recognition as more apps would be available from him and the rookie developer would receive training from an experienced partner. As someone who would really love to get into development myself I find that I am overwhelmed and confused as to where I should start. If someone was able to show me more then simply the BlackBerry devblog and forums I believe I could produce a number of applications for the server. The experienced partner could refine skills and might be able to find new partners in the people he/she trains. This also pushes the idea of building native applications for BlackBerry and pushes the business of mobile development.

 

Basically, its like a big brother taking you under his arm and guiding you through meeting your first girl.

 

So what do you think?

Comment below ->