Things weren’t look too hot for Blackberry when it was reported that the company was looking to sell to Fairfax Financial for $4.7 billion over a month ago. Many industry pundits expected such a sale to result in dismantling the company piece by piece and selling off different sectors to the highest bidders. Thankfully (and I do mean that), that won’t be the case.
It’s being reported that Blackberry has called off the sale. We’re not sure what sort of behind-the-scenes mojo caused a “stay of execution,” but Blackberry was somehow able to secure over $1 billion in private funding (from Fairfax Financial and other unnamed investors) to stay afloat. With that, it seems CEO Thorsten Heins’ reign at the top of the company will come to an end. Taking his place at an interim level is John S. Chen.
“I am pleased to join a company with as much potential as BlackBerry,” said Mr. Chen. “BlackBerry is an iconic brand with enormous potential – but it’s going to take time, discipline and tough decisions to reclaim our success. I look forward to leading BlackBerry in its turnaround and business model transformation for the benefit of all of its constituencies, including its customers, shareholders and employees.”
John Chen is credited with helping Sybase, an information systems company, navigate stormy waters in troubling times. While his new role at Blackberry isn’t yet solidified with the promise of a long-term gig, it seems there’s no one better to help right the ship in the short term.
So what does this mean for Android, and the entirety of the mobile ecosystem? A couple of different, polarizing things:
- Companies like Huawei or Lenovo looking to gain stronger footing in the North American market no longer have a legitimate chance at this experienced company. Their chances at global success haven’t been completely shut down with this news, but it does force them to find new ways to break in.
- Competition is guaranteed from a healthy amount of different angles. If Blackberry continues to innovate and finds a way to put pressure on everyone else, it’ll make Google, Apple and Microsoft work that much harder to make sure their own offerings stay relevant in this fierce market.
Yes, we all joke about the relevance of Blackberry and how our one friend is the only person we know still using a Blackberry phone, but the truth of the matter is that it wouldn’t have been good for anyone to see Blackberry dissipate. While today’s news doesn’t guarantee long-term success, it does mean they’ll have another real chance at becoming a major player in the mobile space again.