Blackberry lives: won’t sell after $1 billion injection in private funding, new CEO


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.

[via Yahoo]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Hope they make it, more competition is always good.
    And I secretly hope they will be more succesful than MS at least. ( I really don’t like MS, but appreciate what competition they bring, still seeing BB rise from the edge of oblivion and pass MS in marketshare and profits would be hilarious and beneficial to the market :D)

    1. What’s wrong with Microsoft? I like all operating systems, WP is pretty great if you don’t mind losing customisation. It’s very light on resources.

      1. I haven’t had much experience with WP, but I like windows enough to stick with it for now (have not tried windows 8 yet).

        I do hate their xbox 360! Worst 80 euros I ever spent! Everything requires internet, doesn’t support the fileformats I need, Can’t play nice with NTFS (or whatever it is called) formatted drives. But that is not why I want to see MS put to shame.

        It is their constant attack other propaganda. Their scroogled campaign and smoked by WP competition. If only they showed off their products without comparing to their competitors every time. It is always, we are better than this, better than that. It just sickens me that they constantly feel like they need to drag others down in order to look good. STAND ON YOUR OWN MERITS FOR ONCE!

        Also note that I just want to see them put to shame…I don;t want them to get annihilated or anything….the competition is always welcome and they might better their advertisements one day.

  2. Should have sold

  3. …down here in my country, El Salvador, BlackBerry is the most popular brand, carriers sell them in very cheap plans so anyone could afford one, over here is the other way around, I am most of the time, the only guy using an Android phone, all the others have BlackBerry, it is frustrating!

    1. Technology scales back from US,(North America)& Europe back down to every country. When something fails here; it takes years to catch up to the rest of the world. My cousins in El Salvador are also blackberry fanatics that’s all they talk about when it comes to Cellphones. i keep telling them switch to Android.

  4. Where is the private money coming from? I suspect Apple and M$. If Google buys Blackberry, it would make Google part owners of the patents that Apple and M$ are attempting to troll with. This is an unfair effort to prevent that.

    1. Fairfax Holdings, who were the ones going for the initial takeover.

    2. Read. The. Article.

      1. I did read the article …. it said “and other unnamed investors”.

  5. Helped Sybase navigate? BB is doomed.

  6. The strategy was simple. I did this for my buddy years ago at eBay. He placed an camera for sale and there was one bidder. I looked through that bidder’s purchase history (it was open at that time, now eBay won’t let you do it), and the guy obviously was buying cameras for fixing and re-sale. So I went ahead under my account, and start over-bidding that guy until the bid reached the amount my buddy was OK with. Risky, but helped him sell.
    In case of Blackberry, nobody wanted it at that price. Qualcomm would probably agree to 3 billions, but not 4.7.
    If I won that eBay bid, my bud and me would only loose the eBay listing fee. That’s what 1 billion of private funding is for.

  7. Seriously..I know it’d be difficult to do, but to stay alive they should just switch to android but in order to keep that BlackBerry experience they need to just make a Blackberry UI. win win

    1. They’re bleeding designers from The Astonishing Tribe, who’ve quit to start their own stuff again. That’s a pretty big loss for them long term from a UI perspective

      1. Bring in some new blood and get a fresh start, that’s if they want to stay alive and I assume they do! You think it’ll still be a big loss if they make their phone like they do plus use their own interface but just use AOSP compared to possibly losing everything?

        1. I think that’s what they should have done years ago instead of wasting time on BB10. It’s not like they didn’t know apps is important: they tried to find a hacky way of getting Android apps to run on it, and then tried to bribe developers (particularly in developing countries) to port their work. They had an amazing team from TAT who had a lot of experience with Android that could have given them a unique user experience, which could have replicated what they finally did by focusing on multitasking and productivity.

          BlackBerry’s biggest problem the last few years was complete irrelevance while they chased BB10. They seemed to have put all their eggs in one very small basket. Where Nokia got it right (in comparison) was still working on the Asha platform to maintain their hold on the low-end side of the developing World.

        2. Forget bringing in new people, the stock UI is great. I’m doubtful many customers buy a phone because of HTC, Samsung, or whomever’s UI overlay. What customers will buy a phone for is unique additional features, such as added security or a better keyboard (hardware or software). BlackBerry could bake its best features into Android without fudging up the interface (think Nvidia Shield or Moto X) and open themselves up to a lot more customers.

  8. Focus on enterprise and ditch consumer marketing. Blackberry is far superior for work than Android or IOS (we use Good for our enterprise on those devices and it sucks hardcore)

  9. So for any of us searching desperately for a new target for our schadenfreude, call off the search now; this painful episode goes on.

  10. really…. really…. prolong the inevitable some more then… lmao

  11. smell like m$ with sco Unix proxy suing

  12. And your winner in the category of “worst way to spend $1 billion”…

  13. Life support that’s all.


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