BlackBerry faces risk of company sale

By Danielle Middleton topicIcon Mobile Marketing

Blackberry to explore strategic alternatives

Once the giants of smartphone development with a 50 per cent share in the US mobile marketplace, the Canada based corporation have announced their intention to 'explore strategic alternatives'.

The change in tactic is in an effort to drastically boost the sales of the BlackBerry 10. The model, released earlier this year, was intended to challenge Samsung and the iPhone for a top spot in the smartphone market place but failed to conquer its rivals.

The company are set to explore new business models including joint ventures, strategic alliances and possible sale of the company. BlackBerry announced on Monday that their Board of Directors has formed a Special Committee to make this decision, chaired by Timothy Dattel a BlackBerry board member.

Prem Watsa, chairman of BlackBerry's largest shareholder, Fairfax Financial, announced his resignation from the Board as the formation of the Committee was revealed, stating:

"I continue to be a strong supporter of the company, the board and management as they move forward through this process, and Fairfax Financial has no current intention of selling its shares."

What happened to the revolutionaries of the smartphone?

In 1999, BlackBerry were the first mobile company to install emailing and pager abilities into their software. This feature revolutionised the future of mobile technology, as it enabled busy business men and women to communicate on the go.

Today their US smartphone market shares have plummeted to 3 per cent with the BlackBerry 10 being sold at a reduced price of $19.99 (£12.94) compared to the $199 (£128.71) it sold for at its launch.

Mobile experts have suggested that BlackBerry has been struggling to keep up with the fast pace of the industry since Apple launched the first iPhone in 2007. Steve Jobs had spotted the possibilities of mobile devices using the now readily accessible Wi-Fi, and mobile networks that were drastically increasing in capabilities.

BlackBerry soon fell behind as they had not envisioned what their original smartphone would inspire others to create; that it would be possible to go beyond emails to games, videos, pictures and music.

The future of BlackBerry

In the first quarter of 2013 BlackBerry were reported to have made a loss of $84million (£54million), and are expected to suffer another loss in the three months leading to the end of August.

Daniel Nolan, managing director at theEword said: "BlackBerry have been using their presence in the business world to stay in the smartphone game but mobiles are about far more than that now.

"Their attempt to tap into new markets with the PlayBook and BB10 has flopped because it's all too little too late, which means it will be very surprising if they are able to come back from this."