What lies ahead for BlackBerry?


The recent news about  BlackBerry has definitely caught the public’s attention since it was announced.  Although some would say it’s a positive sign for BlackBerry’s future, there are those who might say it could be the other way around. If you find yourself asking the question above, then you may want to read on.

1. A range of reactions and opinions

Whenever something like this comes up, whether for BlackBerry or for any other company for that matter, different interpretations pop up as people consider the possibilities for the company.  Since we’re talking about BlackBerry, the company and brand which has often managed to be a target among critics, then one shouldn’t be surprised to find a number of favorable and unfavorable comments about the recent news.  There will be your usual critics who will point out what BlackBerry and it’s leadership team had failed to do.  Others will again compare BlackBerry with other mobile phone manufacturers.  Then again, there are those who eat pessimism for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and who may go on to say that this is just an extension of life for the dying brand. Likewise, there are those who will remain objective and unbiased, and will point out both sides of the coin for BlackBerry.  Let’s not forget, though, the many BlackBerry fans who will defend the brand and company they have trusted and supported over the years.

2.  The company under scrutiny

The Due Diligence that’s expected to be completed by November 4, 2013 is a crucial, determining factor for the deal.  For those who may be unfamiliar with the process, it’s during this time that the company is carefully scrutinized, especially but not limited to its financials.  It’s a process of valuing to ensure a fair trade for parties concerned.  At this stage, pending questions and concerns about the company (as well as how they could potentially be handled should the takeover be finalized) will be among those that will be covered.

It’s never easy for a company to undergo Due Diligence.  Even for a company like BlackBerry, which we can safely assume has nothing to hide (i.e. unethical practices, misreported figures, etc.), such a process can cause  a certain level of anxiety for people, and understandably so.  Even before the news of this deal came up, there had already been talks of possible layoffs as a means to remain competitive.  That said, it will be safe to assume that the next 6 weeks of Due Diligence are going to add to the pressures on the BlackBerry and its employees, who have been working hard to keep pace with the release of the upcoming BlackBerry 10 phones.

3. Uncertainty

BlackBerry entered into a Letter of Intent with the Consortium led by Fairfax Financials, but there is still a possibility for other companies to make a bid for BlackBerry.  Likewise, the deal isn’t final yet, as parts in the recent press release clearly state:

During such period, BlackBerry is permitted to actively solicit, receive, evaluate and potentially enter into negotiations with parties that offer alternative proposals (“Alternative Transactions”)

There can be no assurance that due diligence will be satisfactory, that financing will be obtained, that a definitive agreement will be entered into or that the transaction will be consummated.

Even if ownership were already finalized, there are a number of questions that will subsequently follow regarding the future of BlackBerry. Typically, acquired companies are left intact for a period of time, allowing the new owners, and even possibly some newly installed executives, to get a full sense of the company’s potential.  This also provides a means to test and validate subsequent plans for the company.  Here’s where a number of possibilities are presented for the company such as mergers, restructuring, downsizing, expansion, consolidation, diversification, etc. As early as now though, we can already infer what BlackBerry will continue to focus on.  As already hinted by Prem Watsa, Chairman and CEO of Fairfax in the press release:

We can deliver immediate value to shareholders, while we continue the execution of a long-term strategy in a private company with a focus on delivering superior and secure enterprise solutions to BlackBerry customers around the world.

4.  Change.

On a final note, despite all the possible things that can be said about this recent development, Change is something that we can all expect for the future of BlackBerry.  More change, that is.

Talking about change, it can be easy to be overwhelmed by the mere thought of it.  People often resist change or the idea of changing, because they fear loss of their respective comfort zones; that is, fear of having to adjust.  However, when people understand why change needs to happen and how it can benefit them, people can embrace change and make it work.

It’s often said that “without change, there can be no growth.”  So how does BlackBerry fare as far as Change is concerned?

Looking back, so many things have changed for BlackBerry.  Change in leadership = Thorsten Heins. Change in company name = BlackBerry. Change in OS = BlackBerry 10. Change in strategy = BBM4ALL.  All these are just the tip of the iceberg, and we’re pretty sure that internally, a lot of things have changed for the company.

In other words, here’s a company that has gone through so many changes; a company that has hurdled so many challenges both internally and externally, in all parts of the world.  Here’s a company that has been tested and criticized countless times, but whose products and services remain trusted by its customers.  Here’s a company that has survived despite all that it has gone through.  Here’s a company that changes, adapts, and grows.

Yes, there are so many possibilities at this point, but if we look at what the people over at BlackBerry have proven in the past, it looks like they’ve been prepared well for these possibilities, and that they are quite capable of evolving.

#Keep Moving.