The amount of hypocrisy in the media has grown over the last months, and seems to have an extra gear when it comes to BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY). It seems like a month ago that stores were checked to see how sales were going, and when the answers were "selling great" or "sold out and half were to iPhone/Android owners" there was a dismissal and excuses were given that this wasn't really fact checking. No matter what the scenario was, there was an excuse that downplayed the fact that BlackBerry was up front about the best launch days in both Canada and in Great Britain. Still, the media refused to accept that information as being positive.
Now that the release has started in the US, we are seeing articles that are using the same methods of fact checking but seeming to put credibility behind it.
Is this news of a slower start with the AT&T (NYSE:T) launch something that stock holders should be wary of?
Do we really treat the U.S. market differently than the markets already released in? Well in one way, previous markets didn't also host the primary competition so we should expect a lot more negative press for the Canadian manufacturer that is releasing into the Apple/Android back yard.
What the media doesn't seem to consider when making these comparisons is that BlackBerry's clients are very different than Apple's, and in a lesser way, than Android's. This isn't so much an age difference.
For example, some authors looked at the lack of lineups at stores as a sign that BlackBerry had failed. I question these authors to show me a time when BlackBerry buyers ever lined up? I personally can't remember a circus the likes of an Apple launch ever. Even Samsung/Android with the dominant position in smartphone sales worldwide doesn't get lineups the likes of Apple. How many people line up on day one has more to do with people wanting to be one of the first (that time of exclusivity with an iPhone tends to be short due to the volume of sales in NA) to have the latest X or XS version.
BlackBerry buyers tend to place orders online, or have the device ordered through work and deployed by the IT side of the company. Usually BlackBerry owners tend to have better things to do than stand in a lineup just to get a phone that their company will deploy in a proper way.
Standing in line for a product doesn't seem like something that an owner of a company enjoys doing, or something that he has had to do in the past.
The Z10 isn't a phone that is going to generate the mass hysteria that Apple gets with each 6 month release. As we have seen in the last few launches, that hype now seems to be waning as each product launch offers less and less innovation and more and more evolution. Even the latest S4 announcement seems to be met with tepid response as the Android OS is running out of tricks and air gestures and head tracking to pause video don't seem to be all that revolutionary either.
BlackBerry releases are planned. Even the BB10 launch had a methodical almost controlled feel to it. It is my opinion that BlackBerry placed product in the hands of users that would be more patient with the small adjustments needed, the ones that were tweaked with the first major update prior to the US launch. Great Britain, Canada, India, Indonesia, and countries where the launch could be gauged and followed without the "out of control" media madness that would follow in the U.S.
If anything, these response at the AT&T depots should have almost been expected. This is a company that doesn't have a good name due to the constant delays over the last few years. What it will take is more than just reviews and hype to get the American market kick started. As I have stated since the launch in Canada, this is a device that has to be experienced. For some, that will take mere minutes to get it, usually those that are already tired of the same old on their current device, those who want to like BB10. Others may take a few days to get use to the change, and embrace what has been accomplished.
To the writers who are basing BlackBerry's success on lineups, my recommendation is to do some historical information gathering to see if that is the precedent that coincided with previous releases. Even when BlackBerry was the dominant smartphone in North America, product launches were tame. Distribution channels handled sales in more of a direct way, and the consumer side was never what Apple took it to currently.
BlackBerry was, and is, still about business. The market that BB10 was built for was the business side first, and the personal side second. That explains why BES 10 was ready for launch, but a lot of apps weren't. All other smartphones take the opposite stance and cater to the consumer before the business. That was the market that didn't have a smartphone so the marketing strategy was sound. The sales became more about finding the last Cabbage Patch Kid and Tickle me Elmo than the refined pace that came with the exclusivity which $700 prices demanded.
Times have changed, and with that, how we gauge success should also change. The fact that there were no line ups doesn't cause me any concern when I look to the future of BB10 and the next line of products from BlackBerry.
Slow and steady may not always win the race, but they don't often fall off to the side of the road tired and burned out. They just keep moving.