BlackBerry (BBRY) was once a recognized leader in smartphones and communication tools. However, when year 2013 began, the company also started its downfall. The dominance of BlackBerry was said to be over as there are other bigger names in the tech industry namely Apple and Samsung. Right now, the company is still trying to live through the tough challenges in terms of funds and volumes of customers.
With the negative issues and news surrounding BlackBerry, it is no wonder that many investors start to turn away from the stock. In fact, the stock has hit an all new low before November ended with only a few trades lower than $6. BlackBerry though has huge plans and the company initiates with an announcement that BlackBerry is here to stay.
BlackBerry is Alive and Kicking
John Chen, the interim chief executive officer of the company declared that BlackBerry is here to stay. Chen is the former CEO of Sybase and he has acknowledged that BBRY is not for everyone. BlackBerry unfortunately lost the support it once enjoyed when Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007. The worst sales and figures came this year when BlackBerry failed to entice customers despite launching a new product. In an open letter produced by the company, the CEO addressed to the customers that there is nothing to fear. BlackBerry has finally removed its "for sale" sign and will operate as a new enterprise business.
Giving the customers the reassurance that they need at this time, the CEO stated that the company's focus will now be redirected to its roots. This means that BlackBerry will concentrate on providing mobile solutions to the customers. The company will greatly improve its handset business as well as mobile device management. The latter will enable the IT departments to control and handle different devices that are connected to a corporate network.
The ever-popular BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) application is also in the spotlight. The company is now promoting the messaging app which is one of their most well-known products. What's more, BlackBerry recently announced that BBM will be included as a part of a number of Google (GOOG) Android phones. It is a smart move and will cover several nations around the world including India, Indonesia, Middle East, Africa, and the Latin America. The inclusion of the BlackBerry Messenger in Android phones will begin next month. Additionally, BlackBerry will not remove the app from Google Play so other users can still download and try the app.
A Stronger Stock
Hours after the letter was sent to customers, BlackBerry shares rose 4 cents on Nasdaq. It is true that the company is still struggling to penetrate affluent countries, but BlackBerry is slowly gaining strength in Africa. This may offer some points to the company, allowing the management to think of possible ways to remain competitive.
Compared to most of its rivals, BlackBerry's products are much cheaper. This is probably the reason why BlackBerry has received an 18% increase in phone sales in South Africa this year. The survey performed by World Wide Worx, an African research firm, showed that BlackBerry is now the second most popular brand next to Nokia (NOK). However, it is the most popular smartphone in the country. In addition, 29% of the survey respondents said that they plan to purchase a BlackBerry smartphone next year.
Aside from Africa, it looks like the German government is showing its support to BlackBerry. The officials believe that the brand is more reliable than its competitors including Apple. As a result, the government purchased almost 40,000 BlackBerry Z10 smartphones. The phones are said to be equipped with Secusmart encryption technology, which is installed through a micro SD card. This will allow the handsets to maintain a wall that encrypts all communications performed with secure systems.
Speaking of the Z10, device owners including those who have the other handsets powered by BlackBerry 10 OS can join the 25 Days of Gifts which started last December 1st. The promo will give way to customers owning 25 premium downloads, which can be apps, games, and even movies.
BlackBerry's fall was shockingly quick, but its efforts to survive next year and the coming years are visible. Investors and customers alike are hoping this is just the beginning of a much brighter future for the company.