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  • More on BlackBerry (BBRY -6.8%): Deutsche's Brian Modoff is questioning early reports (from Thorsten Heins and others) of strong Z10 demand in the U.K. and Canada. Deutsche's survey of 60 stores in the countries found no sellouts in the U.K., and that those in Canada were attributed by reps to limited supplies. Meanwhile, Detwiler Fenton notes in its report Samsung "has been poaching key engineers and managers" from BlackBerry as it ramps its enterprise efforts. (earlier[View news story]
    @Systembolaget, thanks for forwarding the link over. I find this a very balanced review and we all know that Blackberry has to prove its worth - so far the results are encouraging.

    Why do you call it as a marketing failure? The author has mentioned his personal opinion about the Super Bowl Ad. and everybody has one. I guess you must have watched their Keep Moving Ad. I found it pretty interesting. BTW: I also thought that the Super Bowl Ad. was good and actually mocked the fact that they could hardly do justice to Blackberry Z10's capabilities in those 30 seconds - which I thought was very honest.

    Don't under estimate the power of these celebrities to reach out to their base. Obama is a standing example of what grass root movement can achieve.
    Feb 16, 2013. 01:05 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • BlackBerry 10: Too Little, Too Late To Save Investors  [View article]
    Glad you brought that point up Michael. If Blackberry is able to show that the BB10 sales were good/solid should hopefully result in higher multiple on that FCF. I am sure some analysts will still have some mischief up their sleeve.

    Somebody pointed out that based on prior data the best initial launch sale that Blackberry achieved earlier was ~525k devices and Heins has been saying that the sales in Canada and UK have been excellent and that he was pleased and surprised and that the sales numbers have well gone beyond his expectations. Second, Blackberry also mentioned that their December and January sales were looking very good (which I think essentially accounts for BB7?).
    Feb 16, 2013. 12:48 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • More on BlackBerry (BBRY -6.8%): Deutsche's Brian Modoff is questioning early reports (from Thorsten Heins and others) of strong Z10 demand in the U.K. and Canada. Deutsche's survey of 60 stores in the countries found no sellouts in the U.K., and that those in Canada were attributed by reps to limited supplies. Meanwhile, Detwiler Fenton notes in its report Samsung "has been poaching key engineers and managers" from BlackBerry as it ramps its enterprise efforts. (earlier[View news story]
    Didn't Blackberry announce that they had their best device sales (BB7 and BB10) in this quarter so far?
    Feb 16, 2013. 01:57 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Blackberry And Forbes: Battleground Stocks And Headline Risks  [View article]
    I completely concur with your viewpoint Michael, I have been reading quite a bit of these blogs, and articles on WSJ, Bloomberg, Forbes, Endgadget, TheVerge,... Each one of them has been very negative - journalism has taken a new low point - it almost feels like the media is hell bent on destroying Blackberry. I am not sure what vested interests draws those folks to write such bad and disingenuous reviews with sensational headlines that misguides the readers. The only exception to this is New York Times and especially David Pogue - he has been all praise for Blackberry. Even Mossberg liked Z10 and praised the keyboard. It is only here on SA that I see a lot of bullish sentiment towards Blackberry which is refreshing to say the least.

    I am also a bit taken aback by the way US service providers AT&T, Verizon and Sprint (purposely?) delayed the official launch of Z10 in US. I do think that it is for the best though as I think Blackberry will integrate Jelly Bean by then and will also have lot more apps available. I sincerely hope that they can take that count to over 100k+ with additional support from Android community to port Android apps over to Blackberry. If it catches fire with the youth watch how quickly the Android apps will start mushrooming on Blackberry - then it will be time for Samsung to watch out. I am hearing that Android apps run faster on Blackberry if the benchmark numbers do turn out to show that is true then that would be a real game changer.
    Feb 15, 2013. 10:51 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Is BlackBerry Finally Back In The Game?  [View article]
    @csymalla, if you watch some of Mike Lazaridis's videos you will see that his entire effort was to build devices that left a very lite footprint on the network and used battery very frugally. That is one primary reason he refrained from building a full touch version until very recently. Second, he didn't support an app model because he thought:
    a) Blackberry had all the applications that a user needs to be productive (which might have been true during a certain period of time - and personally I think this is still true, but others may very well defer)
    b) Through quality of their apps and device they could maintain strong control on data/network, and cpu usage - today this is hardly a concern

    When I watched some of those videos I have to say that I came out pretty impressed with his thought process - he was trying to make full use of the limited bandwidth that was available on GPRS/1.5/2G. I would bet a dollar to anybody to find another company that can match that on those networks (remember many African, Latin American and Asian countries are still humming on those networks). His favorite tag line was if you don't understand the physics of transmission you will never build efficient devices. I have read that the compression ratio that Blackberry achieves is way better than gzip and other compression tools. I have heard that Doctors without boundaries still carry Blackberry devices.

    As recent history has proven people and service providers give a damn about having an efficient device (that is efficient on power consumption and data usage); they want a fancy and cool device that provides lots of apps, games, etc. There is data out there that shows that most people don't use more than a few hundred apps but the numbers (the long tail) matter for getting the bragging rights and to build a community with vested interests.
    Feb 15, 2013. 08:14 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is BlackBerry Finally Back In The Game?  [View article]
    L.D., I don't have a link readily available but I had read that the reason why WebOS failed is because Palm had a lot of debt on their hands and when they launched WebOS they didn't have the money to help drive the marketing campaign nor did they get any backing from the service providers. Also, palm's device was pretty small with a tiny keyboard and didn't have much enthusiastic support from the app community.

    I think Blackberry has plenty of cash and no debt - apparently Apple spent less than $500 million dollars when they first launched iPhone and thus far Apple has spent about $1 billion overall on marketing iPhone. So with that benchmark I think Blackberry will come well below that mark. Heins had also mentioned that the entire marketing expense of BB10 launch was going to be cash neutral as of last quarters cash position - will have to see what that actually means during this quarters results.

    Last but not the least (if you don't mind answering) what I wanted to know was what do you advice your private investor clients - to hold buying Blackberry for now or to go outright and short it?

    Also, you know that Prem Watsa and Francis Chou are both invested in Blackberry and Prem Watsa is on their board. What do you think is the motive driving them to be long when you personally think that Blackberry is heading toward bankruptcy (I hope I am not misquoting you). To date Prem Watsa has shown very shrewd instincts when it comes to picking stocks and knowing his technical and financial prowess I am sure he would be shepherding them in the right direction. Last but not the least Mike Lazaridis is a brilliant man as well and apparently he was a key driver behind their BB10 strategy - I some way (at least to my mind) he seems to carry the traits of both Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. Do you think such brilliant minds can throw their child under the bus?

    I can't help myself from writing long responses, but, your response will be very much appreciated.
    Feb 15, 2013. 07:46 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is BlackBerry Finally Back In The Game?  [View article]
    L.D. IMO, it is different than the current stock of Linux kernels in that it provides realtime capabilities; plus, the kernel itself is pretty well optimized and very small in comparison to the normal size of a Linux kernel. Its scheduler is also better optimized.

    The small footprint makes it suitable for environments that are limited in hardware resources.
    Feb 15, 2013. 07:14 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is BlackBerry Finally Back In The Game?  [View article]
    L.D. to your point "...but I don't believe that a device play is the best way to create value." isn't BB10 platform also attacking the purely software side of things? Like Workspace for iOS and Android, BES 10, the recent certification by Visa, their offering for the Automotive Industry, mobile computing, apps, movie, music (and more to come in the future). In terms of their software play I think with Workspace and BES 10 they have set themselves up to profit from the enterprises move towards BOYD (now they don't have to care whether the enterprise actually buys a Blackberry phone).

    IMO, the reason why they want to have a device play is because they can bring the experience to the market in a way they think is the most effective and also they get to test their own dog food. I guess that is one reason why Google purchased Motorola (over and above their claim on Motorola's patents). The very fact that they have brought the ex-CEO of Sony Mobile division over to Blackberry as director goes to show that something seems to be cooking on that front (farming out devices over to Sony/Lenovo/etc.). Their COO is also an ex-Sony guy. (as an aside, I have yet to figure out the Verizon angle - may be it is because Verizon has the largest wireless network and his connections at Verizon - if you know something more please share).
    Feb 14, 2013. 09:56 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • BlackBerry (BBRY +5.7%) has erased the morning losses it saw on news ex-chairman/co-CEO Jim Balsillie is no longer a shareholder, and then some. "Who cares?," National Bank's Kris Thompson (previous) responded when asked about the sale. A lot of investors seem to feel the same way.  [View news story]
    wow! that is certainly a good news worth cheering about.
    Feb 14, 2013. 07:53 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Blackberry And Forbes: Battleground Stocks And Headline Risks  [View article]
    As long as there are folks who buy $BBRY for trading (and coupled with the fact that this stock has very high volatility) you will get such gyrations. For those who are buying this stock as pure investment I would highly encourage them to watch Robert Schiller's Yale lectures (posted on where he shows the day to day gyrations in Apples stock during its initial days (after Steve Jobs was back as CEO) and he says that it must have been gut wrenching for those folks who wanted to be invested in Apple!

    So as long as you accept the fact that volatility is going to be here for a couple of quarters you should be good. Now it depends on you if you want to feed the selling/buying frenzy or not.
    Feb 14, 2013. 07:37 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Blackberry And Forbes: Battleground Stocks And Headline Risks  [View article]
    At one point the hedge funds tried to do the same to Fairfax. Prem Watsa came out of the without a scratch. So he is not new to this.
    Feb 14, 2013. 04:31 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is BlackBerry Finally Back In The Game?  [View article]
    I agree that the numbers tell the story in retrospect but they also tell you how little changes in certain variables (like say, the FCF) could result in major upside. My only problem with qualitative analysis is that it has a subjective bais to it and even though it does carry merit it has a statistical underpinning to it and as you are aware interpreting statistical results is not an exact science. The same doesn't hold true with quantitative analysis though - it clearly lays out the facts in terms of cold numbers and provides you with concrete ways to discern outcomes based on changes to variables. Based on current data available to us it is clear that sales of Blackberry Z10 are doing well in Canada, UK and UAE - so as you correctly said let the Q1 results play out (although, the runway was short for Z10 we can at least gather data related to the momentum) and we can circle back. This is not a one quarter story this will have to play out at least over next 2 to 3 quarters to see a clear trend and during that time quantitative and qualitative analysis is all that we have to go by.

    There are a lot of smart people at Blackberry and I am sure they are listening and proactively seeking to amend the missteps and forge ahead to create a brighter future for them. In the current volatile environment all an investor (and not a trader) in Blackberry can do is strap up and wait for the market to play it out.

    Thanks again for laying out the pitfalls that one needs to watch out for, it is always good to listen and appreciate each and every perspective.

    Thanks also for forwarding the link I will go through it and get back to you in case I have some comments.
    Feb 14, 2013. 11:55 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Is BlackBerry Finally Back In The Game?  [View article]
    Recently both Wells Fargo and Citi raised their price target on $BBRY. Any comments on that front?

    Both Prem Watsa and Francis Chou are invested in $BBRY and they both are value investors. Francis Chou goes as far as claiming that the patents alone are worth north of $13. Again you may call that subjective.

    Thorsten Heins has been aggressively cutting costs and you can see that there is marked difference in their marketing effort. Also, one can easily port Android apps to Blackberry and with Jelly Bean coming to Blackberry it is going to be even more interesting. Workspace for iOS and Android was launched recently with enterprises already vested in BB7 server side infrastructure and with the capability to upgrade BES BB7 to BES 10 for free and coupled with that the fact that enterprises can now not only lockdown and secure user apps for enterprise with Workspace but manage both iOS and Android devices through the secure infrastructure provided by BES 10 should more than compensate for the perceived loss on BIS revenue. This strategy plays well with BOYD. Blackberry will make money even if an enterprise chooses not buy Z10/Q10 but keep their time tested BES 10 infrastructure.

    Last but not the least, the quantitative analysis presented by Mr. Robert Bongart gives you the raw financial strengths of $BBRY. There is a qualitative side to things and a quantitative side to things - your outline is more on the qualitative side - so I would like readers to understand that distinction. As they say numbers don't lie, while qualitative outline can be tuned easily to suit ones purpose.

    I commend you on laying a stake in the ground with your views and I sincerely appreciate the cautious outlook.
    Feb 14, 2013. 10:16 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is BlackBerry Finally Rising From Ashes?  [View article]
    Thanks Luke. I don't quite understand; you say, "I start making profit as soon as it drops below $11.53" and then, you say "I started making money today - but $BBRY is at $13.99." Did you mean to say below $15.53 or $14.53 instead of $11.53? most likely either a typo or I am not interpreting it correctly.
    Feb 14, 2013. 01:26 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • More on mobile phone sales: Q4 smartphone market share by OS: Android 69.7% vs 51.3% in 2011, iOS 20.9% vs 23.6%, BlackBerry 3.5% vs 8.8%, Microsoft 3% vs 1.8%. "With Samsung commanding over 42.5% of the Android market globally, and the next vendor at just 6% share, the Android brand is being overshadowed by Samsung's brand with the Galaxy name nearly a synonym for Android phones in consumers' mind share," says Gartner. (PR[View news story]
    Glad to hear that Michael, I have been saying this for some time now. Happy to see you onboard. I hope others will realize this sooner.
    Feb 14, 2013. 01:20 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment