Unsold BlackBerry 10 inventory is largely responsible for the disastrous last quarter. Fairfax Financial, a Canadian insurance company, will give BlackBerry until Nov. 4, 2013, to accept its offer to buy the company for $9 per share. Fairfax, BlackBerry's biggest shareholder, could wind up in a bidding war if another player comes on the scene, but as of now, no one else has officially stepped up.
Cisco, IBM and Microsoft have been discussed as potential buyers. BlackBerry would have to pay Fairfax $150 million should another offer come in higher than Fairfax's.
The company's dreary quarterly report also includes news that BlackBerry's focus would shift from the consumer market to a bolstering of the corporate sector. However, BlackBerry's business accounts have been jarred loose by rivals Apple, Google and Microsoft because of BYOD programs, enhanced security features and improved email delivery.
[ How BlackBerry rose and fell: BlackBerry: The Fax Machine Of Its Era. ]
A backlog of phones that few people want is not BlackBerry's only problem. Aside from being crowded out of the smartphone market by Apple, Google and Microsoft, BlackBerry is also losing ground to smaller firms that do mobile device management (MDM), such as Airwatch, MobileIron and Good Technology. At this rate, it'll take more than Fairfax's buyout offer and a spike in BlackBerry 10 sales to keep the former icon from being broken apart and salvaged for its patents.
So, What's The Answer?
The sun hasn't yet set on BlackBerry. Whether Fairfax or another bidder takes the risk, the strategy must be swift and decisive. BlackBerry, in whatever form, will have to meld both the past that created its market and the future that dictates it.
BlackBerry is in the deepest trouble of its life, but there are still tactics it can use to stay afloat. Here are some suggestions.
Stay The Same …
What's BlackBerry have that Apple doesn't? The company should keep these points in mind as it takes the fight for survival to Android and Apple.
Emphasize The Keyboard
Apple devices are the most beautifully designed on the market. But BlackBerry's keyboards -- physical and virtual -- are still the standard in functionality. The feel of the physical keyboard -- a contributor to BlackBerry's ugliness in many users' minds -- is often preferred over iPhone's virtual keyboard because of its ease of use.
Even BlackBerry's well-liked virtual keyboard provides a level of trust and intuition that iPhone has yet to achieve. It's not easy to find sites and social-media posts about awkward BlackBerry word-correct mistakes. The same can't be said for Apple.
BlackBerry's keyboards are accurate and intuitive. Above all, the physical keyboard still reacts more naturally than anything on a touchscreen. Users who started their smartphone experience with this standard know only the frustration of trying to type quickly on a touchscreen keyboard and the autocorrect antics that come with it. Potential BlackBerry converts -- or the consumer raised on movie/music/photo app smartphones -- might see the BlackBerry physical and virtual keyboards as archaic. But those who use their smartphone for business primarily, and not playtime, tend to prefer the keyboard that works best.
Show Off That TimeShift Camera
Something Apple doesn't have: A TimeShift camera. It takes a rapid series of pictures and allows the user to set apart faces in a photo, and select the best shot. This is particularly helpful for group shots or pictures of kids. Or anyone who blinks when his picture is taken.